I both do and don’t understand trolling. Apparently pretty much no one is safe from it. It will be no surprise when Rebel Wilson’s accounts blow up with stunningly vicious comments after her appearance at the MTV Movie Awards in a Victoria’s Secret “Angels” knockoff outfit. And I suspect that the new Lane Bryant TV commerical for its “Cacique” line, which features an array of shamelessly fat beauties preening for the camera in very pretty underthings while a charmingly aggressive sort of “this IS what sexy looks like” narrative runs over the top will garner the usual responses by creeps who want to suggest that all manner of horror-movie deaths be visited upon the models who so brazenly owned their bodies. But Pink?!?!?! Pink, she of the famously elegant and classy pregnancy outfits, and Pink of the kickass aerial gymnastics? But she showed up at a cancer fundraiser recently in a really nifty classy/sexy/modern black dress with a big, sculptural skirt and a waist-length v-neck and got trolled in graphically psychotic language for looking fat. FAT!?!?!?!?!?
I understand trolling insofar as I understand that the psyches of us all are dark, scary places, and the psyches of some of us are kind of like the inside of the planet or of a particularly nasty tumor–just roiling around waiting for an excuse/opportunity to cause pain and terror. It’s, in the end, the why of fanatical movements (Nazis and ISIS alike).My own brain isn’t always a pretty place to inhabit. But I have drugs, therapy, and a fortunate life to balance out my fiery, tumorous moments. The internet, sadly, has given other people’s savage emotional crud a place to spew. And this sucks.
I started to write about what I don’t understand about trolling. I said there were things I didn’t understand in the first sentence, didn’t I? That, it turns out, was more about WANTING to not understand. I wish I didn’t believe in the possibility of things like school shootings, bloodthirsty trolling (yeah, I’m lumping them–they seem somehow connected), crazy-assed fundamentalism in so many religions’ names (I insist on continuing to believe that fundamentalists are not actual Christians or Muslims or Jews or Hindus–which, now that I think of it, means that the entire ruling class of Saudi Arabia are not actually Muslims…that’s a fun one…). Humans kind of suck. We pretty much always have. We also don’t suck, and pretty much always have managed to do and be agents of love and light. And an awful lot of us manage to do both at once, much of the time. No news there. I just wish I didn’t think that the levels of savagery in “Game of Thrones” were more realistic than not. I wish I didn’t understand.
Meanwhile, the thing about the trolling of Pink for being what she is, which is short and very muscled–like the gymnast she is–is yet more proof of how weird and perpetual the world’s attachment to seeing women as commodified bodies is. And how deep. And yes, trolling Pink for not being skinny enough is part of rape culture, and yes, I don’t give a fine fuck how tired some people are of hearing about rape culture. I’ll shut up when it’s dead. Which I fear will not happen in my lifetime.
Meanwhile, here’s to Pink and her badass self!
And here’s to Rebel Wilson and her well-and-truly-named badass self!
And here’s the Lane Bryant ad, because even though it features women who still conform to a certain set of shape-standards (classically curved waists and relatively flat bellies to go with lush boobs and hips), it’s a start, and I like the territory it marks out even as I still fret about its arguable participation in the commodification of women: