What Young Women Need To Realize About The Critics On Social Media
I went to Hawaii to celebrate my parents' vow renewal. I was feeling romantic and confident. I had a boyfriend who constantly told me I'm hot [insert praising hands emoji], family and friends, a very safe and comfortable surrounding environment and, most importantly, a private environment.
I made the momentary, yet monumental mistake of thinking privacy was a luxury my family and I had.
I wore a thong, yes… an assless bikini, to play in the warm waters of Hawaii with my friends and boyfriend on the private beach. It was bold and slightly reckless, but, again, it was a safe place.
I'm a confident girl who has a sort of reverse body dysmorphia disorder. I look in the mirror and love my body — and all the lumps on it. I see the reflection of a more fit and athletic version of how I actually look. Let's just say I see the inner beauty.
I was photographed unknowingly, body surfing, paddle boarding, doing handstands and cartwheels on the beach. I'm sure you can imagine how unflattering jumping photos look.
By the next day, my gigantic, monumental ass was plastered across Daily Mail, Zimbio, Getty Images a rather odd website called “fuckyeahsophiesimmons.tumblr.com,” to name a few.
My ass was a meme. My ass was the front page for an audience of approximately 15 million. It was a YouTube video. It was on Perez Hilton. It was on VH1.com. I mean, the horror.
Not to mention, I was so embarrassed when my father, a rather conservative man, saw my ass was trending on Twitter.
The nice headlines read, “Gene Simmons daughter takes her sizzling bod to Hawaii” and “KISS Me! Sophie Simmons displays her curves for all to see.”
Actually, it wasn't for all of you to see, it was for me. Here is a favorite quote from an article,
Sophie Simmons is growing up big. Fast, I meant to say fast, fuck. Now Gene Simmons is going to Krav Maga the shit out of my neck. As long as I'm going down, I might as well point out that his daughter has a sweet mons. F*ck. Hammerfist.
Not sure what a “hammerfist” is, but okay, that's your opinion.
And then, there's this gem,
I'm not going to sit here and say she looks great, but I know some of you like soft squishy things and will appreciate the extra padding Sophie provides.
Anyway, I've seen worse in my day and as I get older, unfortunately my options are becoming much more limited. I'm not the sexy man child I used to be. That said, I'd still hit it. I just hope it doesn't hit back too hard.
The problem wasn't so much that the headlines were rude (although, there were some that called me a “beached whale”).
It was more the comments from all of you — and, I mean the “you” who goes into those forums and comments on people's lives. The “you” who makes it your business to tear people down instead of build them up.
Here is my favorite comment from the Daily Mail article, from Mark in the UK:
Thongs are for slim women, not over weight women. Same for leggings, nothing more unattractive.
Thanks, Mark, your opinion brightens my mornings (insert: sarcasm).
This wasn't the first time my body was up for debate and commentary. As a child, I was scrutinized for being “chubby.” Just this past Halloween, I was told my full body ninja outfit was “slutty.”
But, never had I been quite so… naked as I was in Hawaii. I couldn't blame it on an unflattering cut or angle. This was my body in all its glory and shame.
You know what? We — my whole family — laughed. Luckily, I was brought up by a mother who faced a lot of the same scrutiny. She was a model who had posed for Playboy, which was a small part of her career as a successful actress. But, it followed her and still does to this day.
She is called slut (because being with the same man for 32 years qualifies as that?) and porn star, although she has NEVER and would NEVER have sex on camera.
She wasn't even overweight, but a slim, blonde, gorgeous model and still underwent the same scrutiny I did as a short, chubby brunette. She was and is successful and gorgeous and some people couldn't take it.
The most important lesson my mom ever taught me was to not give a rat's ass about what anyone thinks of you. She knew she was smart, talented and successful, and that's all she needed. She didn't need validation from others like young girls do today, myself very much included.
As a society, we depend so much on what others think. We, for some reason, put so much value on unsolicited advice and comments.
This new “Instagram fame” phenomenon is adding to that. We are ASKING for these assh*les to comment on our lives because we choose to make them public.
My family and I understood that by putting our lives on TV, we relinquished our privacy. But, so many young people are posting themselves for the world to see without realizing all the opinions that come with the territory.
Every person has an opinion and freedom of speech. This doesn't mean the opinions are right or you should care.
Know that when you post something on the Internet, you are relinquishing your privacy. Especially when you post your body, eating habits or personal matters. You are opening the door for millions of people to tell you exactly what they think. Be ready for that.
I am NOT condoning cyber bullying. But please, realize, these terrible comments are easily deleted. They are thrown out there by hurtful or bored people who are most likely unhappy in their own lives.
The people who posted the most hurtful comments about my weight tended to be overweight themselves. Many people endure bullying and struggles that affect their senses of self-worth and confidence; not everyone handles it the same way.
I am a public figure, so bring on the hate and the love and whatever else you want to throw my way — that is my job.
But, for everyone else getting the negativity, just ignore it. Push delete or mute or put down your phone. The greatest thing about social media is that you have the power to turn it off.
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