If you missed it, my sister Julia shared her story called The One Boy Who Crushed My Life a few weeks ago. She is a former Miss NC Teen USA and there are these message boards in the pageant world called Voy forums. As competitors, we are told to stay off of them because of the terrible comments that are made about us. Yesterday, one of them posted Julia’s story and the slew of hate began. When I read the comments, not only did my heartbeat quicken because they were bashing my own sister, but also because I was reminded of all of the girls, including me and my friends who have been victims of this form of cyber bashing.
These boards are rarely talked about and often become the elephant in the room because everyone pretends they’ve never read them. But I want to bring all of this reckless hate to light in an effort to end it all. Therefore, I have decided not to limit my lengthy response to the board, but to make it public for the defense of all women who have been wrongly hurt.
Hello everyone. I was made aware through a friend about the posts on this board. First of all, I would like to thank each of you for taking the time to read Julia’s story. Secondly, I recognize that my response to the unnecessary degrading comments on here is most likely pointless considering the truth that there are some who find contentment in hurting others. They will find ways to do it even when it is entirely baseless. Why else would one take the time to type in this website’s address & then create a false identity to hide behind when writing and claiming hate over a person? But I am not concerned with a mean response back to me because I am defending my family & all the young women who are and have been negatively affected by these boards.
“She will be viewed as a trainwreck.”
Now, on to address the topic at hand. To start, these girls, including me do not compete and “put themselves in a public figure position” to be torn down, criticized & ridiculed. Most don’t even do it to become famous, even though the opportunities are exciting. I can say because I have competed myself that most young women compete to improve their self-confidence, to overcome an insecurity, to speak out for an important cause or because they are girls that love to feel beautiful in an evening gown. Most of us have no idea that these vicious boards even exist until we are in the mix of competing. So that would negate the statement that girls willingly put themselves in positions to be ripped apart. Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011 shared her story, The Secret Battle of a Beauty Queen on how the cyber bullying she faced led to social anxiety and depression. She simply had a little girl’s dream of competing at Miss Universe.
“Julia screams insecurity.” To the comments that state that Julia has major “issues” and is “insecure.” Have you considered how you are contributing to that? Because you are exactly right. Many young women compete because they are insecure and are being brave in seeking to remedy that. I was one of those young women. Yes, confident on the outside, like most of us learn how to be, but painfully insecure in the depths of my heart. If we’re all being honest with ourselves, who in the world isn’t at at least one point in their lives?
The women who compete are between the ages of 14-26, which are critical years of developing identity & self-worth. We are not robots or rock-solid beings that have no feelings to the mean things that are said about us. You have the choice & the power to build these women up or to crush them. Your words have more impact than to be carelessly thrown around like one of the hateful comments that stated, “try not to get blood on the floor.”
“I smell desperateness from attention from anyone who posts this kinda sob story.”
How would you feel if someone heartlessly called the hardest time in your life a “sob story?” It is common knowledge in the world of counseling and psychology that acknowledgement, transparency and speaking on your testimony is the beginning to all healing. The purpose of hi-lighting stories of young women on SheisMore.com is to show others that no one is perfect, regardless of how our social media feeds appear. We all go through dark times, and these brave stories show other young women that they are not alone in their struggle.
Isolation & denial leads to self-harm, depression & sometimes suicide. This is where many young women who battle with abuse, eating disorders & self-mutiliation exist. Why do you think these girls stay in a state of isolation, keeping their battle to themselves? Because they fear heinous, judgmental responses like these.
Lastly, to the person who defends the negative comments in saying this is not cyber bullying: Consider how you would feel if these words were spoken to you and about you. How would you react after you had been vulnerable in sharing your story in hopes to encourage others? Your words carry a lot of weight, despite what you may think. Is your intention to cause destruction? Yes, you can say it is someone’s choice to come to these message boards. But the fact is, most girls at least will hear what is being said about them. We need you to take responsibility over the words that you speak and channel them to uplift, edify & encourage us. I guarantee you that you would start to feel more joy too.
Yes, I took the time to write this lengthy response because this is my sister, her heart and her vulnerability that some of you are choosing to take advantage of. My passion and the mission of She is More is to empower all women, not to destroy them. I would love to see a revolution in how we treat each other. I am not saying I am always an angel, but I am open to acknowledging my mistakes and changing my ways if I hurt anyone.
I do thank all of you who were kind & supportive in your responses. You are amazing and so appreciated. Aside from this board, both Julia & Alyssa did receive an outpouring of touching feedback from women all over the world who have gone through or are currently going through the same thing.
Ultimately, the purpose of this message is to encourage us as women to hold ourselves to higher standards by helping to build the self-esteem and self-worth of the women we meet & choose to discuss. Words are powerful and make a huge impact on lives. A good way to gage if something is worth writing is if you are willing to stand by your real name & not hide behind a fake one. How do you choose to use your influence?
Miss USA 2009
If you want to join the revolution of empowering women, you are invited to share this message with your realm of influence.