Every time a popular movie, game or TV show comes out, there are going to be people who either didn’t like it or thought it was flawed. There shouldn’t be a problem with this as we can’t all like the same things and are all going to have our own personal opinions.
But sadly, this isn’t the case and we usually have those in the minority of opinion getting mistreated, insulted or/and harassed. The most recent case (as of this writing) of this is of course Avengers: Age of Ultron, specifically about the treatment of the character Black Widow. But this is hardly new and this type of insulting has been seen hundreds of times. I myself have mentioned before that I was insulted and harassed for not enjoying Agents of Shield or the Flash plus many others shows.
As such, here are some of the things that you have to look forward to when you happen not to like (or in some cases actually do like) something popular. Both on the internet and in real-life because believe me, it can hurt pretty deep and really take the joy out of things.
I also recommend you read Christina H’s article on the subject as it is a fascinating read and gives a wider viewpoint.
Also as a friendly warning, there is a spoiler for Age of Ultron.
You Are Labelled
You may notice that when you are being bullied or insulted online for disliking/liking a popular series, they will likely not refer to you, but to a larger group. Either they use terms like Fanboys/girls, nerds, a movement or group they don’t like or just simply, people.
The simple reason for this is to immediately de-humanize you, so it is easier for them to not only mock you without feeling guilty, but to use it as conversation starter for others. Too many times have I seen others jumping in, responding to the bully and telling him/her how much they hate said group then getting rewarded for it with praise by the bully.
What makes this difficult for the victim to fight back is that the bully has put you in a corner as any response you make just gives them fuel to put you down even more.
This happens in real-life also. From being accused of being a Fake Fan Girl (despite likely knowing more than the arsehole) to being called any number of political insults.
You Can Be Ignored By Your Kin
You are a regular on a forum, to the point that you’re pretty well known by many of the users. However at some point, you are going to disagree with the majority of the users about something, in this case a series or film. A lot of the time, this can be resolved and everyone can have a friendly laugh.
However, sometimes you can find out that your fellow users are vindictive and decide to kick you out of the group. This can done by them simply ignoring you and/or refuse to acknowledge you exist until, you leave out of frustration and sadness. Others can be more open about their animosity and tell you directly that you are not welcome until you change your opinion to fit theirs.
This can happen in real-life as well and my advice is to just leave. I know that can be very hard to do as you may have been friends with these people for years. But trust me, As someone who was heavily bullied for most of his school life, I know firsthand how difficult it is and they’ll just keep doing this to you every time it happens so it better to just dump the dicks.
Your Mental Stability Gets Questioned
If you’re wondering, the Bellossom picture is here to cheer myself up.
This is one that is very personal to me. One of the most common tactics for insulting people online is to question their mental stability. After all, I liked the film and my friends liked the film so therefore, there must be something wrong with her/him. This usually comes in the form of using words like moron, idiot and other general or specific terms in an attempt to discredit the person who you disagree with.
This tactic sickens me as it is based on the assumption that people with mental disorders or some other kind of issue are somehow lesser people, whose opinions should be ignored and laughed at. It’s disgusting and all it does is make the harasser look foolish.
Or at least, that’s what should happen. But unfortunately it doesn’t. What usually happen is that these comments are usually praised at the time and are called good zingers against those who disagree against the minority of movie goers.
A big problem you may face is whether or not to call them out on their BS which is difficult. It could always be possible that they may have been trying to be funny or sarcastic but it didn’t translate well to text. This has happened to me a few times and when I’ve called out, they will apologies for their dickish behavior. But on the flip side, you may find yourself getting more hate spewed at you because the user really was just a dick. There is no easy answer and really all depends on the circumstance as well as you being willing enough to know the answer.
But wait, the straw man in my head, it’s the internet. You just grow a pair and accept it. Okay, maybe I should, but here is a question. What about if this happens in real-life, this someone is fully aware about a mental condition you have and then blames the disability for you disliking the film on that? What then?
This has happened to me twice after watching a film with friends & family and I can assure you that not only does it hurt when that happens, but it can hurt for a while. The realization that someone you thought was your friend used something very personal to you as a weapon against you and the fact they thought that you deserved to be punished because of a differing opinion. That isn’t something that just goes away.
You Are Demoralized
This includes insulting which I really shouldn’t have to say is wrong, but somehow people can’t get that mocking people for differing views such as a show or a film is wrong.
But sometimes they go for the less direct root and unlike direct insults, demoralizing usually is more subtle and insidious.
These can come in many forms online. Some are patronizing and try to make you feel like a fool for not getting either the bullies view or the creators intended message. Others choose to demoralize by insinuating that you are only complaining for the sake of complaining and thus, should be ignored. While others choose to guilt you by saying that they’ve lost all respect for your opinion.
All of these ways of trying to be demoralizing you are flawed and can easily be dissected and thrown back in their faces:
- First of all, everyone is entitled to their interpretations, regardless to what the writer originally intended. Many works have been interpreted differently then what was intended and many times, the differing opinion becomes the most recognized one such as with Grave of the Fireflies, Fahrenheit 451, The Prince and Alice in Wonderland. Also, remember that what the writer intended may not have translated well to screen as seen with Game of Thrones and Ultron (personally, when I was watching Age of Ultron, I thought that she was calling herself a monster because she couldn’t have children) due to bad editing, cinematography etc.
- Secondly, there are very few people who complain for complaining sake. Most of time their complaining because shockingly, they have personal criticisms of the film. Not everyone is going to like a film and they have every right to say that as you do praising the film.
- Thirdly, if your opinion on a person hinges on them having the same opinion on a film as you do, then quite frankly, you’re not the type of person I want the respect of.
However, the whole point in trying to demoralize someone is to make sure they don’t think and consider themselves weak to the point they’ll agree with you. It’s why these tactics are used as often as they are, there good at making the victim not see the flaws in the logic.
In real-life, dealing with being demoralized is either a lot harder or a lot easier depending on the circumstances. It’s sometimes easy to ignore strangers as hey, he/she’s just some dick you’ll never see again. But it can be a lot harder if that stranger begins harassing and assaulting you on top of demoralizing, something that a good chunk of us have had the unfortunate pleasure of having to experience, mostly women.
Being demoralized by friends can also be difficult as I personally find it hard to speak out against it because there is always the chance they’ll spin doctor it to make you look like the arsehole.
But wait my little man made out of stolen straw, shouldn’t people be allowed to disagree with each other? You’re completely right and it’s a good thing to do so. But there is a big difference between disagreeing and intentionally demeaning the other side.
To end on a more positive note, one of my favourite moments of being a user on Observation Deck was when I and fellow user Antipodes had a friendly in-depth debate about the use of transmedia content. It was a lot of fun and honestly, Antipodes, Nicole, Brawl2099, Mweyer, Corpsegoddess, bangishotyou and so many others, though I may not always agree with you, I value all your opinions greatly and I’m jealous at your brilliant use of words and being to be more articulate then I ever will be.
You guys rock (: