Anonymity

by Angelica Cruz

So Andrea read a long comment in her photo that disheartened her a lot.

How come we became a society that degrades people, uses words that are below the belt, heavy with criticisms and judgements, without even thinking how it could affect a person’s reputation and dignity?

I find truth in this statement, ‘if you don’t have something good to say, better keep your mouth shut.’ This does not apply in conversations only, but even in posting comments online.

Most Internet users nowadays are very much engaged in sharing feedbacks and comments with the other netizens. But little did they know, some words they posted actually appear like a lemon juice sprinkled on their victim’s sore skin. I can hardly imagine now how Andrea Brillantes, the pabebe girls and the rest of Kuya’s housemates dealt with their bashers’ nasty comments. I mean, how in the world this anonymous person will come and try to make you feel bad about your life, right?

While searching for news online, I accidentally clicked the entertainment section and read on this particular hot issue about this child actress and after reading the post, I felt the urge to read the comments and opinions of other readers and there I saw how each person has their own personal takes on that person’s life –a life they were not a part of and a person they never even met. You can saw name calling, harsh criticisms and judgments – all forms of bullying.

I know that being a public figure should sort of prepare you for all these things. But a celebrity is an individual as well, like you and me. They were also hurt when someone is saying mean things against them. They were also sad when people made up lies about them. I’m not speaking for celebrities alone but for all those who have become victims of bullying.

Today, social networking sites have become avenues to promote social awareness, connect with friends and send positive vibes. But sadly, these has also become an avenue to fuel negativity, intentionally inflict pain on someone and say things they want to say, simply because they can hide behind their keyboards and remain anonymous.

Netizens believe that they can play and pretend confident when in fact it teaches them to become a fearful one. They think that the power they have will last longer when in fact it can only last for a while and that person feels crappy again for being mean and rude at the same time.

So I am encouraging everyone to think about it. We, also have been bullies at some point in our lives, even something as simple as commenting on a person’s look saying ‘jologs’, ‘mataba’, ‘pangit’ or judging someone’s personal life decisions, even gossiping about it with our friends is also a form of bullying.

Being mean is NOT cool. It may be fun for a while but it can only last for few minutes. Being mean will only make you inferior and shallow because you focus your energy on futile and temporary joys. So I am challenging everyone to practice sensitivity and kindness whether online or in our daily transactions at school, home or workplace.

We all have been given a choice to voice out and speak something, it is your choice whether to destroy someone or build him up with your words.

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Street harassment: The hidden assertion of dominance and power

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Photo from www.meetusonthestreet.org

by Coleen Nevado

All of us consists the mundane routines we take into action every day. For some, it usually involves the daily commute to school, work or any particular place. Due to this habitual task, some Filipinos have grown accustomed to walking the busy hustles of the street while getting a trace of the pollution that wreathes the city. They’re used to it, they say. Others have different predicaments when stepping outside, on the other hand. While most people only worry about the noisy and overpopulated places they encounter on the way, others fear the inability to escape unfamiliar men or complete strangers calling out what they think are “compliments” or saying things such as, “Hi, Miss beautiful!”, “Ganda mo, idol”, or “Pssst, sexy!”. This is something no one is used to and never will. This is catcalling which is also considered to be street harassment.

Based on the definition of Stop Street Harassment Organization, street harassment is “unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and is directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”

Julemar Adelantar bears witness to these experiences as she had been catcalled so many times that she even lost count. “To hear them say those words while walking outside is really uncomfortable for me. People think it sounds like we’re being given compliments when strangers tell us we’re pretty or sexy in the most rude and uncivilized way possible but the truth is we just feel harassed and unsafe.”

Addition to that, it has also become a norm in our society where citizens believe women should avoid dressing in a provocative manner to avoid unwanted attention. But does this societal construct get rid of people who choose to be barbarous in streets and make the choice of harassing women on their own?

Provocative clothes or fully covered, conservative or not, sexual harassment is not the victim’s doing but from the hands of his or her harasser. It is a crime as it robs people the feeling of safety from their own streets. It is not a compliment and it is not flattering. Degrading to the dignity and traumatizing to the whole being, sexual harassment is never okay and never will be.