By Jasmine Chorley Foster
Rule #1 of show season: never read the comments. Comments on runway shots posted on the Facebook pages of magazines, agencies, and fashion houses will range from the inane and stupid, "Gorgeous hope the fur is faux!" and "Why is she wearing that make-up?", to the downright abusive, violent, and offensive.
British Vogue posted highlights from the Alexander McQueen show on Wednesday, and comments from readers one one single photo included:
"He may be talented but needs to stop promoting anorexic models that look like death........not a good look!"
"Nice wish the models looked alive instead of dead like vamps..."
"Les robes sont belles mais le mannequin.... Pffffffffffff !" (Translation: The dresses are beautiful but the model... Pff!)
"The models look like something from the Walking Dead..."
"This Modal needs some food xxx"
"Is she death or alive?"
Spelling aside, there is nothing worse than reading these kinds of comments - especially after just having walked in a major show that could be a boon to your career. The luxury of espousing criticism mediated by the distance of internet brings out some very unsavoury characters. This practice known as trolling is of course not unique to fashion.
In a recent study called 'Trolls just want to have fun,' Erin Buckels found that "trolls" tend to exhibit sadistic and psychopathic traits. “Our view of sadism is that enjoyment of cruelty occurs in various degrees in normal, everyday people. It is not just criminals who feel sadistic pleasure, so the fact that trolls are rather sadistic was not surprising,” Buckels told Global News.
When I come across mean comments, I at once want to angrily fire back at the trolls, reprimanding them for being so insensitive and ignorant. Conversely, I could type out a reasoned explanation about the modelling industry, psychological disease, poor lighting, the general principle of compassion, and that policing other women's bodies is inherently un-feminist.
But why bother?
Chances are that the trolls don't want to listen to reason. They don't want to be compassionate. They don't want to see models as real people. It would simply take the fun out of their trolling.
You (probably) aren't in high school anymore, and trolls are bullies that you can almost entirely avoid. So, as you review your accomplishments in the wake of the show season, look at comment-free slideshows (on Style.com for example), and spare yourself the irritation, anger, and hurt.
Haters gonna hate, and trolls gonna troll. But they're not signing your cheques, so why should you care?