According to data gathered by Rimmel, 1 in 3 woman have been cyber beauty bullied in Australia. So when you think of yourself, and your two best girlfriends, the odds are one of you has been the victim of negativity online. Pretty gross, right? That's not even the worst of it. Furthering this, 63% of these Australian women (aged 16-25) admitted to engaging in self-abusive behavior—including starvation, self-inflicted injuries, and forced vomiting—as a result of online bullying. In fact, the brand found that 115 million images are deleted from social media each year as a result of cyberbullying. Frankly, we think this is just sh*t.
This, along with a host of other disturbing figures seen below, is the reason Rimmel have launched its global #IWillNotBeDeleted campaign. Designed to shine a light on cyberbullying, and stand up for those affected, the campaign features imagery, testimonials, and a short film empowering women to express their true, authentic selves on social media. In the digital age. where trolling and hate on social media is prevalent, we think it couldn't come at a better time, especially because for some of us here at Byrdie, it's an issue that sits close to our hearts. To participate in the discussion Rimmel have started, we got to thinking about our own experiences, and how we protect ourselves in the digital space.
To read our team's thoughts, keep scrolling, and be sure to head to Rimmel's website to see the entire campaign—it's pretty special.
“I was bullied for a period as a teenager, specifically for my looks. At the time I was desperate to escape the situation. I already had a poor self-image, and the year-long experience decimated any positive feelings about myself I had left. I can only imagine how much worse things could have been had the bully been able to target me via social media. I empathize with those victimized online, and also those in situations where technology is used by bullies to create a 360 attack plan. Online bullies can be incredibly vicious, and even when anonymous their words hurt. It’s time for us to shift blame away from those affected—“don’t read it!”—and back to the perpetrators, and hold them to account. When I see bullying happening in comment sections I often will report or offer support to the targeted person.”
-Lisa Patulny, Senior Brand Manager
"I’ve been lucky to not face any cyberbullying. There’s one minor incident I can recall in high school when someone in my grade sent a “funny” email chain around bullying another student and mentioned me in it too. At the time I laughed about it with my mates, but I know I felt sad on the inside. Aside from that minor incident, I have many high school teacher friends, and they’ve shared awful stories of what goes on across social media. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to monitor as so much of it happens in DMs or through face-less accounts. Our job is to educate and stand up against cyberbullying."
-Amanda Bardas, Executive Editor
"I was mildy bullied at school (for being tall, skinny, and having excessive leg hair, which is so dumb now that I reflect), but I always had a "laugh it off" type approach (I'm not hugely sensitive). Thankfully, I grew up just before social media took off, so was not exposed to negativity online, and haven't had any experiences with it as an adult. But, I did watch my little sister regularly cry after school because of mean things people would say to her online, so I do feel strongly about it. Bullying in general is gross, but it's particularly disturbing when people anonymously attack others online. I find these days, because I only interact with positive people, I feel pretty safe on social media, but I see so many nasty things being said to others, and it really irks me. I don't think it's up to victims to ignore it, but rather for us to call out the bullies. That's why I'm such a fan of this campaign."
-Emily Algar, Beauty and Wellness Producer
"It can be easy for people who participate in online cyberbullying to not realize the affect their words have. But cyberbullying isn’t any less hurtful just because it’s being said to a screen, and not to a face. If you wouldn’t say something to someone in person, don’t say it at all. To me, the onus is on the online bully to realize the seriousness of their actions, rather than on the victim to log off. We all have the power to safely interact in the digital sphere if we treat it with the same gravity we would in the real world."
-Holley Gawne, News and Entertainment Producer
"I was bullied online after an incident that happened in my late teens. The hardest part about it was that none of my friends/family really knew it happened; I was just tagged in a very mean post on Facebook, so I blocked that person and everyone who commented, and never spoke about it. I was embarrassed by the whole thing. Lucky for me, I was old enough to have a strong sense of self by the time social media was a big thing. I really feel for young women who have to deal with it on a daily basis, and might have to face their cyberbullies the next day at school. Cyberbullying can be really hard to deal with because it can be private (i.e. if it’s over text or DM) and there might not be any witnesses. My advice to anyone struggling with it would be to tell the people closest to you what’s happening—you should never be ashamed about being bullied."
-Stephanie Squadrito, Engagement Editor
"I can’t say I’ve personally been bullied online, but read the comments section of any photo posted by an influencer or celebrity and you’ll find hundreds of hurtful, negative words. My view is this: Everyone is just trying to get through their day the best they can. No matter how well you know (or think you know) someone, you don’t know everything. Just. Be. Kind. It’s as simple as that. If you’re ever being made to feel less than when you’re online, try employing the tools built by these platforms to manage cyberbullying. Block users and comments, or on Instagram, try filtering keywords you don’t want to see."
-Kate McGregor, Fashion, Lifestyle and Shopping Editor
"I was fortunate to almost make it out of my young-adulthood, with minimal social media. Yes, email, Tumblr and MSN Messenger were a thing (remember that?) and Facebook came along when I was in year 11, but it certainly wasn’t a 'social requirement' and there was no Instagram feed curation or Snapchat streaks. Don’t get me wrong, bullying was something I experienced, but fortunately, it was escapable to a degree, as it didn’t follow me on every device.
Young adulthood should be a time for exploration and I’m grateful I was able to conduct much of this—including the many mistakes—with the freedom of knowing it wouldn’t become “content”. Yes, I may have faced equivalent embarrassment or bullying in real time, but once the week was out, or the next thing happened, it was forgotten—there was no record of other people’s judgement or comments to live on in digital form as a constant reminder.
It sad to know this isn’t the reality for many young people and that even I as a 27-year-old still find navigating my relationship with the digital landscape murky at times. I think it’s particularly challenging for young people who may use the platforms as a main source of communication, so the resolution isn’t as simple as just deleting the app, or not interacting with it."
-Phoebe Youl, Beauty and Wellness Producer