What this beauty blogger wants to say to her cyber bullies

Remember the YouTube video of beauty blogger Em Ford applying make-up to cover her acne, alongside some of the thousands of nasty comments she received online?

Em, who runs the blog and YouTube account My Pale Skin, never imagined the video to go viral two years ago. She has acne, which developed “out of nowhere” in her mid-20s, and the video shone a light on the kind of abuse she regularly received for posting photos without make-up on – as many as 20,000 negative comments in two days.

We caught up with Em to find out if things have changed.

What do you want to say to those who post hurtful messages online?

“Think about why you’re sending those messages before you actually hit the send button. As someone who has worked in the space for quite a while, it’s very easy to separate people into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but it’s never really as simple as that. If you are sending these messages to someone online, there’s a reason why and it’s a case of you really have to look into those reasons and see what you can do to make your situation better so you don’t make somebody else’s situation worse. A lot of the time it’s the bullies who also need the help.”

What was it that kept you posting videos and pictures despite the bullies’ comments? 

“[When my acne developed] I didn’t want to blog or put any content out there for ages, and then something changed and I thought, ‘You know what, you’re being stupid, this is normal and I need to talk about it.’ So I did.

“I posted a picture and I found a community that was going through the same thing, women who had also had skin issues. And when you get messages from people saying, ‘Thank you, I’m going through the same thing, you have no idea how much I needed to hear this today’, and you start a connection, that is worth more than every hate comment. The five or 10 emails I’d get on a daily basis from people going through the same thing kept me going.”

Em regularly posts photos without any make-up on (Em Ford/My Pale Skin/PA)

What’s changed since you posted the ‘You Look Disgusting’ video?

“I’ve actually done a lot of reflecting on that video this week. I had absolutely no idea it would get the reaction it did, but the craziest thing is that it changed everything.

“I know in the weeks before that video I could post a picture without make-up on and I could guarantee 10 [horrible] comments, multiple times, from different people.

“As soon as that video went out, the sentiment changed, the type of comments I got changed. Whereas before it might have been maybe 60% negative, after that video, going forward and even now, two years later, I can’t remember the last negative comment I had on a picture.”

What advice would you give anyone being cyber bullied? 

“I have filters set up in place on YouTube and you can ban words on Twitter and Instagram and every social network these days, and that’s something everyone who’s going through hate online should put in place. Or even someone who just doesn’t want to see that type of stuff expressed online.

“The most important thing is to tell someone what’s happening. Even the most confident person can say, ‘It’s not bothering me’, but one day it will and is it going to be too late? Tell somebody as soon as it starts – block people, mute people.”

 

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