Out in the Open

Briony Smith is powered by trolls who say she is 'too sexual' and 'too loud'

The cultural journalist has been publicly shamed for how she looks, how she dresses, how she talks and so much more. Briony has learned to cope with online attacks — even to thrive on them. But, she argues, the thing about public shaming is that the damage goes much deeper and farther than the intended target.
Briony Smith is a cultural journalist and host of Briony's Teeny-Tiny Talk Show. (Flare Magazine)

Cultural journalist Briony Smith has been publicly shamed for how she looks, how she dresses, how she talks, for being "too sexual", "too loud" and more.

Briony is used to putting herself out there in her writing, but it wasn't until she started a video series that was posted to YouTube that she learned what it's like to be a young woman who refuses to conform to all the unspoken (and spoken) rules for how women look, sound, behave and express themselves.

The online comments were graphic, personal and nasty, calling Smith everything from "a fat cow" to "a cancer."

Smith reflects on it all in her essay for Out in the Open:

"So what are the consequences of public shaming?

Well for me, you know it's actually empowered me. I'm like, 'You know what I'm going to power through and keep going,' and it just fuels me. It fuels me like one of those creatures that come out of the ooze and they're like powered by all these negative thoughts like in Ghostbusters 2, like that's me! I'm the ooze in Ghostbusters 2! I'm being powered by the trolls! And so I just like rise up! 

But the issue is this: It's not just me seeing it and being like, 'Oh yeah I am a fat cow.' Other people will see it, other women, other young women... and they'll be like 'Oh you know what? Like, maybe I'm a bit bigger, like I should definitely never speak out, or I should never start a YouTube channel because the trolls will tell me that I'm obese too. And it really perpetuates that sort of cycle of body shaming, fat shaming, sex shaming.

It's horrible because you know what? I'm not going to keep it in my pants and I love to eat poutine. So like that's my business it's not your business and you should not be telling me or other people to do it. Bye."

This story originally aired on May 28, 2017

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