The internet provides a multitude of opportunities for women to connect with one another in meaningful ways — through online support groups, networking opportunities, social clubs, and simple one-on-one relationship building. As women, we are social creatures who crave connection on a deep level, one that we have been able to cultivate both online and in real life. The internet has helped facilitate connections and relationships that have blossomed into important, meaningful parts of our lives on and off the screen.
But sometimes the internet can serve as a place where women attack and shame one another, often using the veil of anonymity to write hurtful, aggressive things that they would never say to someone in person. We’ve all seen the negative, unsubstantiated judgments made about other women’s body types, clothing choices, parenting styles, and eating habits. Maybe we’re even the ones who’ve made a cruel comment or two about someone’s relationship, children, salary, home, or lifestyle without ever really knowing anything at all about their day-to-day life — their struggles, their victories, their insecurities, their fears.
Based on a curated selection of photos and posts, it’s easy to assume that we know the whole story about another woman’s life and, when we’re feeling down, it’s also easy to shame her for the parts we disagree with in a disrespectful, public manner. Because this is done online, behind phone screens and computers and tablets, we get off scot-free, escaping the accountability of our actions thanks to the protection of the internet.
Image via Sara Forrest