When you're involved in fandoms, it's always fun being able to chat about the latest news about your favorite television and movie series. If there's one thing to love about being online, especially during show hiatuses, it's the fan interaction.
There's nothing like speculating, making jokes, and looking forward to all the new content for the next season. It's in these moments when you manage to come across the negative comments being sent to you or others.
There are even times when it ruins the fun and positive time you were having with your online friends.
It's well known that negative comments are sent to people on the internet every day with celebrities being the biggest targets. The bullying and harassment are especially seen in droves toward women of color in the science fiction and comic book world.
It's as simple as this adage: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. If you didn't know before, it should be well known now that the words you use and say can have consequences.
There was a time where we didn't have direct access to creators, actors, etc. and it's such a beautiful thing to have. Unfortunately, a large part of the time those beautiful things are misused.
The access to celebrities and public figures on social media is a privilege, not a right.
A person being a public figure does not equal to them being an open forum for anything.
Public figures and celebrities are humans just like all of us. If you wouldn't want these things said to you or anyone you love, don't say it to them.
I'll break it down even further: Think before you type. The things you put out there, stay forever.
The worse offenders come in the form on those who cannot separate the actor from the character. As much as it bothers me to see unnecessary hate towards characters, they're fictional. It becomes too much and goes too far when you start directing it to the actor.
There is a difference in a critical critique and hate. There is a proper way to critique a character's storyline and other aspects. If you have an issue with a character, you can write to the creator, producer, etc. in a nice and appropriate manner. There are times when they will respond and it's more likely if you're nice about it.
It also needs to be a fair critique. It does not include asking for recasting, minimizing their role, etc. A critique would be actual concern for the costume design and asking for proper character development. There are many times where I haven't liked a character, but I moved on. I didn't wish ill will towards the actor or spew hate about the character, I just decided not to watch.
A critical critique is not body shaming someone.
A critical critique is not talking about their race.
A critical critique is not diminishing their role due to their gender.
A critical critique is not minimizing intelligence/social status.
A critical critique is not making less of their career.
A critical critique is not being mean and dismissive of the character or their relationship because it's not liked.
These people do not deserve the vile and hate that they receive. They don't work all day to bring these characters to life for someone to continuously bash them about it. These same people also have little to no control over their characters, they're just doing their job.
Celebrities should be able to enjoy social media just as much as we do. Limiting themselves is not something that should have to be done.
Also, just because you're not tagging them in it, doesn't mean they can't see it. It's very easy to find anything online these days. If you feel the need to say it, write it down in your little notebook. Keep it to yourself.
Find the positives. Write those in your posts. If you can't leave anything positive, it probably shouldn't be written.
There are a few examples of the harassment of women of color that is well-documented and well-known.
Since her casting as Iris West in CW's "The Flash" in 2014, Candice Patton has been on the receiving end of numerous amounts of hate. The actress, who is African-American, received comments that were disgraceful after being cast in a role that was traditionally white. Even to this day, the actress still receives hatred for portraying the role.
An example of the harassment that is seen in Patton's timelineTwitter
Over time, the actress has drawn support from many fans, including fellow actors. The Iris West Defense Squad, also known as IWDS, formed by fans since her casting, have built a community of support for the actress that drowns out the hate.
Candice Patton, herself has taken on the harassers letting them know their hate is not tolerated, nor accepted. Her positive portrayal of the iconic comic-book character and her strength has been an inspiration for those of all ages. It also led to the casting of Iris West in the DC Extended Universe to be given to a black actress.
Candice Patton taking a stand on the hate she receives Twitter
The inspiration is shown in her fans with things such as #IStandWithCandicePatton campaign. The actress's fans took the time to build a campaign that spoke positivity about Patton and all she has done in her role and as an activist. The campaign also allowed for over $10,000 to be raised for the Girls, Inc. Charity, a cause that is dear to the actress's heart.
An example of support from IWDS and fansCandicanes United
Often people have found the show because of Candice Patton. Twitter
Kelly Marie Tran, an Asian-American woman, has appeared as Rose Tico in the latest films of the "Star Wars" Franchise. The actress is the first Asian-American woman to have a leading role in the franchise. In a science-fiction verse, which is seen to be dominated by men, she has gotten backlash for simply appearing and being a woman of color in the films. Since her casting, she has received massive amounts of hate. It eventually led to the actress deleting her entire Instagram in June.
Body shaming of Kelly Marie Tran Twitter
At "The Last Jedi" premiere, Kelly Marie Tran showed so much excitement to be apart of the franchise. It is unfair that she does not get a chance to fully enjoy her moment. On Tico's Wookie (Star Wars fan page), comments like the one below were left on the page.
Ching Chong Wing Tong is a dumbass fucking character Disney made and is a stupid, retarded, and autistic love interest for Finn. She better die in the coma because she is a dumbass bitch.
On the positive side, the actress has received love from her fans and those excited to see more diversity in the film series.
She has also received love from her co-star and "Star Wars" original actor, Mark Hamill, essentially cementing her role in the franchise.
Fans of Kelly Marie Tran Twitter
More recently, Anna Diop who plays Starfire on the upcoming DC's "Titans" series received hatred centered around her role in the show. The actress who is black was sent hatred for portraying an orange alien with fire powers.
In the past few weeks, others have taken out their frustrations of the character's costume and makeup on the actress. A lot of the hate the actress has received is due to the effects of colorism as Diop is a dark-skin actress.
It has led the actress to disable comments on her Instagram.
An example of the harassment Anna Diop receives Twitter
More examples in which they call the actress and her hair "ratchet" Twitter
Once again, folks stood up to rally around the actress and tune out the hate. Her fans sent her positive comments showing their excitement for her in the show and happy for the representation she was bringing. Her co-star, Minka Kelly also took the time to come to the defense of the actress from the those sending her massive amounts of hate.
Support of Anna Diop in the role of Starfire Twitter
Message from co-star, Minka Kelly in support of Anna Diop Minka Kelly Instagram
The hateful messages sent to the actresses began at the time of their casting, prior to any content being seen of the movie or television show. These things were never a critique, it was only harassment.
When their fans are correcting and defending the actors from the harassment, it's not bullying. It's simply calling out what is wrong and what is right. If you don't like something, don't watch it.
This is all to show that those who spew hate and harass others don't win. The haters and the troll's opinions are invalid.
Candice Patton remains Iris West-Allen on Season 5 of "The Flash".
Kelly Marie Tran will be in "Star Wars Episode 9".
Anna Diop is getting rave reviews as Starfire in "Titans".
The one bright side to the harassment and bullying is that it manages to bring people together. I've met many people through my time online defending and showing support to the many actresses that are mentioned above. There are even times when people have become part of a community by joining in to defend off the harassment the actors are facing.
People became fans due to some of these actresses being wonderful people. Twitter
Even as fans, we must take the time to remind ourselves that celebrities are humans as well. As much as they love and appreciate us, they also need a break. We should be understanding when they must cancel or shorten their times at fan conventions and expos. When they need a break from social media, we shouldn't be upset with them for leaving.
At the end of the day, we're warriors. There's never been anything wrong with standing up for what is right. It's the love and support from fans all over the world that has ensured the proper treatment of these actors and their characters.
It's the golden rule. Treat people like you want to be treated. If you see hate, whether online or in real life, don't condone it. It's also highly valuable to focus on yourself and the messages you send as well. There are times where we often have to change ourselves before you can correct others. Self-evaluation can help you to become a better person and be able to spread positivity.
Love will always outweigh hate.