If you’ve never received a mean message or comment from a stranger, you may (sadly) be in the minority. From cyberbullying to trolling to regular old nastiness, the internet can be a rough place to hang out.
MICA student Lindsay Bottos has seen it all first-hand. In 2010, she created a Tumblr site to showcase her work — and in the years since, she’s received hundreds of mean anonymous messages. But instead of taking her site offline or ignoring the jerks, she decided to use their rudeness to fuel her creative practice.
Bottos’s newest project, “Anonymous,” plasters screencaps of some of the meanest messages over self-portraits. The results have been striking: She’s already received more than 85,000 comments and received 20,000 new followers, and that’s before Buzzfeed featured her work last week. Here’s how Bottos describes the project:
I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.
Depressingly enough, while the Buzzfeed comment section features plenty of support for Bottos and her project, there are a fair number of haters in there, too. Clearly, they didn’t get the message.
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