We have all been there. Being called names, having people anonymously attack us, whispers behind our backs. What happens when these things come from your safe haven? Where you go to get away from everyday life where you and your hobbies aren’t accepted.
This is Jackie. A young girl who was bullied non-stop. Hate pages were created about her. She received anonymous messages of hate on her blogs. There were rumors spreading about her at her local conventions. Comments made behind her back, and people attacking her at conventions.
Jackie took her life on September 20th, at the age of 18, and the start of what should have been a long life. After crying out so many times, she still felt alone. After suffering so much for so long in a community she should have, as a fan, felt accepted in.
Why? Why did this happen? We are a community of people who were bullied through school. Who are different. Who are called strange or weird. So why, after so many of us have grown up being bullied, is this community so terrible about making fun of others?
You should never make a remark about someone else. You should never bully another person. Not in this community. Not where we should feel accepted. You should never tolerate seeing someone bullied, or hurt. If you are too shy to stand up against another who is hurting someone else, tell someone who can make a difference. Let me know, if you have no one to rely on, because I will not stand for this community to be filled with such hatred.
Jackie’s death was not suicide. It was murder. The people who bullied her are responsible for her death. And the worst part is, they have had no consequences to their actions to this poor young girl. Maybe they didn’t realize that words could hurt someone so much, I’m not sure.
Every thing you say to another person has an effect on them. Every nice thing will makes them feel good. Every bad thing will make them feel terrible or angry. Everything you do has consequences. And unfortunately, in this case, the consequence wasn’t on the people who said these things. The consequence was a young girl taking her own life.
From Jackie’s death, we should learn to watch what we say. You can never predict the outcome of what you say to someone, because you don’t know what other things someone is dealing with. One small comment about someone’s weight, race, or cosplay can be the last straw on the camel’s back.
Do you want someone to lose their battle because of one little thing you said?
This community needs to be filled with love and support, not hatred.
Rest In Peace, Jackie. You are a great loss to the cosplay community. Because of you, I will fight that much harder to make this a community where people feel safe and loved. Your struggle, and death, will not be in vain.
Followers, I urge you to stand up for other nerds. Don’t make fun of their costume or knowledge base. We all love different characters (I hate Batman but love Robin), and we’ve all started out clueless about our fandom (I read Watchmen freshman year in college and seriously failed every quiz on it). What makes nerds great is that we’re allowed to just LOVE things. We do our best when with other nerds because we can feed off of each other’s passion and creativity. Each nerd brings something different to the table. For instance, I love deeply but not widely. I can go on and on about Watchmen, but will just give you a blank look about any other comic.
As Tumblr illustrates, we have the ability to combine into some super-nerd and create art and analyze every facet and pixel of the original work. We bring those works further than the creators could on their own. What makes these things so great are the fans. Us. All of us. The more of us there are, the more wonderful the things we love become.
It is completely despicable that Jackie fell at our hands—yeah, we’re all taking the blame for this. We were supposed to raise her up. We were supposed to fight for her. Instead, we’ve created this hierarchy in nerddom where there are ‘real fans’ and ‘fake fans.’ Are you fucking kidding me? Is there some kind of entrance exam and application to be able to go to Nerd U? The ONLY thing you need to do to be a nerd is to like something. That’s it. If someone likes something then they deserve our respect. Even if they like your least favorite character, or call Eleven ‘Doctor Who’ instead of ‘Doctor,’ or whatever. They deserve your respect.