What To Do About The Haters?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Art by @akunapie in support of Fatin Syahirah

A post shared by Rachelle (@rachellevinberg) on

New personal goal ✔️✅ . So stoked on fs slashers finally! Been my favourite trick forever that I couldn't do and it was frustrating cus its a beautiful one. . . I'm always awestruck at the parks/streets/plazas around the world you see and how just in one city in many western countries are so many options to skate. As bad as you feel sometimes when foreigners walking by this spot are astonished to see how small it is, I'm just glad there's atleast this one thing for the kids and passer bys like me to just keep sk8in alive!! . . Progression been slow because life has been throwing at me many experiences (&injuries) these past 2 years. The worst and the best. But I'm so fired up now and I'm ready to see where it leads me. From the hard times comes immense strength. Thanks to all the haters for the lessons 🙏🙌💪 and to all the lovers for the support - yawl are divine and know who u are ❤️ 📷 @niku.verghese @bcxdvs . . @vans_india @extremeofficial @officialstanleytools
A post shared by Atita Verghese (@rattyatty) on

In the 70's we used to skateboard or surf and it provided a way to get away from the nastiness we saw going on in our local high schools. Skating was a safe and rad place to be and not have the drama that we saw going on elsewhere. We were all "different",  maybe even misfits, and definitely renegades - so we stuck together and became a skate family that had one anothers backs. 

Fast forward to 2018 and it seems as if some girls in skateboarding are now receiving the wrath of the haters and the unhappy people. It isn't the safe place it used to be.

Last week we watched as sixteen-year-old Fatin Syahirah from Malaysia became so discouraged after receiving so many nasty comments on her Instagram page that she removed all her photos and went silent.

Later in the week, we saw Rachelle Vinberg from The Skate Kitchen post about people on social media "feeling the need to judge others for doing what they love" and stating that she was going to take a break from posting video clips and just skate for herself.

India's Atita Verghese has expressed similar things recently, posting about "thanks to all the haters for the lessons".

What could these awesome young women have possibly done to get this much hate?

Rachelle stars in the new film THE SKATE KITCHEN which is having a major moment in the media - one that some older skaters have expressed that they are tired of being asked about. Fatin made her countries national team and was chosen to skate at the prestigious Asian Games, but didn't skate as well as she had hoped, due to an injury. Instead of compassion, people lashed out at her saying she failed her country - that's a heavy burden for a 16-year-old and hey, it's just skateboarding - it's supposed to be FUN! Atita got major recognition when Vans put out a video about all she is doing to help girls in India get on a board and skate - and some people (haters) seemed to feel that she did not deserve all the positive attention and opportunities she received.

For all three of these skaters, this should be a super happy and exciting time in their life.  Yet, it's now being overshadowed by relentless & mean comments.

It seems as if you gain traction, are in the public eye and are making a difference you are a target. If you fly "under the radar" and stay low, things are fine. But don't we want and need people like Fatin, Rachelle and Atita out there paving the way for other girls? These types of girls and women carve a path so others can have it easier than they did. There are all types of skating and all types of people, and there should be room for all of us.

So what is the solution?

I don't think "going away or closing your account" is it - that is exactly what the haters want - they love to silence the voices that create positive change. I do understand the need to "take a break" when it all gets to be too much, but maybe the rest of us can come to these girls defense and call out the nasty commentators and make them realize that this shit is not going to get them what they want.

If you feel that it's hard to stick your own neck out when you see this crap happening online - just think about how the person feels who is receiving the wrath herself. We are stronger together and we need to have one another's backs.

So stand up for your fellow female skaters, because next time you could be the one who needs their help.

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