On the internet, becoming the target of abuse by absolute randoms may be par for the course, but being a plus-size female model on Instagram and OnlyFans definitely attracts some of the worst of it.
As female politicians and activists continue to find horrid messages waiting for them in their inboxes just for being themselves, a recent story by a leading Maltese Insta model has once more shined a spotlight on what these public individuals face on a regular basis.
Sharing a screenshot from a chat with an account she didn’t know, Emily Jones showed the kind of messages she was subject to from strangers. One message calling her all kinds of names and threatening to hurt or be violent towards herself and her family, including “pissing on her father” as well as generic comments such as “your mother is a whore”.
Jones shared the comment with the caption “happy nice week to you too sir” and spoke to Lovin Malta about dealing with abuse in your day-to-day job.
“I feel like being behind a screen makes people feel like they can say anything,” Jones told Lovin Malta.
“I’ve learnt to brush these things off as much as I can in this line of work, but sometimes, as with most things in life, it helps to share – and I find sometimes that it takes the sting out to share with my followers and then we can all have a bit of a laugh about it. I think it’s therapeutic to share most things as they say – a problem shared is a problem halved!”
Jones has over 188,000 followers on her main Instagram account, with the number rising to near 300,000 when you include her other accounts as well.
Whereas random abusive messages have been ignored before, nowadays, trolls are constantly trying to find ways to humiliate or hurt others, especially if they are public figures.
“Honestly, I’ve learnt to expect it, especially as a woman on the internet, and I can see that being confident in my skin and unapologetic in my existence as a plus-size woman also rubs people up the wrong way,” she said. “The positive messages from followers saying I’ve encouraged them to live a little more freely in spite of their body image anxieties makes it worthwhile though.”
Jones believes it’s more important than ever to speak out about individuals quietly hurling abuse at public figures without any consequences.
“It’s all part of the territory, but people need to be held accountable for their words,” she said. “Personally, I am often curious about the content of an Instagram creator’s inbox, so I like to share a little snippet now and again of what kind of things I get sent…”
However, Jones made it clear that she shared to comment to show the reality of what happened when you go public with your life and body.
“It’s not a cry for attention or a woe is me situation, but more just like – here’s another side to the job, it’s not all free meals and poolside photo shoots,” she said clearly. “You know you open yourself up to criticism when you start this job, but at the end of the day you’re still a human being and not the punching bag for someone’s shitty day.”
With more and more young women using platforms like Instagram, TikTok or OnlyFans to create a name for themselves or make a living, Jones wants everyone to understand just what they are getting into.
“My advice would be to block, delete and move on with your day, don’t give people second chances as once you’ve got one nasty message from someone they’ll often send more,” she said.
“The other thing is to know that those types of messages are almost always a reflection on the state of mind of whoever’s sending them… a happy and satisfied person would never find themselves raging and writing such awful things. You’re just the scapegoat in this situation.”
“And finally,” she ended, “if you are struggling with your mental health and feel you can’t cope on your own, please share the burden with someone and seek help.”
If you would like to speak to someone about comments that may be affecting you, you can seek help on the freephone for mental-wellbeing by Richmond Foundation by calling 1770.
Have you ever recieved messages like this from total strangers?