After noticing a significant increase in abusive and, at times, violent comments directed towards Duchesses Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton over the last year, Hello! magazine introduced a new social media campaign to change the conversation.
Many British tabloids have been suggesting rumors of a feud between the women, leading to fans of one woman attacking the other side or vice versa. Often these comments focus on the women’s appearances.
When Meghan Markle was announced as the patron of four charities and visited one of them, criticism came from all sides, saying she was faking her pregnancy, trying too hard, or touching her baby bump too much. Emily Nash, the royal editor at Hello! wants people to be aware of the damage these comments can cause.
“It seems to me to be particularly sexist. You have people comparing them in a way that doesn’t really happen with men—she’s walking funny, or her heels are too high, or her legs are too skinny,” she says.
Hello! reported having to delete hundreds of threatening comments between users on their posts before the start of the #HellotoKindness campaign. Kensington Palace officials are even seeking help from Instagram to monitor and remove offensive comments about the duchesses.
So why is it that we want women to fight?
Nash believes it’s easy when you’re hiding behind a screen. “People feel empowered to be aggressive and abusive to each other from behind the safety of their keyboard. It encourages a darker side of people’s characters to come to the fore,” she says.
In an online poll conducted by Amnesty International in 2017, 23 percent of women across the UK and the United States had experienced online abuse or harassment at least once. For those in the spotlight, this abuse is even more widespread.
That’s why Nash developed the #HellotoKindness campaign, which is growing quickly with its impressive celebrity support.
The vicious comments surrounding the duchesses are far from encouraging and only work to perpetuate the objectification of women. The #HellotoKindness campaign is raising awareness of threatening comments like these, but could lead to something even greater: increased legislation that could control online trolls.
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