Paige Spiranac has been written about by this site plenty of times. This week she’s in Dubai for the Omega Ladies Masters tournament. This is the second straight year Spiranac will participate in the event. In 2015 she missed the cut and received a lot of criticism for even being invited.
Spiranac’s Instagram account following has grown quickly over the last year and a half as she went from a relatively unknown golfer struggling to make it onto the LPGA Tour to someone with over 863,000 followers. The criticism directed towards Spiranac solely involves her looks and the way she markets herself, but really it is just people who are mean and jealous.
During media day, Spiranac talked about the bullying from people after she missed the cut in Dubai who not only sent hateful comments to her, but also towards her family.
“When you see the comments people say, they are extremely cruel. They talk about not only me, but my parents, my family, my friends. They say I’m a disgrace to golf and no one sees that. I still get those comments and I still deal with that every day.”
“I think it’s really important…people need to see how much it actually does affect me, and the things they call me. I feel like I was raised right from my parents, and for them to attack my parents and attack what I’m doing, it’s really difficult. I struggled with a lot of depression after it, because as a 22-year-old, you feel like you’re not worth anything, you’re worthless and no matter what you do it’s never good enough, so to have all these people say that I’m not a good golfer, I’m not a good person, you know [that] I’m promiscuous or make these judgments about me that are not true, it’s really hard just because I like to wear spandex on the golf course and you think about it and it seems so foolish but you never know what that person is going through in life and teenage suicide rates are up right now and they think it’s because of cyber bullying.”
“And so if I can share my story, and I’m okay with being emotional about it and I’m okay with kind of expressing what happened to me, because people don’t realize how hard it was on me…people saying the world is better off without me. People don’t see that side of it and I think it’s really, really important to share that with everyone. It doesn’t matter how I play this week, it really doesn’t,” Spiranac said at one point. “But the fact that I’m here and I’m sharing my story, hopefully can save someone’s life, I think that’s so much more important than if I make the cut or miss the cut.”
Spiranac was then asked what her advice would be for someone in her situation.
“I think [for] anyone who’s being bullied, I think most important thing is to have someone you can talk to and I think people are ashamed of the fact that they’re being bullied and they don’t feel like they’re cool enough or they’re not good enough, but I think it’s important to express that to other people and to have outlets and so I kind of want to show people that it’s ok. It’s ok to be depressed if you have a bad comment or it’s OK to struggle with it, but if I can be that person that can talk to them about it.”
“I think that Christina Kim and Natalie Gulbis and my family, they were there for me, so I think it’s important to just have a really strong support system and have someone you can talk to and to share these stories publicly and openly because no one ever talks about it, they really don’t. Cyber bullying is a huge problem and no one ever discusses it. It’s no longer funny. It’s not the cool thing to do to make fun of other people, and you need to be supportive and I think that’s really important.”
Cyber bullying is a big deal, and it is affecting kids around the world. The site StandForTheSilent.org claims that 55,000 children that have taken their lives in the last 7 years due to being bullied and that over 160,000 kids stay home each day because of bullying.
The first thing I was told when I started writing for this site was, “don’t read the comments.” I didn’t listen to that advice and I waded down into the comments and saw just how hateful people can be over trivial things. For a while it affected the way I did my job and made me extremely self conscious and worried that I would make a small statistical error or misspell a word and would receive endless messages telling me just how much I suck because of it when really, all I was trying to do was live, work, and provide interesting content for people to read. While I still get messages, we all do here at this site; I’ve learned that people are just being mean to be mean. I realized a long time ago that it’s easier to not care what anyone thinks of my work other than those who employ me.
It’s easy to forget that there’s someone on the other side of the screen who probably reads the comments people are directing towards them, and while it’ll never completely go away, I agree with Spiranac and I applaud her for addressing the issue that she’s faced. More people need to speak out use the platforms they have to show to those struggling with cyber bullying that living life is better than caring what some moron thinks about your hair or clothes, or the way you talk or act, or your goals in life.
[Video via Golf Digest]