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Why There Shouldn’t Be Another Article By Shauna Ruby Valchuk

Yesterday, my senior editor Charlotte tagged me in a post letting me know I had my first national share on an article I was quite proud of. I’ve been writing for Her Campus for a few months now and I never had a national share up until this point. It felt rewarding.

The article that got shared was about how I think there shouldn’t be another season of Stranger Things (which, for the record, I still wholeheartedly stand behind). The thing is, Stranger Things has some pretty hardcore fans. To put it in Charlotte’s words, I “singlehandedly pissed off the entire Her Campus readership” with this article. So, there was a whole lot of disagreement with my opinion, which is entirely fair. If I’m allowed to have an opinion, so are you. Criticism is healthy; I like criticism. I wouldn’t be a good writer without it.

But the next morning was when it all went down. There’s a huge difference between criticism and hate: criticism is constructive, hate is petty. I woke up to a few more messages from Charlotte, one reading: “you really pissed this guy off eh.” I didn’t really know what she was talking about, so I went on my article to find eight different comments left over different periods of time by the same man essentially shitting on my entire writing career thus far.

The comments ranged from: “did I mention that this is a CRAP piece of writing” to “how is HerCampus.com even a thing at this point?” as well as my personal favourite: “you think HerCampus.com would post the article I’m writing.. [sic] ‘Why There Shouldn’t Be Another Article By Shauna Ruby Valchuk Having To Do With Television, Published On HerCampus.’” To be fair, he handed me this title on a silver platter. An honourable mention goes to this comment:  

Look, I don’t know who this man is. I don’t know if he’s an OG Her Campus stan or if he thinks he’s on the comment section of Vice, but it’s clear that this is just some stranger attacking me behind the guise of a private Facebook account. And, as cliché as it sounds, he probably has nothing better to do.

To be honest, I found the whole ordeal quite a hilarious thing to wake up to. I mean, we’re talking about a Stranger Things opinion piece. It’s not like I wrote an article titled “How To Punch A Baby In Just Ten Easy Steps!” I like to take this sort of hate with a grain of salt. A couple years ago, I had a tweet go viral which led to the same sort of outlandish hate about my voice and looks. For me, it’s good to laugh this kind of stuff off. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but like I said, a grain of salt.

Being the person I am, I posted some of the comments to my personal page telling my Facebook friends I’d like to “tattoo the comments on my lower back.” In real life, I had people come up to me at work telling me they saw this man’s comment shit-storm. It was just surreal to have a “hater” and to personally feel the brunt of hate-filled comments. My friends and I didn’t understand why this man was so outraged, but the thing is, we don’t have to. These comments made me laugh, yes, but I finally understood what it was like to write for an audience.

Just as I have access to a computer to write my opinions, so does everyone else. I write my opinions because I think they’re important enough to be heard, but in no way are they godly. I enjoyed seeing people’s counter-arguments and criticisms. But constructive criticism shouldn’t come for your entire being. Like I said, when the only thing people have to offer you is that they think your writing is “cheap crap,” they probably have nothing better to do.

What I’ve learned from this whole thing is that you don’t have to give your energy to empty criticism. Empty criticism is just hate, and hate is petty. There are people who want you to be better and people who want you to be worse. Ignore the latter.

So shout out to you, man from Facebook. At least this one isn’t about television.

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Shauna Ruby Valchuk is HCW's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. She's in her fifth year studying Creative Writing, English, Language and Literature. Currently, she is working on her creative non-fiction thesis. She writes in her off days and publishes it on her on days and hopes to one day make money doing the stuff she loves surrounded by as many cats as legally allowed. 
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