MYRA Stop Cyberbullying[00]kan

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Dec 20, 2018 - PERSATUAN PENERBIT BUKU MALAYSIA /. MALAYSIAN BOOK ...... mindsets that need our outmost attention. How do we dismantle sizeism.
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edited by

Tan Kim Hua


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Cetakan Pertama / First Printing, 2018 Hak cipta / Copyright Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2018 Hak cipta terpelihara. Tiada bahagian daripada terbitan ini boleh diterbitkan semula, disimpan untuk pengeluaran atau ditukarkan ke dalam sebarang bentuk atau dengan sebarang alat juga pun, sama ada dengan cara elektronik, gambar, serta rakaman dan sebagainya tanpa kebenaran bertulis daripada Penerbit UKM terlebih dahulu. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the Penerbit UKM. Diterbitkan di Malaysia oleh / Published in Malaysia by PENERBIT UNIVERSITI KEBANGSAAN MALAYSIA


No. Ahli / Membership No. 198302 Diatur huruf di Malaysia oleh / Typesetted in Malaysia by PANTAS SET SDN. BHD. (118872-P)

No. 5-1-1, Jalan Megan Setapak 1, Taman Megan Sri Rampai 53300 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA Dicetak di Malaysia oleh / Printed in Malaysia by UKM CETAK UKM Holdings Sdn. Bhd.

Aras Bawah, Bangunan Penerbit UKM 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia

Data Pengkatalogan-dalam-Penerbitan / Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Stop Cyberbullying / edited by Tan Kim Hua. 1. Cyberbullying. 2. Government publications--Malaysia. I. Tan, Kim Hua. 302.343 ISBN 978-967-412-772-5

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Contents Preface ...7 Introduction ...9 Chapter 1

Cyberbullying: A Cursory Review ...17 Tan Kim Hua

Chapter 2

The Power to Destruct: Online Fat Shaming Bullying in Social Media ...35 Bahiyah Abdul Hamid

Chapter 3

It Hurts When We Surf: Malaysian Undergraduate Students’ Perception and Experiences on Cyberbullying ...51 Ang Leng Hong & He Mengyu

Chapter 4

Framing the Victim: A Study of Cyberbullying ...62 Lee Siew Chin, T’ng Cheah Kiu Choon & Muhammad Khair Abd Razak

Chapter 5

Haters Will Hate, But How? The Language of Body Shaming Cyberbullies in Instagram ...80 Bahiyah Abdul Hamid, Habibah Ismail & Chairozila Mohd. Shamsuddin

List of Contributors ...103 Index ...105

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Preface ‘Stop Cyberbullying’ sets out to share with society information on one of the most pervasive of crimes, one that is often ignored or deemed harmless but is unknowingly detrimental to many-- young or old. It is one of the few books that take on the broad spectrum of cyberbullying in social media for discussion; ranging from analyses of a social taxonomy of cyberbullying to societal perception to how cyberbullying is manifested in linguistic forms and functions. Also, of no lesser importance is the fact that the culmination of work in this book comes from a diverse list of writers and the wide range of perspectives that they bring to their chapters. The writers cum researchers not only represent Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) but those from outside as well. Researchers from both Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia have The research grant GUP-2015-014, under the auspices of UKM, has generously funded the publication of this book. The grant also enabled continuous work in further enriching the cyberbullying corpus and translating the outcome to the development of an app. Ultimately, all app (BuLI) that auto detects potentially harmful messages in forums or message boards, blogs and social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or WhatsApp. The BuLI app provides a guideline on the typical language used by cyberbullies. Ultimately, all patterns and framing of the bullying discourse as well as their level of harmfulness will be automatically detected by the app. Victims can thus successfully selfregulate and be empowered to overcome bullying. Likewise, cyberbullies redeem themselves in time. Last but not least, our profound gratitude to the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities and UKM Press for providing us a platform for a robust academic-related discussion so that our competing discourses on the issue of cyberbullying will not be left unheard. Tan Kim Hua

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Introduction Digital capabilities have revolutionised the way information is communicated and accrued, to the extent of disrupting the nature of society. A Digital Revolution, the third instalment of industrial revolutions since the 18th century, has brought about – through means of personal computers, the Internet, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – fundamental changes in the mode of economic as well as are becoming more relevant day by day and new disciplines emerge as a result of it. Since then the cyber world has penetrated ever more deeply into our consciousness, being, and social fabric that it requires a re-thinking and re-assessment of our evolving reality. In attempts to capture this phenomenon concisely, people have now started the conversation on the fusion and embedment of technology onto society and even humanity itself is discussed. far reaching. However, wrongly embraced, technology can work against us. Technology revolutionises communicating using social media and it is communication are beyond policing and therefore opened to abuse when communicators are anonymous to each other. This encourages proliferation of crimes such as cyber frauds, scamming, pornography and dissemination of fake news etc. Cyberbullying, one of the most pervasive of crimes in social media, has reared its head in recent times, Most of us would agree that any form of bullying is unacceptable. However, the same ‘us’ again, at some point in our lives, may have been a victim of bullying or may have bullied others. For the victims, some are able to move on and live normal lives whilst others are less fortunate. Some of them carry life-long scars from the trauma, damaging their self-worth, resort to suicide due to the weight of the bullying and the foreboding pain. The perpetrators would carry on with their lives regardless.

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cyberbullying, is basically bullying perpetrated on electronic or social media. This form of bullying is often overlooked and yet, can be just as damaging as face to face bullying. Much like traditional bullying, cyberbullying is repeated acts of harassment over a period of time; however, there is also a crucial difference. Unlike traditional bullying, the repetition in cyberbullying can happen in different and arguably more insidious ways. For example, an embarrassing or compromising picture of person A may be uploaded on the web and then later further spread by other people who were not the original uploaders, thus, one action by one perpetrator may ‘snowball’ for Person A to escape or to ‘contain’ the cyberbullying. Due to its anonymous nature also, it is hard to detect this form of bullying and policing it is almost impossible. Cyberbullying victims are usually told to simply turn off the computer and ignore the bullies but this rarely works unless one shuts down all communication in social media. On the part of the perpetrator, the act of cyberbullying, due to its detached nature, pretty much encourages a lack of empathy towards the victim. In contrast to traditional bullying, the cyber bully would not be there in person as the victim is hurt or damaged by the cyberbullying, leaving less room for feeling sorry for the victim or acknowledgement that it could have gone too far. Additionally, the anonymous nature of cyberbullying also encourages the cyberbully to be brazen and ruthless making it very easy for them to cyberbully someone time and time again while also not seeing any true consequence to their actions. There are many ways that cyberbullying can manifest. The most common form of cyberbullying would be sending someone a message nature. For example, with just a number unknown to the receiver, you could send a WhatsApp or SMS message to anyone, saying any number of unpleasant things, as long as you have their number. Or if anonymity is not a factor to the cyberbully, it can be just as easy for any cyberbully to use his/her real account to send angry or hurtful messages over Facebook or Twitter via private messaging and direct messaging. With the internet or even mobile phones, it can be very easy to write something nasty about someone for a wide audience, for instance, posting rumours, insults, threats or embarrassing information on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc. A lot of times, the cyberbully would even be using a decoy or fake account to do the deed, which makes

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Introduction / 11

The most they can reliably do is report the post in question to social media moderators in hopes of getting it taken down but by then, many other people might have already seen or maybe even taken a screenshot of it. as a group effort too. Sometimes, a group of cyberbullies will brigade a victim by posting negative or derogatory things about the victim simultaneously or in very short intervals between each attack, making it seem to the victim that the whole world is out to get him/her, which can be extra demoralising. This may even extend to reporting or false and their social media presence stymied. Another way cyberbullying may occur is by ‘hacking.’ Note that in the context of social media use, ‘hacking’ refers to using the social media accounts of a particular individual to post things without their consent and essentially assume the individual’s identity. ‘Hacking’ is often done in jest between friends and can be done in good humour but it can easily that someone else has assumed control of their social media account and is using it to post sexual, vulgar or other inappropriate things that to ‘hacking’ a victim’s account to send hateful or rude messages to other people which can really damage the relationship of the victim with the recipients of the messages. Related to this is also simply setting up a dummy or fake account that mirrors the victim’s account to do much the same, which can still cause the victim’s friends and acquaintances to have a wrongful impression of the victim while at the same time, taunt the victim as fake accounts are easily set up again, no matter how many times they are banned or reported. Propagation or sharing of material/images/videos of the victim compromising/vulnerable position (for instance, crying, being bullied, having an outburst) and the video may be uploaded online to further humiliate the victim. The video release might be even more insidious if it is deliberately edited/cut to be easily taken out of context to frame the victim negatively. Media uploaded on the internet may be extremely before it is taken, not to mention the uploader may just re-upload it again anyway.

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Cyberbullying may manifest as cyberstalking. as a sustained mental attack, in which the perpetrator repeatedly and non-consensually disrupts the victim’s life via threats of stalking, harm, intimidation, and/or offensive comments done through electronic media channels. Of all the different heads cyberbullying has, cyberstalking is one of the most malicious ones as there is often a very real possibility of the cyberbullying spilling over into ‘real’-life and causing true physical harm to the victim as cyberstalking is often done also in tandem with real world stalking. Cyberstalking may also include behaviour such as monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or procuring information that may be used to threaten or harass the victim. Cyberbullying, much like face-to-face bullying, has led to suicides and self-harming, particularly among youths around the world, and Malaysia is no exception. What is more alarming perhaps is the trend of face-to-face victims of bullies turning out to be bullies themselves in cyberspace. Is this a vicious cycle? Or is this an unintentional act? How do we manage this and empower victims to counteract the bullying? The methodological pursuit in overcoming cyberbullying could involve eliciting language typically used by bullies in social media as well as the level of harmfulness the bullying causes. It is worth examining the psyche of bullies as well as the ones being bullied in order to ultimately empower victims to overcome this predicament. Review” is an overarching study on cyberbullying which tries to paint a big picture on the issue. The author, Tan Kim Hua, begins with problematising counterparts. Conceptual issues such as the principle of repetition and power asymmetry are raised and solutions are proposed so as to better apprehend and accommodate the exact object of discussion. It then goes on to discuss the psychology of victims and perpetrators, which draws much semblance to that of traditional bullying victims and perpetrators, while making notes on the neurological development of teenagers in trial to relate it to the causes and consequences of cyberbullying. The author also draws attention to the prospect of auto-detection of cyberbullying activities through utilisation of linguistic analytic tools. Much focus has been dedicated to elaborating on the different systems at disposal and the reliability of each. This chapter ends with a brief discussion on cyberbullying in relation to physical disabilities, gender, and social differences as well as a marking on dissimilarities between cyberbullying

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Introduction / 13

Bullying in Social Media” by Bahiyah Abdul Hamid goes on to discuss the prevalence of body shaming online as an outcome of fat phobia and sizeism which is the judgement of one’s worth positively and/or negatively through the lens of the societal ideal of body image. The chapter sets to of accessibility to healthy lifestyle, which unfortunately is not in equitable provision in society, contrasted with the previous ideal which assumes a larger body form associated with ability to afford food. The author then delves into the realities, forms and functions of cyberspace bullying in the Malaysian context while offering an array of examples drawn from real life instances, before applying linguistic analysis to them. The author then sums up by exposing the façade of concerns in which fat-shaming between body shapes and health. When We Surf: Malaysian Undergraduate Students’ Perception and Experiences on Cyberbullying” investigates the level of Malaysian public universities undergraduates’ understandings of cyberbullying concepts while surveying their opinions on the matter. This study incorporated 70 students, male and female, encompassing a wide range of ethnicities to Bidayuh, Kadazan etc. The study utilises response sheet and interview sessions to allow subjects free articulations of their thoughts and experiences. It is worth mentioning that the study found that the majority of female subjects (65%) reported never being embarrassed, harassed or threatened online which is the opposite of male subjects (58%) where the majority have reported encountering abuse online at least once. This is in contrast with a report by Mesch (2009) and may open new avenues of study which may ascertain the sociological differences which results The next chapter brings into our discourse the problem of identity psychology of the perpetrators and victims of cyberbullying but at the same time also focusing more on the externalisation of said psychology the Victim: A Study of Cyberbullying” by Lee Siew Chin, T’ng Cheah Kiu Choon and Muhammad Khair Abd Razak tries to answer the question of what and which victim self-presentation invokes aggression. In doing

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so, it explores the provocative linguistic features by surveying the utterances and articulations of social media users on a platform, namely Twitter. Following the footsteps of Erving Goffman (1956), the concept of self-framing is utilised as an analytical tool to classify the online activities observed into all the different rubrics in which cyberbullying trickery, cyberstalking as well as exclusion. Instagram Language of Body Shaming Cyberbullies in Instagram” by Bahiyah Abdul Hamid, Habibah Ismail &and Chairozila Mohd. Focusing on this subset of Instagram users and their preoccupation of conforming to the Malaysian ideals of body size and appearance, this chapter discusses what identifying the salient linguistic forms and structures used by cyberbullies to degrade, belittle and offend their targets (those judged not to have conformed to societal expectations of ideal size, shape, colour and appearance of the parts of the body). The data was based on 20 Malaysian Instagram posts, retrieved by keyword searching, which featured body shaming comments in the form of insults utilising Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 2001) and Emotivity (Bednarek 2006) to study language use in the Instagram posts for body shaming. Three main types of body shaming occurrences were revealed: self-deprecation, otherInstagram users on passing judgements and making comments on another person’s body or appearance is an act of discrimination. Although this kind of discrimination is commonplace in our culture and society, it is detrimental discrimination involves distressing language use and abuse. non-dismissible to life, but also at the same time encapsulating itself and forming a distinct universe apart of its own. Understanding this virtual world requires a different paradigm to make sense of its mechanisms and operations which, even though based on real life, goes through a long funnel of amendments so that the same logic is no longer applicable to both worlds. Undoubtedly, it now pertains to everything human including bullying, a notion now aptly termed as cyberbullying. It assumes not only a different format than its predecessors but it also assumes deep conceptual differences which necessitates the more perplexing nature of

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Introduction / 15

the latter in contrast to the former. It elicits exaggerated consequences and thus warrants serious discourse. This book is an answer to such callings The collection of works in this book is a coordinated effort to help counter every stakeholder in this enterprise to participate in a concerted manner to chime in and be part of the change. It takes all quarters to put an end to cyberbullying.

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Chapter 1

Cyberbullying: A Cursory Review Tan Kim Hua

Introduction The advent of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the late 1980s has brought a lot of disruption to how we perceive the world. It changed, among other things, the extent and forms of communication, the boundaries of education, the future of jobs, as well as power relations. In essence, the underlying social fabric as we have understood it undergoes constant evolution, if not revolution and to keep pace with it requires incisive analysis and scholarly inquiry. The question of bullying, like everything else, is under the purview of a growing social phenomenon and we therefore cannot equate cyberbullying with face-to-face bullying.

What Makes a Cyberbully? The study done by Olweus in 1978 has been traditionally quoted as to negative action by other students. In a more recent study by Langos and Sarre (2015), they expounded on the basis left by Olweus by adding the following criterion: an act is considered to have constituted bullying when it is intentional, repeated, aggressive, and a manifestation of power imbalances. These are the fundamentals by which bullying is differentiated from mere aggression. But one would be surprised to learn that upon close scrutiny, much of cyberbullying actually doesn’t satisfy all the criteria and hence falls short of being considered ‘bullying’ in the traditional sense. This is evident

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through inconsistencies found by report studies on negated feelings. For instance, when Raskaukas and Stoltz in 2007 surveyed adolescents victims of cyberbullying, 93% reported feeling sad, hopeless, and powerless. Nevertheless, the number plummeted to 38% in a report by the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey, contradicting past researches (Ybarra, Mitchell, Wolak & Finkelhor 2006). The discrepancy is thought to have arisen from the lack of consensus to what demarcates bullying (Van Hee et al. 2015). Attempts have been made to capture the general idea with broad that is carried out using electronic means by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him harassment intentionally perpetrated online (Ybarra & Mitchell 2004), insults and threats through electronic devices,and bullying perpetrated through electronic devices. Despite all efforts, scholars cannot seem to repetition and power asymmetry. For an act to be considered as a form of bullying, the criterion repetition is required (Olweus 2010). This is traditionally seen as the perpetrator being engaged in the act of aggression multiple times over a certain time span. However, when this paradigm is because a one-time aggression on the Internet might escalate to a degree never before seen in the traditional setting, such as going viral, to the extent of being incorporated into the Internet meme (the word meme is unit of cultural transmission, imitation and replication by non-genetic means). This creates a snowball effect where harassments are being constantly reproduced and redistributed not by the original uploaders (Slonje, Smith & Frisen 2012) thus creating an ever-encompassing reach of perpetrator(s) over the victim, relegating them to systematic attack all day long. Another important point to note is that of power asymmetry. Traditionally for bullying to happen there has to be an imbalance in terms of physical strength and/or socioeconomic status such that the perpetrator would assume the higher end of the relationship (Olweus 1978). But such conditions are no longer necessary for cyberbullying to happen. The victim surprisingly may be of equal or greater standing as compared to the perpetrator (Vandebosch & Van Cleemput 2008)

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Cyberbullying: A Cursory Review / 19

and as such, those who do not normally engage as an active agent in a traditional setting of bullying might end up being cyberbullies themselves (Poland 2010). Research by Walrave & Heirman (2011) has suggested that the time spent on the internet correlates with one’s tendency to participate in cyberbullying. In the same volume, it is also found that the greatest predictor of being a victim of cyberbullying is being a perpetrator previously. Past research notes that the reason being that cyber perpetrators are more prone to using applications such as instant messenger, blogs, and chatrooms, leaving their personal information (Kolwaski & Witte 2006). As such, it could be concluded that the explained by the anonymity of users on the internet (Raskaukas 2010). cyberharassment as the constant online expression that purposefully targets a particular person and causes the victim substantial emotional suffering and fear. technology, intent, targeting, and substantiality of harm. Smith et al. (2008) described seven main media – mobile phone calls, text messages, picture/video, emails, chatroom, instant messaging, and websites – as the (2011) cover similar media with different grouping schemes ending with 9-item and 5-item scale respectively. It is important to note however, that aside from the studies listed above, a study by Tippet and Kwak (2012) shows that cyberbullying is found to be very common in online games in South Korea. However, at the risk of being pedantic, this can safely be subsumed under the rubric ‘chatrooms’ for that is principally how gamers could get harassed through the medium.

The Neuropsychology of Cyberbullying As many the difference between cyberbullying and traditional bullying, the psychological effect elicited is very much the same. Sizemore (2015) conducted a study that noted that both bullies and victims of traditional bullying are associated with physical, psychological and even social status harm. This draws semblance to a prior study (Ybarra & Mitchell 2004) where it was found that those engaged in online harassment are usually products of unstable parent-child relationship, substance abuse

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and delinquency – all of which leads to psychological issues. The effects can range from low self-esteem to suicidal ideation (Sizemore 2015) and in the worst cases, even suicide (Goldman 2010; Smith-Spark 2013). It cannot be overly emphasised that these problems are related to both perpetrators and victims of cyberbullying alike. Perhaps it is not so much that being a bully affects the perpetrators psychologically as it does to the victims, and rather that the psychological issues experienced beget the bullies. This adds up to the reason why such a dynamic role-play exists in the bullying relationship where a bully might become victim and vice versa, either within the same traditional context (Connell et al. 2014; Schneider et al. 2012) or with the trans-context into the cyber world (Hemphill et al. 2012; Kowalski et al. 2014) since the experience of being bullied is in and of itself traumatic. This goes in very well with the research that links cyberbullying victimisation to a number of problematic behaviours such as violence, externalisation, deviance, delinquencies and substance abuse. However, it is arguable that victims of cyberbullying are more prone to become cyberbullies themselves rather than that of traditional bullying due to the anonymity factor of the Internet. Cyberbullying can be potentially more dangerous and harmful than its traditional counterparts especially but not exhaustively because of its expansive reach and its availability. The advent of social media with its distinctive features of real-time updating, wide spread dissemination of information, gathering point of people, ability to reach wide audience incidences (Gonzales 2014). It does not help that adolescents, as the researches show, spend more time on the Internet rather than in school (Lenhart 2015). The McLean Study of Adult Development (MSAD) has concluded that the human brain does not attain maturity until later in life at the age around 25 years old, a period in which the decisionmaking process would gradually shift from the amygdala region to the frontal lobe (Zanari et al. 2005). The frontal lobe is part of the cognitive organ responsible for mature future planning which accounts for the consequences for every action taken. In contrast, the amygdala is part of the limbic system of the brain which is the power house for is emotional, to say the very least. Thus, the study suggests that when facing emotionally burdening events, adolescents are just not equipped to handle the situation in a mature manner. This coupled with the fact that cyber perpetrators often are out of touch with the effect of their bullying in terms of the distress and pain caused onto the victims leaves a very

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narrow aperture for empathy when compared to traditional bullying which is more physical and visceral in nature (Slonje, Smith & Frisen 2012). Corollary to this, a study shows that the effects of cyberbullying on adults are lesser (Rybnicek et al. 2013).

Linguistic Analysis and Policing Cyberbullying As it has become a major threat especially with regards to mental health, efforts have been taken to police the situation, and thus the likes of Facebook Watchdog (Rybnicek et al. 2013) have been introduced to detect and prevent grooming and bullying activities on social media. However linguistic analysis, even with the help of machine learning, proves to be hard. Raisi and Huang (2016) listed at least three problems with cyberbullying detection even in supervised condition. First is the and social structure of the individuals involved are required to discern the subtleties that lie there in every interaction. This comes naturally communication are prone to misinterpretation. Next, it is problematic in terms of understanding which party involved in the relationship is being the perpetrator and which is being the victim. Third and lastly is the rapidly changing nature of language especially among the younger population which will render static text indicators obsolete and outdated very soon. Thus, a dynamic methodology is required to be able to capture the gist of what is trending from time to time vis-à-vis cyberbullying. The extremely large body of conversation and interaction happening online makes it impossible for people to be vigilant of all that is produced (Van Hee 2015). While currently, social network platforms have been relying on reports from users to alert moderators who are in a potential of coming up with a more technical solution to the problem by developing a system of automatic detection (Dadvar et al. 2012). The current trajectory of research is aligning towards said direction. A survey study done by Van Royen et al (2014) discovered that most of their respondents favoured automatic monitoring given that effective followup strategies are included with autonomy and privacy being guaranteed.

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To date, there have only been a limited number of studies done on automatic detection. Reynolds et al. (2011), for instance, suggested supervised learning method to facilitate and/or be the principal means of detecting cyberbullying. But, similar to a study done by Dinakar et al. (2012), both focus on only the contents or texts themselves without regard to the contextual relevance of each. Hence Dadvar et al. (2012) in his study describes the user context as auxiliary criteria to determining cyberbullying and he proposes three key items to be included: contentbased feature, cyberbullying feature and user-based feature where users showed that when the three are taken into consideration, detection rate respectively. These two concepts are very important when measuring arguably more important for it measures the rate of subjects that properly by the formula: R=tp/(tp+fn) where tp is true positive and fn is false negative. In the context of this study, the apparently emotion-neutral comments can easily be detected as cyberbullying due to the consideration made on the user’s background, making the rate of false negative, fn, lower and concurrently improving the recall of the method used. The caveat, however, being that to boost the value of recall experimenter could easily label all subjects of study purpose and useless. Hence, the concept of precision is needed where method employed would not identify that which does not belong in the R=tp/(tp+fp) where fp is false positive. In the context of interest, a friendly tease would offer 100% rate in both precision and recall but most of the time there are some trade-off between the two which can be calculated in terms of F-measure: F=2PR/(P+R) Dadvar (2014) later came up with the suggestion of Hybrid Approach

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as he described it in 2012. A survey into the literature has shown that it (Figuera et al. 2005) as well as information retrieval information (Farah & Vaderpooten 2006). The Machine Learning Approaches used in the study are Naïve Bayes, Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Decision Tree. Naïve Bayes is a probabilistic program where a supervised learning method is employed to calculate the likelihood of an item belonging to certain demarcations depending on metrics provided from trained data which is principally similar to SVM except for the fact that the latter between data samples. In contrast, Decision Tree utilises a command and conquer approach which is structurally composed of leaves and arcs, subsumed under it the features studied from studied data; composed of leaves and arcs (Haidar et al. 2017). It is shown that Machine Learning

counter-intuitive result is hypothesised to be the result of the insensitivity of machine learning to skewed data employed in the study where it was manually set to be at the rate of 10% bullying and 90% non-bullying material. Seeing that the technique in use only discriminates between bullying and non-bullying such that both groups are treated as if it they are homogenous entities, an attempt by (Van Hee 2015) has been made to recognise annotation. Here, the distinction made is essentially non-binary. With said implementation, insights are gathered into the various types of cyberbullying and the degree to which they are alarming as well as to discern few other measures such as author role. These data, when incorporated into the auto-detection program, may help in the process. are later sub-categorised into two: bystander-defender and bystanderet al. (2006) and Willard (2005) which classify the roles as Targets of entitlement bullies, Retaliators (individuals who have been bullied by others and are using the Internet to strike back), Victims of retaliators (Individuals who have been bullying others, and they are now being

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cyberbullied), Bystanders (who are part of the problem) and Bystanders (who are part of the solution). The difference being that the bystanders (who are part of the problem) when contrasted to bystander-assistant do not actively take part in the action of the harasser but rather remain indifferent to it. Xu (2012), when analysing cyberbullying on Twitter, also came up with similar groupings with some additions. In the aforementioned groupings, roles are differentiated into bully, victim, assistant, defender, bystander, reinforce, reporter and accuser. In the same volume Van Hee also came up with extensive text categories which are analysed at a substantive level: 1. Threat/ psychological threats, or indication of such threats. 2. language intended to insult the addressee. 3. form of misfortune to befall the addressee or that of their exclusion from certain social group either real, virtual, and/or imaginary. 4. 5. sexual conduct or sexual crime. 6. victim either from the victims themselves or bystanders. 7. This largely appropriates what has been supplemented by Langos and Sarre (2015) with some additional categories which are worth mentioning: cyberstalking (extreme harassment which leads to threats against the victims and makes them fear for their safety); happy slapping (recording of abuse done to the victims which is subsequently distributed publicly with intention of defamation); outing and prickery (in which the harasser manipulates victim into exposing certain personal information which is then made public to humiliate the victim); impersonation and masquerading (harasser pretends to be the victim where messages are sent to certain individuals/institutions on various purposes as if coming from the victim) and indirect threat (implication of physical harm done indirectly on the Internet). Of all the previous categories, insult has been found as the most frequent type of cyberbullying activity with defense statements following right next and curse/exclusion after that. The least represented category with a ratio of 1:2.034 is encouragements. Although encouragement

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should be seen as the easiest form of participation in bullying, it is not empirically the case with respect to cyberbullying in this study (Van as repeated numerous time previously, that the different fundamental nature of traditional bullying and cyberbullying in which participants of the latter can afford more protection from anonymity of the platform, might incentivise people who would traditionally be bystander-assistant or reinforce them to be the principal harasser themselves. It is also worth mentioning that the nature of this study where the cyberbullying event is taken to be a direct expression in written words instead of other forms of encouragement that can be manifested in social media platforms such as ‘like,’ ‘love,’ ‘share,’ ‘retweet’ etc has led to the concluded results. Intuitively speaking, if one were to invest such time and interest to contribute in the comment sections or posting anything on one’s wall, one ought to exhibit some sort of authority and originality in the cyberbullying event instead of latching onto others’ contributions. This explanation can be corroborated from the data yielded in the study itself where the total number of harassers sums up to 3266 posts while that of the victims stops at 1800 – there are a lot more harassers for each victim than victims for each harasser.

Cyberbullying, Gender, the Challenged and the Gifted Humphrey and Symes (2010) has stated that students with exceptionalities are bullied at all grade levels, as well as in and away from school; they are bullied directly by physical means and vulgar language, which is reportedly more prevalent among males, or indirectly/relational through, apart from everything else, rumour spreading, which has been found to be associated more with females. Children who are cognitively, communicatively, emotionally and physically challenged are undoubtedly the ones in higher risks to get victimised and abused from their nondisabled peers. Clearly the literature suggests that children with SpeechLanguage Impairment (SLI) are vulnerable to victimisation for their et al. 2015). It goes without saying that this group of individuals would endure much more bullying and cyberbullying to the extent of more than a half times the rate of their physically unchallenged peers.

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being a bully, academically gifted students as well as general education students, all in all were less likely than students with mild disabilities to be viewed as bullies by their peers. Upon further survey, teachers were of the opinion that academically gifted students were more likely to be bullied or become bullies themselves compared to both general education students and students with mild disabilities. The inference that could be made here is that the perception of a bully is almost always associated with aggressiveness and inversely associated with popularity among peers. Bullied people are most likely to be socially isolated. This is key in understanding the dynamics of the described phenomenon. It could well be explained that the reason being that social isolation is subjective to the general mood of the society, or in the interest of this writing, the micro-society of a class room or the extended school compound, whereas while gifted students are less likely to be bullied where the normative attitudes towards knowledge is positive, the chances are that they are introduced in their academic milieu. This could be a prospect for future studies. In a research done to study the effect of gender and cyberbullying (Adam 2010) it was found that more adolescent girls were reported to have experienced cyberbullying than boys, 25.8% versus 16% respectively. Most often, they involve themselves in relational bullying while males are more likely to engage in a more aggressive mode of hurtful expressions and distributing humiliating contents personal to the victims. Studies from 2007 to 2010 show that females are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying while boys are more prevalent than girls in their involvement as bullies and victims (Boulton, Lloyd, Down & Marx 2012). This resembles what the literature has been uncovering in regard to the nature of bullying. This can be partially explained through another research which has found that 71% of teen girls have posted sexual content to a boyfriend. The social danger of sexting is eminent. Promulgation of such content is very often used in cases of female bullying. Sexting involves a spectrum of negative issues from teen dating violence to blackmail, peer pressure, cyberbullying. In several instances, sexting has even resulted in suicide. Regrettably, bullying is seen as a way for gaining social status for some (Bauman, as cited in Holloday 2011). This social status is gained primarily through downplaying of other’s worth and is done through

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different strategies by different gender. Targeting each other with labels that carry a particularly vulgar denotation and connotation is the main modus operandi for the girls while physical threats and aggression are Females are also more likely to be implicated in bullying experiences involving psychological torment (Stephenson & Smith 1989). As such, cyberbullying is a greater risk for females. It still remains, however, that no predominate gender differences in the research on victimisation could be uncovered (Tokunaga 2010).

When Cyberbullying Gets Political discussed. Properly understood as a collective online aggression directed towards actors of public interest (Rost et al. 2016) due to perceived injustices done on the actor’s part, it is a form of norm enforcement online by which large amounts of criticism, either civil or not, is disseminated by millions of people within hours. These actors may be individuals or even legal bodies such as institutions, organisations or even the the case (Opp 2002) is a social construct intentionally put in place to secure good supply and distribution of social good and hence promote public interests. Under the purview of social norm theory, enforcement is done through simple social sanctions executed in order to trigger the disapproval with the aim of securing public goods (Rost et al. 2016). The norm must necessarily be enforced to maintain its sustainability. As noted by Olson’s Zero Contribution theory (1965): ...that if all rational and self-interested individuals in a large group would gain as a group if they acted to achieve their common interest or objective, they will still not voluntarily act to achieve that common or group interest.

of public good is achieved. Therefore, it is in and of itself a kind of public good, for all that achieves public good is a form of public good as well, and might well be abused by free riders as noted previously in a phenomenon aptly described as second-order public good dilemma by Oliver (1980) and Ostrom (1990). The rationale for this behavior is two-pronged:

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1. That the public view of good does not automatically mean that social all, social norms exclude certain groups/individuals or only cater to one subgroup’s interest alone (e.g. the less fortunate). being in the action group. This can ultimately be disastrous to the cause for if the critical mass needed for an Internet Firestorm or any second-order public good to achieve its purpose is not met due to immobilised free riders, the whole endeavor will be naught and null. However, the phenomenon under discussion, as obviously manifested, disagrees with the dilemma. Diekmann (1992) and Rauhut (2008) has shown that the dilemma is solved if the enforcement is cheap, gives disproportionate motivation to get involved, and if a number of central actors are presently driven with intrinsic intangible motives. In online settings, Internet Firestorms occur at relatively low-cost situations. What underlies the low-cost hypothesis is that rational individuals are more likely to participate even without participation constraint if the condition where individuals would only participate willingly, if they become better off by participating rather than maintaining status quo due to the assumed restrictive property of yielded public good at the end of the cause (Oda 2007), and thus behave according to their attitudes and preferences (Best 2012). Similarities can be drawn from the voting individual votes but vote nonetheless as they have very little to nothing being part of the Internet Firestorm is entirely subjective to the nature of the agenda and personality of the individuals as well as the characteristics of the action group. Generally however, social media contributes to this includes feelings of satisfaction which are altruistic in nature (Ginges & Atran 2009). The Arab Spring or Arab Firestorm which started from the Twittersphere has led to massive rallies all over the region, bringing about geopolitical instabilities which in due course resulted in a disruption of the previous political order, is an extremely powerful example. It is clear that Internet Firestorms are not cyberbullying though overlaps might exist. They differ in the way that one must always be political or deemed to be in politically correct junctions while the other

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is relation of matters of personal issue. As such Internet Firestorms are always done in public spaces and not in the private sphere of the virtual world where the latter usually dwells in. However, it is not dismissible that both ventures are geared by means of revenge, or in a larger political spectrum, to bring about justice; what differs is only in the nature of such justice whether it is of personal or rather social and collective nature. The motives for cyberbullying perpetration include reasons such as, among other things, revenge. Likewise, another research done on 10 to 18 year olds has highlighted the same motives, with emphasis on revenge, boredom and curiosity (Vandebosch & Van Cleemput 2008). Youngsters who admitted to cyberbullying most often were found by Patchin and Hinduja (2008) to give reasons for bullying under the theme ‘revenge,’

Conclusion Bullying is essentially the power relation between the strong and the weak. As long as both ends exist, bullying will persist and manifest in varying gradations throughout the power spectrum. It is the appropriation of technology for abusive purposes and thus is continually varying itself in terms of its operational nature as technology changes. It must therefore be understood, discussed, and tackled through new paradigms and approaches. Cyberbullying might be the latest installment in this speculation. Researches should probe into the inquiry and foresee the direction of its trajectory. Such an endeavor in future studies of bullying would aptly equip the stakeholders to tackle the issue when it appears and/or to prevent its occurrences altogether. It is a given that phenomena do not emerge out of nothing but they emerge as logical consequences of material conditions and sociological changes. The previous section has offered a discussion in regard to the key and discerning it in its latest mode. However, as duly noted, the fundamentals remain the same and as such elicits the same psychological impact. Studies have concluded that both the perpetrators and the victims suffered more or less equally. It is tentatively suggested in this chapter nevertheless that the orientation by which psychological issues relate to the fact of being a perpetrator of cyberbullying is not the same to, and

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might as well be the reverse of, the relationship between being a victim of bullying and psychological disturbances. Further research to look into the validity of this hypothesis should be encouraged and properly supported. Bullying as a research interest has virtually non-exhaustive areas to be invested in. It is an important subject of study due to its everchanging nature, pervasiveness, and universality. Its adversity is undoubted for it pertains mostly to the junior citizens of any particular society and its impact is maximal onto this subject group as well. Thus, serious consideration must be taken to cater to the need of keeping it at manageable levels.

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Chapter 2

The Power to Destruct: Online Fat Shaming Bullying in Social Media Bahiyah Abdul Hamid

Introduction “You have such a pretty face. It’s such a pity you’re so fat. No man will ever marry you.” My Mother to me circa age 12.” (Elise Hines@geekspertise in Chastain 2017:1). “When walking into a store, immediately accosted by sales person, ‘We don’t carry plus sizes here.’ Literally no one asked for this.” feature.@adviceChicken in Bahadur 2013:3). “#TheySaid “You should stop eating”, “Being slim is the best body type” “No one likes fat girls” “My mom and my grandma say this a lot.” (Queenwinters@ Queenwinters in Chastain 2017:1).

We are all familiar with the above scenarios. They are tangible and need no explanations. We may have encountered one or more of the scenarios ourselves or have heard of friends and family members who have gone through these experiences themselves. The scenarios above are familiar to us regardless of our culture, religion, age, social status, ethnicity, gender and geography. Fat shaming in these kinds of scenarios often come unsolicited. Some may even come under the guise of advice in order to convince their targets to lose weight not just for health reasons, but also for success in looking for a lifelong partner, for success in gaining employment and for social mobility and is regarded as the ideal beauty or the ideal standard of attractiveness in a society, not least, what is the best body size, shape and attribute of the body. More sinister is the fact that body shaming is based not solely on

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judgments about the body and the attributes of the body but more so on the judgement of character. More often than not, we have become numb to these kinds of body shaming instances because of their prevalence and power; it is clear that body shaming has become part and parcel of our lives and of our culture. We are now living in a heavily connected society, in the age of social media where for many of us, what we do in private are gladly swapped for public consumption. Many of us share ourselves completely with the gossip and advertising. Where fat shaming before the advent of computers and networks were the province of face-to-face interactions, it is now very prevalent and prominent in cyberspace.

Forms and Functions of Body Shaming Body shaming is the term used to describe the inappropriate negative language/insults in statements and attitudes towards yourself or another person’s body or appearance in public discourses. Body shaming is prevalently related to insults on purely linguistic grounds. According to Samarin (1996), insults have structure: they have topic, form and context of use, these linguistic characteristics lend themselves to linguistic study. According to Samarin (1996), the topics typically involved in insults not only touch on a person’s physical characteristic, but also the moral aspect of the target. This compels the target at times to respond with an equal measure or to retort with more offensive loaded words. Samarin (1996: 325) further explains that the core of insults is a characterisation of “some part of the target’s body or his/her actions which may be preceded or followed by other utterances appropriate to the situation.” Insults may be direct or indirect. Direct insults may be spelled out and involve pejorative terms. More subtle insults may be achieved linguistically by the use of nominals, adjectives, descriptive adverbs and similes. Samarin states that the forms of insults may be relatively short, consisting of two or three sentences or more. He also illustrates that insults need not be just verbal in nature but can also be in the form of gestures that are socioindicate that the target in mad or crazy (Samarin 1996). Mann (2016: 2) like Samarin (1996) observes that insults “just don’t “mean” but also “do”, and have real-world impact. Insults, to Mann, are akin to speech acts, such

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as “instructing,” “complaining,” “complementing,” “requesting” and so on, they serve a function in communication. To him, insults violate the general desires for freedom of action and from imposition. Barber (2017: 1) states that “in a verbal society, such as in the human one, physical aggression is less often used to settle issues of status. These are mostly deferred to verbal interactions.” In his blog, Barber touches on what is happening in the world of social media, the world that we live in at present, where we are extremely concerned about how we are perceived by others, sometimes to the point of obsession. He points out to the prevalent problem of narcissism among youths in social media and what scholars believe is the main cause of this trend. According to Barber, scholars believe that the more children are measured on evaluative scales such as those in IQ scores, aptitude tests and CGPA, the more sensitive they are to being insecure when they face threats to their social rank. Barber (2017:1) states that: ...concern with how one is perceived creates social insecurity that may be relieved by lashing out. Social networks are replete with individuals who deliver stinging rebukes because they enjoy doing so, and because they are mostly exempt from the reprisals that one might expect for real-world put-downs.

Insults, especially online, can be interpreted as an attempt to reduce the social status of the target and raise the relative status of the insulter (Barber 2016).

Manifestations of Body Shaming How is body shaming manifested? According to Vargas (2016), body shaming can manifest in three ways: 1. Criticising your own body or appearance, through a judgement or a comparison to another person (for instance, I am so huge, compared to her.” “Oh my god, look at how I hunch, she doesn’t.”). 2. Criticising another person’s body or appearance in their presence, (for instance, “You’ll never look good in that pair of jeans with those thighs”, “Your big ears jut out from under your hair, you’ll never catch her attention.”). 3. Criticising another person’s body or appearance in their absence (for instance, “Shamsul’s hair was a disaster today! Thank god yours look better than his”, “What is with her feet? Her feet look like Donald Duck’s.”).

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Vargas (2016) reiterates that no matter how body shaming is manifested, what is harmful is that it leads to comparison and to shame. What is worse is that it perpetuates the idea that people should be judged mainly by their bodies, their physical features or their appearance. Why is body shaming so common when it leads to harsh consequences? According to Vargas (2016), body shaming is the default annoyed or intimidated by someone. This is particularly so during adolescence and in the young adult phase of life. According to Vargas (2016), “in some ways, it feels easier to shoot for something that will hurt, like targeting physical appearance, rather than expressing what is really going on emotionally.” Body shaming can be subtle. More often than not, those especially within the thin privilege group will not be quick to notice or object to body shaming (Bahadur 2013).

Fatphobia and Fat Shaming Because fatphobia is all around us, especially on the Internet and social Twitter and Facebook), we must understand its scope and depth and how it manifests online. Most of us have become explicitly aware that popular culture sends subliminal messages of beauty ideals which manifests in us unrealistic and generally unattainable standards of body size and body image. We are constantly barraged by messages that want us to question why we were born with the bodies we have, to hate our bodies or are challenged to change our bodies altogether. We are highly aware of how harmful these messages can be and many of us have very real experiences of negative relationships to our body as a result. We must be aware that the proliferation of ideal body image is situated along a spectrum of sizeism where people are judged negatively or positively, we can be harmed and marginalised simply by body ideals. Our bodies are constantly scrutinised, categorised and criticised (see the examples in the scenarios given at the beginning of this chapter). In this day and age, this system of sizeism values thinness. In many countries of the world, being thin is a status symbol. Most often, when something is associated with status, many of us strive hard to attain it. Being thin in this day and age can be seen to be a showcase of lifestyleshowing off that that person has access to healthy eating and exercise.

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This is very different from the association of status many decades ago when a privileged lifestyle meant simply being able to afford food and being able to consume foods not found in our immediate environment. Therefore, shaming, silencing and dehumanising, all different parts of bullying, are more often than not what many fat/overweight people While sizeism values thinness, the body ideals of this day and age also vilify those who are “too thin” in what is termed as thin/skinny shaming. Thin/skinny shaming may come in the guise of concern, such as “Are you sure you ate anything today. When did you last eat? Last week?” Here are some stereotypical notions on social media (especially on Twitter) about those who are fat/ overweight: “Fat people are not “really people,” they don’t deserve to be treated like people.” (Melissa McEwan blogger in Bahadur 2013:1) “Fat people have greater health risks so highlighting how fat someone is is (sic) a way to help them realise that their size is dangerous for them.” (D’Onfro 2013: 2) “Fat people are not disciplined enough to get a higher degree.” (Ioniemc@ Ioniemc in Bahadur 2013:3) “To gain so much weight, they must be lazy, greedy, unmotivated, and have poor self-discipline.” (D’Onfro 2013: 3) “Fat people are stupid, lazy, and dirty. We (fat women) are constantly told that we are animals (pigs, cows, heifers) while fat men are insulted as having “feminine bodies.” (D’Onfro 2013:3)

As can be seen from the above statements, being fat/overweight is not just an assessment of weight but rather a judgement of character. Often what is assumed is that, it is the person’s fault if they are fat/overweight. What is harmful and destructive is that plus size people are often stereotyped as being lazy, dirty, unmotivated, lack self- discipline and are deemed emotionally unstable. The following are some personal accounts of fat-shaming written by those who have experienced fat shaming personally: “I am constantly underestimated. My intelligence, my strength, my talents, my tenacity, my cleanliness, my humanity” (shakestweetz @shakestweetz in Bahadur 2013:2). “Being told your wife is attractive w/ the questioning voice tone clearly implying ‘how did YOU attract such a beauty’ ” (Phil Prehn@philphren in Bahadur 2013:2).

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“And on that note, I’ve heard ad nauseum: ‘If you’re a vegetarian, how can you be that size?’ ”(Quen Took @gentlemandyke in Bahadur 2013:2).

Fat shaming according to D’ Onfro (2013: 2) is “one of the last socially acceptable forms of discrimination.” It has devastating effects on children, youths, minority groups, and so on and are related to bullying not only in cyberspace, but also in popular culture, in academic institutions, health facilities, workplaces and homes.

The Vulnerable Groups Online Who are the vulnerable groups online? The Internet Users Survey 2017 conducted by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission reported that Malaysians are heavy users of social media. There were about 21.9 million social media users in 2016. Facebook was the preference for Malaysians as 97.3% of the social media users owned a Facebook account. The report indicated a healthy increase of accounts ownership as compared to previous years as follows: Ownership of Instagram – 56.1%, YouTube- 45.3%, Twitter 26.6%, LinkedIn 9.1% and Tumblr -4.8% (www. Who are the internet users? The survey further reported that 83.2% of Malaysian internet users were from the ages of 5 to 17 years of age. With regards to gender, the survey reported that men outnumbered women in the distribution of internet users with 57.4% as compared to women at 42.6%. A United Nations Broadband Commission report in 2105 highlighted that 73% of women and girls have been exposed or have experienced some form of online violence. According to this same report, women are 27 times more likely to be abused online compared to men while online harassers are more likely to be men, comprising 61% of them (, 2017). With such statistics, chances are that many Malaysians would have encountered some form of body shaming connected online communities. Children and youths have been reported to be the most vulnerable group in this regards because of their proclivity to social media, especially Facebook, to connect with others such as friends- to chat, to post a photo of the intended target, and then mem-fy the photo for the sake of a fat-shaming joke. This can then be spread around in Reddit, or any meme sites. According to D’ Onfro (2013: 2):

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There are generally two kinds of online cruelty: the throw-away kind where people might add a mean joke to a meme or Reddit comment thread and then move on to the next distraction, and then the kind where it’s clear that there’s a concentrated effort to effect someone’s life.

Adults can also be victims of fat shaming apart from youths, especially women. A report by FMT reporters (2017) indicate that online abuse is a frequent problem for Malay Muslim women who do not conform to societal expectations. Presentation of self is the main concern of cyberbullies and the issue of hijab, for instance, with the target donning the hijab or not being the main source of abuse online. The report states that “although the issue at hand may relate to religion or social norms, the abuse received by such victims is often targeted at seemingly irrelevant matters such as their physical appearance” (FMT Reporters 2017: 2). In the case of Malaysian Shida Amal, she was encouraged to kill herself by fat-shamers. It all started in 2015 when she started being harassed by a group of people on Twitter, calling her “fat” and “stupid.” According to Shida, a pattern soon emerged – each time the bullying will start with one person tweeting an insult and the others would chime in. She could not escape the tauntings and insults hurled at her as they tagged her in their tweets. She managed to block the hateful tweets but each time, someone else who was not blocked will attack her. The contemplated suicide. Arlina Arshad was tormented by cyberbullies that she too, like Shida became suicidal and contemplated suicide. In Arlina’s case, cyberbullies were not so keen to let her go easily, she was accused of attention seeking with some cyberbullies even posting hurtful sarcastic messages in the Malay language such as “ kalau tikam pun tak lepas lemak” (translated to: “Even if she were stabbed, it wouldn’t go past the fat”) ( FMT Reporters 2017: 3). Besides issues of religion and social norms, ones’ beliefs and views can act as the basis for tauntings and insults. Members of NGOs and activists often bear the brunt of taunts and insults. For instance, Twitter user Nalisa Alia Amin was condemned for her anti- patriarchal and proLGBT views but those who criticised her focused on her body instead, spreading screenshots zooming in on her thighs or posting photos of her next to pictures of animals in order to humiliate her (EMT Reporters 2017). Minority groups, people with non- mainstream sexual orientation and ideology may also be vulnerable to abuse online.

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declining, with low body esteem becoming a challenging issue that The report is an outcome of a study conducted by Edelman Intelligence for Dove that included a survey of 10,500 females across 13 countries. The countries involved in the study include South Africa, UK, Russia, Turkey, India, China, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (Brown 2016). The report found that only 46% of girls UK (39%t). Of the countries included in the report, the US (24%) and Canada (22%) fared worse than the rest of the countries surveyed. South Africa was reported to be the least body conscious country according to the report (Brown 2016).

The Detrimental and Destructive Effects of Body Shaming and Fat Shaming A New Straits Times online newspaper report in May 2017 by Pillay should open our eyes to one of the most destructive effects of body shaming and fat shaming online. Pillay’s report indicated that research in Malaysia shows that suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst youths between the ages of 15 and 29 in Malaysia. There is increasing evidence that social media could be a source for suicide-related behavior with cyberbullying being a critical instigator for such behavior. Shida Amal and Arlina Arshad’s cases as described in the previous section are typical illustrations of the power and control that can emanate from fat shaming. Fat shaming can be destructive; it can lead to death as in the case of Jessica Laney, 16, who was found hanged in her home in Hudson, Florida in 2012. It was found that Jessica suffered constant abuse from online bullies and was pushed to the point where she could no longer handle the abuse. Jessica’s death is one of the many suicide deaths reported around the world and literature indicates that deaths related to cyberbullying will rise in tandem with the rising numbers of those who have active social media accounts. Cases like Jessica’s should make us aware of the dangers of fat shaming and cyberbullying particularly. The Daily Mail news report by Robson and Warren (12 December 2012) indicated that Jessica suffered abuse after users on the social networking

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site hauled insults at her, calling her “fat,” a “slut” and tormented her over her looks and her love life. Comments by users such as, “Can you kill yourself already?” and “Nobody cares about you” further added fuel to Jessica’s abuse. was a website where netizens could ask anonymous questions to anyone they want. This was how Jessica was constantly put down and bullied. According to the newspaper report, the website, a Latvian-based site targets 13 to 18 year old youths and it was reported to have more than 20 million members. Jessica’s friends and family have rallied for the website to be shut down. In Malaysia, while such cases of cyberbullying leading to death may be many cases of unreported suicide mainly because of the shame and stigma brought about by deeply held socio-cultural and religious sensitivities related to suicide in our society. The cases above also point to the importance of communications and seeking help. Pillay’s (2017) newspaper report highlighted the lack of ability of Malaysian youths to communicate-face-to-face especially in seeking help in the case of depression and suicidal- tendencies as a result of young people spending too much time on the Internet and their smartphones that they are not comfortable communicating with another person in real life, face-to-faceeffectively with their family members especially their parents, teachers and peers about their problems, their stress and their everyday activities leading Malaysian child and adolescent psychologist and early childhood educator, “this is a poor substitute for real human contact and empathy. People at the end of their rope need to share their problems with someone face-to-face” (in Pillay 2017: 3). Continuing, Chiam iterated that: is dangerous for suicidal individuals to try to get help on the Internet. Some people don’t understand there is a real problem and might poke fun at them, not realising that they might be making the problem worse by reinforcing the person’s sense of worthlessness (in Pillay 2017: 3).

The health profession is not immune to fat shaming and this can lead to detrimental consequences. The weight centric model of health with its ‘thin is healthy’ motto leads to critical issues in health care especially amongst those who are overweight and obese. This model of health puts blame on the individual as it assumes that weight is within an individual’s control. What is destructive about this model is that it equates higher weight with poor health habits and believes that weight loss is the only

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way to improve health. Much research has shown that weight is not the only predictor of illness. Such aspects as genetics, diet, stress and poverty are other aspects that also play a role in predicting illness (Urbanski 2017). Chrisler, a Connecticut psychology professor aptly points out the backlash effect of the weight centric model. She says that: ...ironically, it appears that health care professionals’ attempts to shame their patients into losing weight to improve their health might actually result in weight gain and declines in health status due to inactivity or delay in seeking health care (Ruiz 2017).

Chrisler and McHugh (in Urbanski 2017) both iterate the pervasive, painful and harmful outcome of fat shaming. Chrisler points out to the fact that there is a growing number of health professionals who are guilty of “microaggressions” and “sizeism” when undertaking medical tasks especially towards their obese/plus size patients. She pointed out that studies show that patients’ psychological stress can be linked to how doctors interact with them, especially in a negative way. Chrisler states that: Implicit attitudes might be experienced by patients as microaggresions- for example, a health provider’s apparent reluctance to touch an obese/plus size patient, or a headshake, wince or ‘tsk’ while noting the patient’s weight in the chart. Microaggressions are stressful over time and can contribute to the felt experience of stigmatisation (Urbanski 2017:1).

In the same news report, psychologist McHugh, states that “stigmatization of obese individuals pose serious risks to their psychological health. Research demonstrates that weight stigma leads to psychological stress, which can lead to poor physical and psychological health outcomes for obese people.” In the end, many overweight people are less likely to trust the advice of their health care providers, they may even shy away from stay away from medical examinations altogether. Fat shaming in school and in workplaces can also be destructive to the target. Those who are proponents of fat shaming may argue that it is morally and ethically right to taunt, belittle and degrade someone into that point to the psychologically and physically harmful effects it has to those it targets. Body shaming not only affects self-respect and selfleading to issues of inadequacy over body and appearance manifesting

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in eating disorders. Besides this, targets of fat shaming become anxious, depressed, or housebound; they avoid social and sports activities and healthcare services.

Examples of Malaysian Fat Shaming Online: Forms & Functions Insults or invectives are linguistic entities, specifically, they are paralinguistic entities that are symbolic communication forms which are used to cause mental and emotional pain, embarrassment or disgrace (Agyekum 2004). With regards to politeness, insults are non-polite forms that can cause the breakdown of social cohesion. According to Leech (1983), insults are considered a violation of the principles of politeness in discourse. The act of insulting someone is one of the most serious face-threatening acts that can be performed. Brown and Levinson (1978) state that Face Threatening Act (FTAs) by the addresser infringes on the addressee’s need to maintain self-esteem and to be respected. Fat shaming usually comes in the guise of being concerned. Some people may have good intentions but they may not be aware that they are being tactless when fat shaming. may call overweight persons heifers, cows (especially if the victim is a woman or they many use any appropriate animal according to the cultural context- see Example 1 below), a waste of space and are urged to kill themselves (D’Onfro 2103). Below are some examples found in various social media sites in Malaysia with regards to fat and body shaming. The examples here are not exhaustive. For more examples and linguistic analysis of the forms and functions of fat shaming and body shaming, please refer to the chapter entitled: “Haters Will Hate, But How? The Language of Body Shaming Cyberbullies in Instagram.” Example 1 - C-Trimax Slimming product Advertisement video This video as a form of advertising has gone viral and has irked many Malaysians for its blatant instances of a boyfriend fat shaming his girlfriend and soon- to- be- wife. The audience this video is pitching to is obviously to its Malay customers. In this video shared on Facebook via (Pen Merah (dot) com), the girlfriend pesters her boyfriend to start the process of asking for her hand in marriage. But the boyfriend starts his delaying

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tactics by telling her that before he can marry her, he needs to “kira bajet” (calculate the budget), he needs to calculate his budget as it will be double the cost if she is this big in size. In the video, he is heard to be telling her that “belum kahwin, awak macam beruang bunting. Lepas kahwin, awak jadi gajah bunting (Before marriage you are like a pregnant bear. After marriage you will be a pregnant elephant.)” The boyfriend then tells her that she has to lose 45 kilos so that his budget can be maximised in order to support her as his wife. This angers the girlfriend who gives in to her boyfriend’s demands. She takes up the challenge. She is seen to resort to C-Trimax, a slimming product to lose weight. The video concludes with the girlfriend losing weight in a matter of a month and how after losing weight, the boyfriend agrees to marry her right away. This example contains language use familiar to us. The plus size girlfriend is compared to a pregnant bear and a pregnant elephant via the use of simile and animal metaphors. In the Malay language, the lexical item “bunting” (pregnant) is an archaic colloquial word and it is now deemed impolite to use this word especially when it is used to describe a woman’s condition. Here, the choice of animal metaphors, beruang/bear and gajah/elephant used are be humiliating to the target as the animal’s traits/characteristics are taken as being synonymous to the target. This video is a good example of the dangers of fatphobia, sizeism and fat shaming. It blatantly privileges thinness. It hinges on simple untruths that can be detrimental not only to girls and women but also to boys and men. Firstly, its main message is simple: No man ever wants to marry an overweight girl. This is very familiar to girls and women but is it the absolute truth for boys and men? This video plays up to stereotypes and paints a very bleak picture of Malay boys and men, in choosing a lifelong marriage partner, Malay men are only attracted to a woman’s physical appearance and body size and not to the real substance of a woman. Secondly, girls who want to get married must be slim. This video shows that the onus lies in girls to be beautiful. They must constantly work hard to be considered beautiful. This video is also dangerous for health reasons as it shows the girlfriend losing weight in a matter of a month which is not order to lose weight which may not be a product that is health regulated and safe. Lastly, and more insidiously, the video shows us that the blame is always on women. In this video, initially there was no marriage proposal because there is not enough budget for living expenses after marriage as the girlfriend’s body size demands that the food budget goes to feeding

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her twice as much as her boyfriend. Therefore, it not just the girlfriend’s body size that is the problem, the source of the problem is actually the girlfriend because she did not take good care of herself and that she let her Example 2 Nur Fazura, a Malaysian actress was reported to be disappointed at remarks made when her representative, a fan of hers, went up on stage to receive a trophy on Fazura’s behalf after she won the 2018 Telenovela Awards. The emcee, actress Faezah Elan, was reported to have said in the Malay language something in line with the following translation; “ Actress Fazura when presenting the trophy, a remark seen as directed at the fan’s body shape and body weight. In Malaysia and in many countries of the world, women are fat shamed before and after pregnancy. Body shamers do not understand that gaining weight is needed for a healthy pregnancy and that the extra pounds will come off after delivery. In Malaysia, women when they are married and have had children, are often taunted and ridiculed point to the physical changes of women before and after child bearing as natural processes dictated by hormones and genetics. Example 3 Fashion style critic, Zaihani Mohd. Zain, vented on her personal Twitter account that people who weigh over 60 kg should not attend fashion shows because they disturb the people sitting next to them because of their body size. Her Twitter message in Malay went viral – “Kalau berat badan melebihi 60 kg, tak payah lah datang. Sebabnya peha awak tu melimpah kat kerusi sebelah kiri dan kanan awak. It’s so awkward and uncomfortable for persons seated next to you”(translation: If you weigh more than 60 kg, please don’t attend fashion events, as your thighs would spread on the chair on your left and on your right... It’s so awkward and uncomfortable for the person seated next to you.). The use of the Malay phrase peha melimpah evokes visualisation of an overweight person’s thighs that seem to spread or ooze over the chair, taking much room and causing people sitting beside that person to be most uncomfortable as the thighs would touch those sitting on both sides of that person. Zaihani is no stranger to controversy for her public display of fatphobia and sizeism. In 2016, in an interview published in Malaysia Tatler, she said, “If you love fashion and enjoy dressing up,

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doesn’t matter but who are we kidding? It does. Why do you think the big fashion houses do not cater to plus sized women?”

Dealing with Fat Shaming Cyberbullies How do we deal with cyberbullies? Tracy (2007 in Holmberg 2008: online, Tracy’s suggestions can be freely used to guide us towards effectively dealing with bullies. Firstly, Tracy (2007 in Holmberg 2008: the target using harsh words in retaliation will only worsen the situation and trying to justify oneself only encourages the bully to keep going because the strategy to get the target out of balance is working. Secondly, Tracy suggests: use the silent treatment. Here, he states that the target, by being silent, will reveal that the bully has nothing to attack and the silence will eventually make the bully feel uncomfortable which often results in the bully being more reasonable. Ignoring the bully’s post and statement is a similar strategy that we could use. Tracy strongly agrees that ignoring a personal attack for example, can lead the bully to refocus on the real discussion. Finally, Tracy advocates for the target to call a spade, a spade. According to Tracy, the target should identify the bully’s behavior, “get their attention by confronting them and then explaining to them that their behavior will get them nowhere can often lead to change in the bully’s behavior” (Tracy 2007, in Holmberg 2008: 10).

Conclusion A healthy body does not mean a thin body. Most of us suffer a genetic predisposition that leads to the variety of body shapes and form that human beings come in. We must encourage people to strive to be healthier versions of themselves instead of caving in to the pressure to conform to what society believes should be the ideal body type and size. “The opposition to our ability to love our bodies, no matter what size, shape or form they come in” (Goerke 2013). Body positivity is the way to go and we must inculcate in our children, youths and adults this positive

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belief to respect their God-given bodies and appearances which should include all, not just some. The issues related to sizeism and fatphobia must be addressed in psychology and the medical profession, not just in theory but in training and in research. “Treatments should focus on mental and physical health as the desired outcomes for therapy, and not on weight.” (McHugh, in Hamilton 2017). According to Chastain (2017:3): Fatphobia is insidious, the idea that body size has anything to do with talent, or intelligence, or skills boils down to nothing more than stereotypes and stigma. It keeps overweight people from being able to participate fully in society.

With regards to fatphobia and sizeism in the form of fat shaming in social media, strict adherence to codes of decency and instituting mechanisms and excluded have not been full proof to curb this scourge. In the end, it is not the tool that needs tending to but the attitudes and changes in mindsets that need our outmost attention. How do we dismantle sizeism and end fatphobia? How do we respect the experiences of fat people, their stories and their knowledge? We must stand in solidarity with activists, parents, teachers and politicians who have these on their agenda. But most of all, we must be more tolerant of all kinds of body size and shapes especially in this age of embracing diversity and be more tactful and polite in communicating with each other.

References Agyekum, K. 2004. Invective language in contemporary Ghanaian politics. Journal of Language and Politics. 3:2, 345-373. Bahadur, N. 16 December 2013. 14 painful examples of everyday fat-shaming. [accessed 1 August 2018]. Barber, N. November 21 2016. “The psychology of insults.” http://www. psychology blog//the-human-beast/2010/the-psychologyinsults [accessed 1 August 2018]. Brown, P. and Levinson, C.S. 1978. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. worldwide, dove global study indicates. worldwide-dove-global-study-indicates/new [accesses 1 August 2018].

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Chastain, R. 2018. #Theysaid Highlights Our Culture of Body Shaming. https:// [accessed 20 July 2018]. D’onfro, J. 2013. Inside the Horrifying World of Online Fat-Shaming. FMT Reporters. 2017. “Report: Malay Muslim women abused online for challenging norms.” nation/2017/08/21/ report-Malay- Muslim women- abused- online- forchallenging- norms/ [accessesed 25 June 2018]. Goerke, C. 2018. “Thinking through thinness: Understanding fatphobia as oppression.” | the F Word. [accessed 15 July 2018]. physically harmful.” fat-shaming.aspx [accesses 20 July 2018]. Leech, G. 1983. Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman Group Ltd. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. 2017. Internet Users Survey 2017. http://www. [accessed 15 June 2018]. Pillay, S. 2017. “Suicide on the rise among Malaysian youth.” https://www.nst. [accessed 20 July 2018]. Robson, S. & Warren, L. 2012. ‘Can you kill yourself already?’ The vile online messages from Internet trolls ‘that led girl, 16, to hang herself.” http:// /news/article-2246896/Jessica-Laney-16-commitedsuicide-internet-trolls-taunted-told-to-kill-herself.html [accessed 20 July 2018]. — and harms its victims.” [accessed 13 July 2018]. Samarin, W. T. 1969. The art of Genya insults. International Journal of American Linguistics vol. 35. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press : 323-329. Tracy, M. 2007. “How to deal with problem people.” Lecture Notes. Osaka Kansai Gaidai University, Japan in Holmberg, A. 2008. The power of insults: A study of condescending linguistic strategies in four online discussion forums. (Unpublished paper for Bachelor’s course EN3103, School of Humanities, English Linguistics, Vaxjo Universitet.) Accessed: diva-portal. org [13 July 2018]. Urbanski, D. 2017. “Psych prof rips ‘fat shaming’ doctors and their ‘microaggressions,’ ‘sizeism’ toward obese patients. https://www.theblaze. com/news/2017/08/07/psych-prof-rips-fat-shaming-doctors-and-theirmicroaggressions-sizeism-toward-obese-patients [accessed 16 June 2018].

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Chapter 3

It Hurts When We Surf: Malaysian Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions and Experiences on Cyberbullying Ang Leng Hong & He Mengyu

Introduction In line with a prevailing social emphasis on digital technologies, the use of social networking sites, internet and smart phones is increasing. Despite the key importance of these technologies as a tool of social communication, they are used as a medium by people with an intent to harass each other. This negative phenomenon is known as cyberbullying. the use of digital technologies to harass, bully or intimidate an individual or groups of people (Bryce & Fraser 2013). Cyberbullying has received extensive scholarly attention over the past decades due to its serious impacts on the physical and mental health of the public. Scholars have assessed the knowledge of cyberbullying from the view of public health (Kiriakidis & Kavoura 2010; Aboujaoude et al. 2015) and focused on the relationship between cyberbullying and social medium from the Winiewski 2013). Others have also examined the action of cyberbullying Pearson & Kelley 2014). However, research on cyberbullying in Malaysia is still rare. Literature indicates that there is few published work on cyberbullying in the Asian countries (Huang & Chou 2010; Park, Na & Kim 2014). As far as the researchers are concerned, two studies have been conducted in Malaysia. Faryadi (2011) investigates emotions of cyberbullying victims among university students and Balakrishnan (2015) explores young adults’ experience on cyberbullying in Malaysia.

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On Cyberbullying Cyberbullying is the behaviour performed by college students that conveys hostile messages through electronic venues to harm other students (Tokunaga 2010). Unlike the general aggressive behaviour of traditional bullying, cyberbullying is a new mode of bullying. Through the new means of electronic technologies, cyberbullying has the trait of anonymity, which is the inability to see perpetrator or victim (Dehue, Bolman & Völlink 2008). The use of the Internet, mobile phones and social media sites has led cyberbullying to become widespread across the globe. According to the World Health Organisation (2002), cyberbullying is perceived as a prevailing issue for a high 20% of the students. As Hanewald (2008) pointed out that cyberbullying does not only happen in school but also outside school hours. This phenomenon has received intense attention especially in recent years after reports of several suicides related to cyberbullying (Aboujaoude et al. 2015). Cyberbullying is mostly bullying through the Internet (Vandebosch & Van Cleemput 2008). There is a variety of ways of cyberbullying (Reynolds 2012, summarised 1. Cellular or digital imaging messages considered derogatory, harmful or mean to another student. 2. Discussion board messages considered harmful or mean-spirited to another student. 3. E-mails, instant messages, pictures, photographs or ‘sexting’ of videos considered homophobic, racist or sexual if not humiliating and offensive to another student or students. sites considered offensive to another student or students. 5. Impersonating or messaging on gossip, personal polling or virtual reality sites or systems and “outing” or targeting other students if not stalking and threatening them. Although researchers have conducted a wide range of studies on cyberbullying, including its forms, the emotional status of victims, etc., works on cyberbullying appear to be limited in the United States and Europe. In the United States, Ybarra and Mitchell (2004) studied are cyber victims in their investigated samples aged 13 to 18 years. This

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is a worrying phenomenon. Also, there is research analysing factors related to cyberbullying victimisation. For example, Hinduja and to victimisation. In the Europe, Oliver and Candappa (2003) focused et al. (2008) did a survey on cyberbullying using mobile phones and call and text message are the most prevalent forms of cyberbullying. examined reasons for cyberbullying among college students and possible interventions to reduce cyberbullying. Likewise, Whittaker and Kowalski (2015) investigated cyberbullying among college students and they discovered that texting and social media are the most common between being a victim and being a cyberbully among Portuguese and were once victims showed a tendency to become cyberbullies whereas the Portuguese students were seen putting in effort to break the cycle between being a victim and being a cyberbully. countries are generalisable across other culture samples. Malaysia is a developing country with diverse cultural settings. The diverse races contribute to cultural values of different levels. At present, cyberbullying is seen growing epidemically in Malaysia (Balakrishnan 2015). The phenomenon of cyberbullying is still under-researched in the Malaysian context. The next section of this chapter is therefore undertaken to examine the Malaysian undergraduate students’ perceptions and experiences on cyberbullying in order to ascertain the severity of such online abuse in the Malaysian context.

Data Collection and Analysis In order to learn more about how the undergraduate students view cyberbullying, the study adopted interview of the undergraduate students at a Malaysian public university as the data collection strategy. The

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1. Do you know what cyberbullying is? 2. Have you had any experiences being cyberbullied before? 3. How do you see the trend of cyberbullying in the Malaysian context?

Understanding of Cyberbullying Terminology Do you know what cyberbullying is? Table 3.1 Responses of participants according to gender distribution Percentage Female Clear understanding of cyberbullying Vague understanding of cyberbullying


Male Clear understanding of cyberbullying Vague understanding of cyberbullying

13 21



From the analysis, most participants (57%) showed a vague understanding of what constitutes cyberbullying, with most of them the Internet; an act of using social media to hurt someone; a way to harass people by sending awful messages and so on. In terms of gender showed a better understanding of the term cyberbullying. In analysing male participants’ responses, only 38% of male participants managed to provide clearer views on cyberbullying. This can be explained by females is in line with Smith et al.’s study (2008), which reported that girls are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. The following present some responses of the participants who showed a clearer understanding of what constitutes cyberbullying.

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Example 1 A form of harassment using social media such as Instagram or Twitter such as writing negative comments, sharing negative photos or videos of someone over the Internet. Abuse that takes place over cyber through electronic computer, cell phone or tables, through posting negative comments, rumours, or gossips to embarrass others deliberately. An act of discriminating someone based on who the person is, how the person acts, talks, or dress through any social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. An act of threatening, harassing or shaming others through social media that can affect other peoples’ physical and mental health due to unnecessary, mean and embarrassing comments pointed towards them directly. Bullying that takes place using digital devices like cell phones, computers and tablets through the use of SMS, text and apps on social media or forum by sending, posting or sharing negative or private contents or information about someone. Bullying state where people use digital devices like smartphones or computers to embarrass or threaten people through writing negative comments on Facebook and Twitter as well as sharing negative videos or photos of someone over the Internet. Through the interviews, it shows that act of abuse over cyberspace through the use of digital devices such as smartphones or computers to embarrass or threaten others by sending, posting or sharing negative or private contents including textual comments, photos or videos that could affect the physical and mental health of the that some students are aware of what constitutes cyberbullying and some of them could even demonstrate more a comprehensive understanding of Fraser (2013), clearly it shows that students do not only know about the tools (digital devices) that are used to bully other people online, they also demonstrate an understanding of the venue (social media) people use to intimidate the victims as well as the contents (comments, photos, videos) that could affect the victims’ physical and mental health. The results of

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analysis indicate the prevalent use of social media as the common venue for harassing, embarrassing or intimidating others. Nevertheless, there are more than half (57%) of the participants who only provided simple explanations of cyberbullying terminology such as bullying on the Internet; use of electronic devices to bully a person; virtual version of bullying; bullying that involves the devices such as telephones and computers and bullying that happens through social media. This result indicates that some Malaysian undergraduates might not realise that they were cyberbullied before as they were not aware of the different ways that some participants did not realise they were being cyberbullied until they had completed the interview.

Experiences of Being Cyberbullied Have you had any experiences being cyberbullied before? Table 3.2 Responses of participants according to gender distribution Percentage Female Yes No

23 43

Male Yes No

20 14



The analysis shows that most participants (57%) thought that they had not encountered any cyberbullying attacks in the past, while the rest claimed that they were only victims of cyberbullying once. In terms of gender distribution, it is interesting to learn that most female or threatened online whereas more than half of the male participants

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shows contrast to the one reported by Mesch (2009) in which most of his to the inconsistencies in the target participants. The sample in Mesch’s research (2009) is youth population in the United States, whereas the in Balakrishnan’s research (2015), which claimed that females (53.8%) Malaysia. The following present some examples of cyberbullying acts encountered by some participants. Example 2 I am an Indian Muslim, when I was little, I used to receive racist messages on my Facebook. It happened to me back in my high school where kids are pretty much love to pick on others. They would text me some harsh words such they help me to overcome that trauma. People used to call me short, ‘ketot’ ‘terbantut’ when they were commenting on my pictures on my Facebook. It made me feel bad with my appearance. From the examples given, it seems apparent that cyberbullying can happen by upon attacking the personal appearances of the victims. This indicates that students who are disadvantaged physically are study indicate that most of the participants never had any experiences of getting cyberbullied in the past, it still warrants our concern as it is possible that those participants who feel that they are not cyberbullied before actually do not realise the various ways cyberbullying can occur prior to the interviews. With regard to learning more about the students’ experiences in encountering cyberbullying, future research is needed to shed more light on this by interpreting the various ways cyberbullying could happen to the participants before carrying out the survey, as suggested by Whittaker and Kowalski (2015).

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Trend of Cyberbullying in the Malaysian Context How do you see the trend of cyberbullying in the Malaysian context? Table 3.3 Responses of participants according to gender distribution Percentage Female Serious Under control

35 31

Male Serious Under control

23 11



The results indicate that more than half of the participants (58%) felt that cyberbullying is a serious issue in Malaysia while the rest (42%) did majority of the participants (70%) felt that cyberbullying is a serious issue in colleges in the United States. Besides, of all the female participants, 53% believed that the phenomenon of cyberbullying is getting serious. becoming more rampant nowadays. The analysis results also show that more females (47%) than males (33%) believed that the phenomenon of cyberbullying is under control in Malaysia. Example 3 presents some of the views about the uprising trend of cyberbullying in Malaysia while Example 4 shows some opposing views about the trend. Example 3 Cyberbullying in the Malaysian context is serious these days and I think it’s increased over the time as people increasingly use social media nowadays. Cyberbullying in Malaysia seems to have no end as kids tend to do it by violent games.

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I think cyberbullying being an isolated case is far from true because the issue of cyberbullying is much worst now. I think it’s getting serious because some people can easily say nasty things over social media than saying it face to face and apparently getting more entertained by their actions. Example 4 I think this case is still under control. However, caution and prevention is needed to make sure this case is not getting serious. I don’t think that cyberbullying is a big issues in our country, I think it’s still under control. I think cyberbullying in Malaysia is isolated case. In the context of our country, I won’t say it’s very serious. From the analysis, it is indicative that the participants held two different views with regard to the trend of cyberbullying in the Malaysian context. However, there is a consensus among the participants when it comes to suggesting the needs of precautions in order to prevent the situation from getting more deteriorated.

Conclusion This study is exploratory in nature and it aims to learn about the Malaysian undergraduates’ perceptions and experiences on cyberbullying. In identifying how university students view cyberbullying, semi-structured interviews were carried out individually on 70 participants and it is seen useful in providing data that contributes towards the understanding cyberbullying. Participants have generally indicated that cyberbullying is a problem that affects students in the local context. It is worth noting that more than half of the participants were not aware of the various ways cyberbullying could happen in the cyber world as they were not the interviews. The university needs to be more pro-active in educating the campus community to prevent more students from becoming victims of cyberbullying. With regard to the participants’ experiences

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in cyberbullying encounter, more than half of them felt that they had never experienced cyber abuse or harassment in the past. In observing the trend of cyberbullying in the Malaysian context, slightly more than in the country and steps needed to be taken to address the prevalence of such phenomenon in the local context. It is hoped that this chapter has drawn some attention to the importance of learning more about students’ perceptions and experiences on cyberbullying so that more relevant prevention programmes could be designed to tackle this epidemic of is never hurtful, but joyful and fruitful.

References Aboujaoude, E., Savage, M. W., Starcevic, V. & Salame, W. O. 2015. Journal of Adolescent Health roles of gender, age and internet frequency. Computers in Human Behavior Cyberbullying among Adolescent Bystanders: Role of the Communication Medium, Form of Violence, and Empathy It’s Common Sense That It’s Wrong”: Young People’s Perceptions and Experiences of Cyberbullying Convergent and divergent predictor variables. Computers in Human Behavior students’ perspectives on cyberbullying. Computers in Human Behavior Dehue, F., Bolman, C. & Völlink, T. 2008. Cyberbullying: Youngsters’ Experiences and Parental Perception Doane, A. N., Pearson, M. R. & Kelley, M. L. 2014. Predictors of cyberbullying reasoned action. Computers in Human Behavior Faryadi, Q. 2011. Cyberbullying and academic performance. International Journal of Computational Engineering Research Doing Applied Linguistics: A Guide for Students. Routledge.

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Hanewald, R. 2008. Confronting the pedagogical challenge of cyber safety. Australian Journal for Teacher Education Deviant Behavior Huang, Y.-Y. & Chou, C. 2010. An analysis of multiple factors of cyberbullying among junior high school students in Taiwan. Computers in Human Behavior on harassment through the Internet and other electronic means. Family Community Health Parental Mediation, Online Activities, and Cyberbullying.

Information Systems Education Journal Oliver, C. & Candappa, M. 2003. Tackling Bullying: Listening to the Views of Children and Young People. DfES Nottingham. Park, S., Na, E.-Y. & Kim, E.-M. 2014. The relationship between online activities, netiquette and cyberbullying. Children and Youth Services Review 42(74-81. bullying among adolescents. Developmental Psychology

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Implications for theory and practice. Studies in Higher Education Computers in Human Behavior Vandebosch, H. & Cleemput, K. V. 2008. Research into the Perceptions of Youngsters Whittaker, E. & Kowalski, R. M. 2015. Cyberbullying via social media. Journal of School Violence Online Aggressor/Targets, Aggressors, and Targets: A Comparison of Associated Youth Characteristics

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Chapter 4

Framing the Victim: A Study of Cyberbullying Lee Siew Chin, T’ng Cheah Kiu Choon & Muhammad Khair Abd Razak


Facebook, XBox Live Instagram YouTube Twitter Snapchat WeChat WhatsApp

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Dynamics of Bullying and Victimisation

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Table Direct bullying

Direct bullying

Indirect bullying

Indirect bullying


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Goffman’s Framing Theory

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The Cyberbullying Personas

The Victim Persona

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The Bully Persona


The Discourse of Cyberbullying

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“Indians are always drunk and good at creating chaos.”

“I think Najib is the culprit here.”

“DAP is useless when it comes to charity unlike BN.”

“These UMNO leaders suck at their leadership quality and should be treated like a dog.”

“This man has been involved in gambling business and does drugs.”

“Everyone should stop voting for this party.”

The girl is the video is very pretty. So beautiful I fainted watching this video. haha.”

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videos.” “Face me one to one if you dare.”

His nose is too pointy - looks like a damaged axe.

“idiots are clapping for another idiot.”

“This bitch has a terrible face but a damn nice body. I will play all day.”


What Makes a Tweet Offensive?


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A Victim’s Self-frame Tweets

poor me I am suffering

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Extract 1:


Aku rasa aku kena start bagitau satu Malaysia the real sakit aku sbb semua dh salah anggap aku ni mental illness la bipolar la & dgr eh aku ni kena buatan manusia (DISIHIRKAN OLEH KWN SEKERJA ORNG BATU PAHAT JOHOR NAMA DIA NAIL AWATIF BINTI OMAR) pergi cri ig & twitter dia (Source: Twitter)

Analysis of Julia’s framing

Disihirkan pergi cri ig & twitter dia

the real sakit aku

Aku rasa aku kena start bagitau satu Malaysia the real sakit aku sbb semua dh salah anggap aku ni mental illness

Aku rasa aku kena start bagitau

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sakit mental illness

dh salah anggap aku ni .

aku ni kena buatan manusia (disihirkan oleh kwn sekerja

dgr eh aku ni kena buatan manusia –

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This person feels that she has been wronged and seeks to tell the public There are expressions defensive behaviours and a sense of helplessness The victim believes in the worst and is therefore full of negative emotions Victim expresses self-pity, expects sympathy by spinning tales of woe, and alternately putting blame on others Victim role plays, shows self-abasing abasing and passive demeanors, yet this act is being done aggressively

FIGURe 4.1 Source:


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Cyberbullying and Victimization: Psychosocial Characteristics of Bullies, Victims, and Bully/Victims From Crime Policy to Victim Policy: Reorienting the Justice System, Educate, Medicate, or Litigate?: What Teachers, Parents, and Administrators Must Do About Student Behavior. Understanding Victims and Restorative Justice.

Bullying in North American Schools Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. The Information Society Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture

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Jurnal Komunikasi, Malaysian Journal of Communication Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture Psychology of Violence Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma

Child Psychiatry & Human Development Journal of Communication Journal of Youth and Adolescence Communications of the ACM Understanding and Managing Bullying

A Social-Ecological Model for Bullying Prevention and Intervention in Early Adolescence. American Psychologist Cyberbullying among Youngsters:

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Journal of Personality Social Psychology

Information and Communication Technology (ICICTM):

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Chapter 5

Haters Will Hate, But How? The Language of Body Shaming Cyberbullies in Instagram Bahiyah Abdul Hamid, Habibah Ismail & Chairozila Mohd. Shamsuddin

Introduction The rise of social media usage has of late provided an outlet for others to upload personal posts, photos and leave comments about each other’s pictures and casually, insulting and degrading others. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been the favoured choices for online users to use in order to express themselves while at the same time create bonds with others of shared interests. While social much lamentable actions online which include reacting to posts, such as criticising posts, mocking on public posts and also commenting in jest and shaming others for the sake of having fun online. Reich (2010) calls this phenomenon “networked individualism” (Purdy 2018), a trend where people share their personal thoughts and feelings with friends, family and even with new friendships established online, even at the expense of others. Statistics have shown that 73% of individuals have access to one or more social media sites (Bliss 2017), with some postings including pictures of individual users. Bliss adds that online users or ‘netizens’ are known to leave abusive comments, which on the other hand, would not have been used or spoken in the public domain. The types of online shaming can include shaming of one’s appearance and habits (Gallardo 2017) even by anonymous online users. The emerging trend of body shaming others has previously been

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a group or an individual in electronic forms of contact” (Hamm 2015). However, the phenomenon of online body shaming does not necessarily equate negative consequences, with some posts being made viral through insults. Mateo and Yus (2013) explains that some ‘insults’ depend on contextual attributes; they involve context, intentions, inferences and culture, which contribute to the complexity of the meaning used for body shaming. This unique interpretation of insults in body shaming needs to be researched for its underlying intention in both visual and words used to express such reactions. This chapter aims to discuss the types and functions of body shaming Instagram posts by Malay youths in Malaysia. Furthermore, this chapter discusses how language is used, identifying the salient linguistic forms and structures used by cyberbullies to degrade, belittle and offend their targets- those judged not to have conformed to societal expectations based on the ideal size, shape, colour and appearance of the parts of the body deemed sensitive to their target/s.

Self-deprecation Online One trend used when denigrating is the usage of self-deprecation in shaming online posts. These insults serve different purposes. Researchers Archard (2014) explains that one of the features of insults, are that it is an expressive act that is communicated in public. These acts are directed and have propositional content, which sets insults apart from profanities and obscenities (Archard 2014: 128). Whereas Mateo and Yus (2013) describe these shaming acts as communicated mostly for the intention to offend, praise, or to establish a social bond. Whereby the task of understanding the message contained in the insult depends on the targets’ reaction or even the lack of it. One such research on the language used in social media investigated the language used in Facebook, or ‘netspeak’ (Crystal 2001) among Puerto Ricans by Carroll and Mari (2017). They found that authentic language or daily used language was practiced among users. Apart from this, research on language usage in social media is still very minimal. Research on shaming or insults on social media has not been conducted among Malaysian users. This proves that there is a lack of research towards investigating language of insults in body shaming on social media, particularly on Instagram and Facebook. The task of

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investigating messages in body shaming and insults in social media can be rather complicated due to the paradoxical nature or irony in the messages communicated, but nevertheless a necessary process in order to understand the self-deprecating language that is contained among social media users, or netizens. Studies on self-deprecation or describing oneself negatively goes far back to research that was previously conducted by Wicklund and Gollwitzer (1981) on self-symbolizing. This negativity marks self-deprecation that displays modesty, failure or incompetence, which was previously researched among teachers’ self-descriptive statement.

Deprecation in Hashtags and Pictures This current study looks into how deprecation is used in social media such as Instagram, with consideration for the use of hashtags that are accompanied by Instagram pictures. These hashtags have become a by other users, where other users will use the same hashtags. Zappavigna (2015) explored the use of hashtags in linguistic contexts from Halliday and Mathiessen’s (2004) systemic functional linguistics in social media posts. Zappavigna adds that hashtags function as part of the linguistic structure and also operates as metadata, information appended to some primary form of content to assist in retrieving and understanding that content when it is stored and published (ibid: 276). In short, these hashtags contain information that can be found retrieved and easily searched among users familiar with the term or word used. This means that the hashtag used is part of the discourse among the online community, with the metadata being ‘user-generated’ and appearing within the community that uses this particular discourse. The function of these hashtags depend on the # symbol and are not searchable among the community unfamiliar with the repertoire. For example, the hashtag #muslimcandyheartrejects was used among the Muslim diaspora communities in 2012 (Wills & Fecteau 2016) on Twitter. The analysis of hashtags in this study deployed humour as a method to relief stress among Muslims in the West. Wills and Fecteau add that the combination of social media networks such as Twitter also helped to create social space and established social identities. One of the ways is through

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customising these hashtags. With the nature of these hashtags being user generated among online users, only like-minded individuals would be using these hashtags in order to establish that similar identity and topic of interest. Calvin (2015) discovered some commonalities in the use of bullying hashtags on Twitter and found eight associated features of tweets. These hashtags differ in the retweets, and in the conversation that is contributed. Hashtags that are used mostly are incomplete sentences, non-grammatical, and only serve discursive functions. At the moment, much is unknown about how these hashtags function to communicate and establish an online trend of verbal abuse in a range of pictures and hashtags used among the online users. Therefore, in this chapter, the pictures and hashtags that were associated with body shaming and any representation of deprecation that were implied in these Instagram posts This chapter analysed data collected from 20 Malaysian Instagram pages that publically posted the Instagram users’ body shaming through the use of hashtags (#). All the Instagram data were from Malay youths, with an exception of one post. The hashtags analysed carry meanings of shaming one’s physical condition, in the Malay language, such as #gemuk, and #debab. Data is collected through the hashtags that were tagged by the users. These hashtags that were used in the Instagram data collected provided accessible data and are limited to the hashtags that contain body shaming comments. The hashtags were generated through random samples of posts tagging with hashtags using words related to body shaming. The posts were chosen from the keywords that had the potential for body shaming, for instance those keywords that carry the meaning of being fat; #gemuk, #debab, #gemukisawesome. The Malay language was the language of preference of the Instagram users in the data with very few English language usage.

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) This chapter utilised Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 2001) to study language use in the Instagram posts for body shaming. Also utilised in tandem is Emotivity (Bednarek 2006). Fairclough’s 2001 framework is used to explicate the linkage between the properties of language: the “texts” and social practice. Fairclough’s framework (see Figure 5.1) is divided into three dimensions: text or the

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discourse, the discursive practice and the social practice. The objective of the three-dimensional framework is to investigate the connections of the language used in the text, the ideas or beliefs and how Instagram users utilise the connection between these aspects to body shame. In this chapter, because we investigated the language features of Instagram posts and how language is used to body shame, this framework is deemed suitable for the research purposes.

Figure 5.1 Critical Discourse Analysis Framework (Fairclough 2001)

The data was analysed following Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis Framework. Firstly, analysis on the textual aspect of the framework focused on the linguistic aspects and features that were found in the Instagram posts. In order to further elaborate on the textual the analysis of emotivity, the linguistic means used by Instagram users attributes.

The Parameters of Evaluation: Emotivity In this chapter, the analysis also focused on the parameters of evaluation. These parameters refer to “the standards, norms and values according to which we evaluate something through language” (Bednarek & Caple 2012: 139). For the purpose of examining the instances of body shaming,

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the parameters of emotivity (positive/negative evaluation) is adopted. Analysis involving emotivity is concerned with how positive/good or negative/bad an entity is evaluated. The evaluated entities can be people, events, actions and other evaluated entities (Bednarek 2006: 45; 2010b: 21). Emotivity is also an expression of the evaluator’s approval or disapproval (Bednarek 2006: 19; 2010b: 21). In this chapter, the evaluators are those who wrote the Instagram posts and the hashtags. The evaluation may be positive or negative and is realised in language through the use of many linguistic resources (Bednarek & Caple 2012: 144). For example, the word fat itself does not carry good or bad emotive meanings. However, when paired with other verbal resources such as hate. It becomes negative or is evaluated as bad.

Types of Body Shaming & Their Functions From the analysis, there are three types of body shaming: 1. Self-deprecation. 2. Other-deprecation. 3. Self-realisation. 1. Self-deprecation Pattern 1 – Deprecation of self alone With regards to self-deprecation, the Instagram users are found to show either direct or indirect disapproval of self. Instances of indirect disapproval can be in the form of sarcasm. For example, a Malaysian actress/singer wrote a caption for her own picture posted on Instagram as “Debabnya lah!!!” which can be translated as Oh [she] is [so] fat lah!!!. (see Figure 5.2). This is a type of sarcasm that echoes other people or is reminiscing of what other people have responded to her and others like way that lightens face or to water down any possible negative comments that others might posts in response to the picture. So, we posit that this type of self-deprecation as seen in Example 1 does not necessary have negative connotation.

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Figure 5.2 Example 1

Other examples of self-deprecation can also be found in instances of direct disapproval of self, see Figure 5.3. In Example 2, a lot of negative indicators were used in the Instagram post : One upon a time.... kurus comel --->>gemok cute... phui...!!! masa dolu2... #gemok #buncit #gedempol #AkuBenciiGambarGemok...!!! The use of the structure “One upon a time” which is familiar in story telling followed by four fullstops and masa dolu2 (past times) indicate that the Instagram user is reminiscing on the past with some time lapse when he was thin and cute (kurus comel) and is comparing the past with the present (see the arrow drawn out by the user using symbols to indicate the present time somewhat like writing a formula). While the Malay language word gemok/fat is paired with cute [EMOTIVITY: POSITIVE], it was followed by other negative indicating words. The word phuii..!!! [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE] is an onomatopoeia, it indicates the sound of someone in the act of spitting. This can be translated as an expression of disgust or repulsion. The use of interjection or exclamation marks further enhances the negative feeling. The direct use of

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hashtag #AkuBenciiGambarGemok...!!! [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE] or translated as I hate fat picture emphasizes how bad the user thinks about himself being fat. The combination of these verbal resources ultimately results in a classic example of self-deprecation.

Figure 5.3 Example 2

Pattern 2- Deprecation of self + other/s (in- group) In the category of self-deprecation, there is also a sub-category where a person not only deprecates himself/herself but this deprecation also includes other people, usually those who are a part of the person’s ingroup. The other people (in-group) can be family members or friends. In Figure 5.4, the Instagram user not only implicates herself but also four of her friends featured in the posted picture. The caption says Muka putih, kaki Bangla (note the shortened form of Bangladeshi) which literally means fair face, legs like a Bangladeshi. However, metaphorically the second part of the post also means legs as dark colored as a Bangladeshi

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[EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE]. This caption is also racist and derogatory as it generalises all Bangladeshis as having dark coloured skin. The caption also contains hashtags #Bangla + laughing emoticon [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE], #ketot which means short and #Gemuk which means fat. Except for #Bangla, all the other hashtags cannot be considered good or bad since there were no other verbal sources that shows the evaluation of these words by the Instagram user.

Figure 5.4 Example 3

All the posts discussed so far contain different degrees of negative evaluation or negative emotivity. These are considered to some degree harmful to the self-esteem and mental health of the Instagram users. The next examples of Instagram posts do not carry the same negativity as the

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Pattern 3- Self- realisation + others (in-group) Self-realisation is a different category of fat shaming. It points out to the body and the attributes of the body (such as, gemuk/fat which is mostly negative) but it does not function to degrade or put self or others down. Instead, it is used to motivate self and/or others to do better in whatever they are doing and to feel good about one’s self. So, a person can say gemok (fat) is awesome as a caption with his/her smiling picture, or he/ she is saying that he/she happy and is trying to lose weight. So, words like awesome and happy construct good, positive meanings when they surround the word fat. The context surrounding it is positive with verbal resources accompanying the picture contains positive emotivity. The post below about two brothers is a good example of self-realisation posts.

Figure 5.5 Example 4

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In Figure 5.5, the Instagram user implicates not only himself but also his brother by comparing their body sizes in his post: Abang gemuk, adik chubby which means fat big brother, chubby baby brother. This post In contrast, the caption was followed by other verbal resources that can be considered as carrying positive emotivity: Nice result sem 1 [EMOTIVITY: POSITIVE], #kipidap [EMOTIVITY: POSITIVE] #dongibab [EMOTIVITY: POSITIVE] #debab [EMOTIVITY: NEUTRAL]. Kipidap means keep it up while dongibab means do not give up.

Figure 5.6 Example 5

Figure 5.7 Example 6

Pattern 4 – Self –realization alone Example 5 and Example 6 are examples of the same kind of posts categorised as self-realisation posts but in these posts, no one else is implicated. In Figure 5.6, the hashtag sukaakupun (like myself too) with two smiling emoticons indicate positive emotivity. In Example 6, the Instagram user reminisces back to December 2014 ( Satu ketika dahulu, Disember 2014) . Her rather lengthy caption includes a photo of the Instagram user exercising in order to reduce her weight. The caption is familiar to us; it is a conversation with oneself in the form of questions

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and answers. The question: Will I have the same body like this? (Adakah aku akan kembali berbadan seperti ini?) denotes that the Instagram user is afraid that she will return to her former self in body weight, one that is not to her liking. The caption continues with the Instagram user issuing an answer to the question she posed which is highly motivating. She says “ The answer lies within me (Jawapannya hanya pada diriku). Most importantly is that people around me support and give me motivation. Alhamdulillah(“Yang paling penting adalah orang di sekeliling aku yang menyokong dan memberi dorongan kepada aku. Alhamdulillah”.) The Instagram user then adds a passing note in netspeak - (p/s) time ni (this time – referring to the picture) slalu tahan nafas n tarik perut bila nak bergambar (always hold my breath and tuck in my stomach when taking photos). Hahh (laughter). Lawak (Funny). This particular ending , couched in humour shows the user’s particular feelings about her former self. 2. Other-Deprecation Pattern 1 – Deprecation of others alone The second type of body shaming is other -deprecation where the posts target other people for the purpose to humiliate or insult them. Similar with self-deprecation, Instagram users use sarcasm as one of the tools to deprecate other people.

Figure 5.8 Example 7

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Figure 5.9 Example 8

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In the post on the left-hand side (Figure 5.8), the user congratulates his friend on his wedding day: Tahniah pendek tralala hahaha #wedding #ketot. Despite the well wishes, it seems that there are other implied meanings in the post. The use of pendek/short tralala [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE] is considered negative since the word pendek is paired with tralala. While tralala does not have any meaning, it might actually refer to the seven dwarves in the animated Disney’s Snow White movie. The theme song the dwarfs sang in the movie include the word tralala: “Whistle while you work, tra, la, la, la…”. This sarcasm is further emphasised by the word hahaha (laughing) [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE] and hashtag #ketot [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE]. While the language use is quite indirect and the caption written as if it were a joke, it may have been written as such to lighten the load of the insult. Pattern 2- Comparing target to another person There is also the pattern of comparing the target person to another person. For example, in Figure 5.10 (see Example 9, the user compares his friends body to that of a celebrity namely Abam Bocey who is known as being overweight. However, his remarks are mixed with positive and negative emotivities:

Figure 10 Example 9

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Junior aku sorang ni dah macam Abam Bocey pulak (translated as “this one junior of mine looks like Abam Bocey”), followed by a laughing emoticon [EMOTIVITY: NEGATIVE]. While this particular Instagram user seems like he is making fun of his junior’s body, there is a twist at the end of the post where he inserted the hashtags #GEMOKK #IS #AWESOME [EMOTIVITY: POSITIVE].Gemok is awesome is actually a tagline made popular in Malaysia by Abam Bocey, a famous Malaysian comedian. In the post about the junior, there seems to be a mixture of positive and negative emotivities. Such mixtures were also evident in several previous posts such as the Tahniah pendek tralala where a congratulatory wish (Tahniah/congratulation) was oddly paired with implicitly insulting words (See Example 7). This mixture of positive and negative emotivities might be a strategy to save face or to lighten the bite of the insult. It also serves to lighten the mood somewhat. Some might even consider such instances as harmless jokes between friends. Pattern 3- Using food metaphors The use of metaphors is also a very popular pattern applied by users of Instagram. Two particularly popular types of metaphors were utilised namely animal and food metaphors. With regards to food metaphors, the body parts usually associated with it are the cheeks and the chin. Examples include hashtags like #pipipau (see Figure 5.11) which associates someone’s cheeks with the pau. In Malaysia, pau is a type of steamed bun Malaysia, paus can be savoury or sweet.

Figure 5.11 Example 10

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Figure 5.12 Example 11

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Another form of metaphor associated with local food, is #kuihlapis (see Example 11). Kuih lapis is a sweet Malay delicacy which is usually colourful and is made by stacking different colours of the delicacy on top of another before baking and forming their layered appearance. The hashtag #kuihlapis in Example 11 is used to show how the chin of the person involved appears to have the layered appearance of the delicacy. In both examples shown above, the hashtags #pipipau and #kuihlapis are considered as carrying neither positive or negative emotive meaning. Pattern 4- Using animal metaphors For animal metaphors, words like gajah/elephant, badak/rhinoceros, sapi/cow, babi/pig and baboon were used in the data analysed. The use of baboon may be inspired by popular culture especially as Malaysian youths are exposed to movies especially animated movies that feature baboons as big and menacing. The choice of using these metaphors are especially with children, youths and young adults. Quite rarely, due to religious sensitivity, is babi/pig ever used by Malay Muslim Instagram users to describe the body. However, there is an exception especially when directly insulting someone. The use of babi/pig by Malay Muslim Instagram users can be very offensive and humiliating as the animal’s traits/characteristics are taken as being synonymous to the person targeted. Thus the person is seen as despicable, dirty, greedy and ugly. In Malay literature, pigs are placed at the lower rung of the animal hierarchy in terms of rank and status. In some context however, the same word when used by non-Muslim Malaysians may have a different and sometimes positive effect. The difference can be seen from the posts below. The posts on the left might be written by a non-Muslim, see the post with regards to the hashtag pig (see Figure 5.13) while the post on the right is by a Muslim man, see the post with regards to the hashtags gajah, badak and baboon (see Figure 5.14).

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Figure 5.13 Example 12

Figure 5.14 Example 13

The two posts above (see Examples 12 and 13) used hashtags instead of description/caption. It is quite interesting to see quite similar patterns appearing from them. Moving from top to bottom, together the hashtags seem to imply the increasing dehumanisation of the target person (either self or other) from a #big human or #buncit human, to shape (bujur) and We theorise that there is a kind of narrative that is being constructed by hashtag users. Alone, the use of hashtags does not actually carry any negative or positive emotive meanings. But when using different patterns or combinations of patterns, they are likely to imply or suggest certain meanings to the readers, like the one discussed above to dehumanise the person.

Gender Differences & Similarities: Linguistic Resources Used For Body Shaming There is slight differences and similarities in the use of linguistic resources when the target of shame (either self or/and other) is a female or male. Here is a short list of lexical items found to describe the body and physical features of the target:

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Table 5.1 Lexis used for body shaming self/others (Instagram data)

Height Weight Cheek/Pipi Stomach Skin colour Shape Face



Pendek, ketot Gemok, debab, tembam*, gedempol, besar, gempal Tembam*, chubby, labuh buncit, boroi, one pack N/A Bulat (round), bujur (oval) N/A

ketot Debab, tembam* tembam*, chubby, labuh, pau N/A Dark (Bangla) N/A hodoh (Ugly), bulat (round)

Based on Table 5.1, we can see what parts of the body and what issues related to physical attributes are Malaysian Malay males and females preoccupied with in their Instagram posts: for similarities, both males and females are preoccupied with their height, weight, and cheeks. The difference in terms of how women are preoccupied with skin colour and their face while men are more interested to talk about the stomachcan be seen. There are also words like tembam which are ambiguous and may refer to both cheeks and body/weight. For males, there seems to stomachs, thus words like buncit, boroi and one pack (rather than six pack) were found.

Recommendations for Future Research For this chapter, the analysis and discussions were focused on collected Instagram data. However, there are several instances of self-deprecation through body shaming that simply function to get attention. This is especially when fat shaming of self is used by a person who is not see Figure 5.15 of the post found on Twitter:

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Figure 5.15 Example 14

thin, normal looking girl. However, the post seems to indicate that the user feels otherwise. The caption can be translated as: I’m tired having an ugly face, fat like a piglet Haa damn when will I be pretty how will my crush notice me. This is an extreme example where curse words (sial/damn) are found and religiously sensitive words ( pig and anak babi/baby pig/piglet) are used in the form of animal metaphor i.e., gemok macam anak babi(fat like a baby pig/piglet). Take note also that the user used bold words to be more succinct – the bold words together form the following structure: Gemuk macam babi. Such extreme self-deprecation may function to seek approval from the follower to praise her instead. The intention might also be to gain more likes or followers. However, this kind of posts might not actually be perceived well by other netizens (internet citizens). They might even gain haters instead of gaining likes or followers as the following post attests (see Figure 5.16).

Figure 5.16 Example 15

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The post in Figure 5.16 can be loosely translated as: Those who are thin like banana tree stems but say that they are fat like a pig, I’m going to claim you all as attention seekers. This is to show that some netizens are well aware of self-deprecation as a strategy to get attention and are irked by such posts. The examination of such posts for future studies is recommended. Researchers might consider both visual and verbal texts in their future analysis to investigate the motives of those who proclaim themselves overweight/fat but in reality they are the direct opposite of what they say they are. Investigations into this phenomenon might reveal issues of self-esteem, self- worth and can even point to deep seated mental problems. This kind of online behaviour might also display deep- rooted issues that underlie behavioural and health problems such as anorexia though they are not. We also found from our initial examination of Facebook posts more extreme examples of other deprecations written by those who own fake accounts, researchers might be interested to analyse the way these posts holders. This is to validate whether or not the degree of extremism in insult and humiliate others without any obvious legal repercussions. An example of extreme other-deprecation by a possible fake account holder is shown below (see Figure 5.17):

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Figure 5.17 Example 16

In this post illustrated in Example 16, Ustazah Hamidah rants about a famous Malaysian singer, Aishah. The lexical item Ustazah is a title derived from Arabic and is used in Malaysia to indicate that the person with this title is a female Islamic religious teacher. However, the use of lexical items such as (translated as: hypocritical pigs) is not becoming of language use by a religious teacher. These lexical humiliation and insult the target-Aishah. The hashtag AisyahGemuk BabiPanDap indicates not just body shaming but also shaming the particular person who is attacking the target.

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Conclusion This chapter shows different types and different patterns of body shaming used by Malaysian Malay youth Instagram that Malay youth Instagram users’ posts analysed can either come in the form of self-deprecation or other- deprecation but sometimes the deprecation comes in a combination of both. Within these types, there are also different patterns used which show that insults can come in a myriad of forms accompanied by different functions. Through analysis of emotivity, body shaming posts were distinguished from other types of posts (self-realization) by looking at the combination of natural words (fat) with negative (benci/hate) or positive emotive meanings (#GemokIsAwesome). The comparison between language features used by female and male Instagram users also show similarities and we found focusing on the body, the physical attributes of different parts of the body or appearance by way of language use. However, through the analysis, it is found that a particular post might not carry only one emotive meaning (only negative emotivity) which may directly suggest a blatant instance of body shaming. Instead, many posts analysed show a mixture of positive and negative emotive meanings of one target/subject. It is argued that this may be a strategy for saving face and reducing the load of the insult and decreasing the backlash from netizens. The misconception with regards to insults especially those thrown at others is that they function solely to degrade and belittle. However, this chapter shows otherwise. In our analysis, we found much data in support of the positive rather than the

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List of Contributors Tan Kim Hua, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor, lecturing in Corpus Linguistics at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the 3L Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies. Spear heading and cyberbullying, gives her opportunities to develop customised apps may vary according to societal demands and needs but her inclination

Bahiyah Abdul Hamid, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Literacy and Sociocultural Transformation, Faculty of Social Sciences and semiotics analysis. She has headed an international research study stereotyping and has headed numerous research projects nationally and at university level. Ang Leng Hong, Ph.D, is currently teaching at the English Language and English language teaching. She has published papers in international 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature and PERTANIKA Chairozila Mohd Shamsuddin studies in language learning, linguistics and social semiotics approaches. a second language to undergraduates, focusing on courses that emphasise

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on competencies in English such as academic communication, creative HE Mengyu is currently a PhD student at the English Language Studies publications have appeared in 3L: Language, Linguistics, Literature® The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies and GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies. Habibah Ismail is a lecturer at the Faculty of Major Language Studies, at the Department of Language Studies, School of Communication and Language, Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College (IUKL).

Lee Siew Chin, MESL, is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Literacy and and curriculum design. She specialises in language and media and she

blogs, and the incorporation of media in language teaching, particularly

Muhammad Khair Abd Razak is currently completing his Master’s delves into the framing strategies in media, particularly on the linguistic Malaysia).

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Index animal metaphors 94

harassment 70

blackmail 24 body shaming 36, 37, 42, 80, 85 bullying 19, 26, 63, 65 bully persona 70

impersonation 70 insult 24, 45 Internet Firestorms 28 masquerading 24

Critical Discourse Analysis 83, 84 curse 24 cyberbullying 10, 12, 17-20, 23, 26, 52, 55, 64, 70, 72 cyberharassment 19 cyberstalking 24, 70 defamation 24 defence 24 deprecation 82

networked individualism 80 power asymmetry 18 repetition 18 self-deprecation 85 self-realisation 89 sexual talk 24 stalking 12

encouragement 24 trolling 71 fatphobia 38, 46 fat shaming 38-39, 41-42, 44 food metaphors 93

victim mentality 68 victim persona 67 victim’s self-frame 73

Goffman’s Framing Theory 66

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