Abigail Ratchford Is Over Instagram Haters & You Should Be Too
Check the comments of an Instagram-famous chick’s latest photo and you’ll see plenty of dudes making crazy affirmations of their love. But amidst the “marry me” and “you are perfect” comments, there are always the people who decide to comment shit like, “wow, you’re so starved for attention” or “you’re a slut.”
Abigail Ratchford, whose amassed over 5 million followers on Instagram, knows all about haters. But instead of worrying about how to stand up to them or how to change their opinion of her, she simply ignores them.
“People have always bullied me over social media. I’m used to it by now,” Abigail tells Galore. “I’ve had people create fake accounts of me and say things like I’m fat, overweight, ugly, etc. The way I feel is if I was ugly, fat, overweight etc., would you really be spending time putting in all this energy to hate on me? I doubt it.”
We talked to Abigail about why if you want a big social media presence, you have to stop giving a fuck about what people think, how to stop worrying about the haters, and why slut shaming needs to stop.
Obviously, there will always be haters, but I’m sure it’s easy to shrug them off now that you’re incredibly successful, right? What about when you were just starting out, how did you face online criticism then?
I never address haters; I hate even saying that word [laughing]. About three and a half years ago when I first started getting a following, I began to deal with them pretty heavily. I grew tough skin early on and realized that it just comes with the territory. You can’t put yourself out there for millions of people to see and expect everyone to love you. It’s a small price to pay, and I focus on all those who support me instead of those who try putting me down. Plus, I always say “hurt people hurt people.” For someone to sit and comment hurtful or nasty things on someone’s page who they’ve never even met says a lot more about them than it does about me. I hope that they find peace within themselves so that they don’t have such hateful thoughts and words towards others in the future. These people want a response, they want to feel like you’ve acknowledged them even if its negative. I choose to ignore them, so they realize that they don’t affect my life and they’re only wasting their own time.
Did any of your friends or family have criticisms on what you posted? How did you handle that?
Not really, I’m the fifth of seven kids from an Irish Catholic family in Pennsylvania, so you think I would be shunned for posting sexy pictures. Luckily, my family is super cool and not uptight. They have just always requested that I don’t pose nude [laughing]. I never have!
When you first started posting sexy photos, did you worry about being slut-shamed or harassed? How did you get over those worries?
Of course. Women will always be slut-shamed. It’s so bizarre the way our society shuns women for being sexy or provocative. It’s also apparent that we view different body types as more scandalous than others. If a high fashion model (small breasts, 100 lbs.) posted the same exact picture as I did, it would be “artistic,” but because I’m curvier with big breasts and a butt, my photo might be seen as a “thirst trap” or overtly sexual.
I feel empowered by my body and I feel empowered by my sexuality. I’m an adult. When people comment things like “It’s sad girls have to post half naked selfies on the internet to seek validation from strangers,” it’s so backwards. I would be posting the same exact things If I had a private account with 10 followers. It just so happens that five million people decided to follow me. What I post is my choice, if you don’t like it, then unfollow me. It’s that simple. It’s 2016, when will this backwards type of thinking end? I’m allowed to be sexy, and I will never live my life in fear of the opinions of others or their issues with me embracing my own sexuality.
Can you give us an example about a time where someone was a dick to you via social media? How did you get over it?
I usually just report the account, ignore it, and carry on with my day to day life as usual. I’m a strong believer in energy, and what kinds of thoughts you put your energy into. I have always ignored negativity and focused on the positive, I focus on my followers who support me, and I’m always trying to make them feel appreciated and continuously coming out with new and cool stuff for them to purchase. Whether its calendars, my summer swimsuit issue, t-shirts, skateboards, fun merchandise, etc. I love having new things for them to get and look forward to. Plus, it’s been lucrative for me, and I enjoy doing it.
What advice would you give to teens who face cyber bullies?
My advice to teens who face cyber-bullying is ignore it. I know it’s easier said than done, but a lot of bullies project their own insecurities onto you to make themselves feel better. Try to block it out and keep bettering yourself. Success is always the best revenge.
Do you think it’s true that all haters are secretly jealous?
I think most haters are just confused fans who can’t understand why everyone else likes you. Usually haters are jealous, angry, spiteful, or just unhappy people in general. They hate you because you get more attention than them, you stand out from the crowd and they blend in, you have confidence and they’re painfully insecure. Whatever it stems from, a hater is definitely someone who has major inner turmoil. Happy, confident, and successful people don’t comment nasty things on a stranger’s Instagram posts, that’s just the bottom line [laughing].
What advice would you have for someone who is looking to establish a social media presence, but fears getting made fun of for their posts?
You have to make a decision. If you want a huge social media presence, you can’t be mediocre. You need to stand out from the crowd, and often times that means being subject to nasty haters. If you fear being criticized, if you can’t handle being put on blast, if you can’t deal with being made fun of, or mocked, ridiculed, etc., I’d suggest not quitting your 9 to 5.
Photos by Benjo Arwas