The worst thing about trolls is that they don’t realize how their one statement can shatter someone’s confidence. Years ago, I was trolled for my body so much that I had to delete all the pictures from my social media accounts and go private. It totally killed my morale and to date, I’m battling with it.

Prachi Nigam, a student from Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur, achieved an impressive score of 98.50% in her board exams, earlier this month. She was also interviewed by many news outlets after her outstanding win. However, rather than taking motivation from her and celebrating her academic success, some people were more interested in her looks. In a new low, several people started trolling her for having facial hair. 

In a recent interview with BBC, she talked about the relentless tide of online harassment she faced. She regretted her overnight fame and wished that it would have been better if she had secured the second rank so that she didn’t have to go through this mockery. 

It broke our hearts to see a minor girl being targeted for something so unnecessary. Even though she was smiling while saying this statement, we could feel her pain through her voice.

“Agar number ek-do kam hojaate aur top pe hi na aati toh shayad itna famous bhi nahin hoti toh zyada theek rehta.”

It’s unbelievable and disheartening that we have made a child regret securing the first rank in her board exams.

I think that since childhood, it’s engraved in our minds that we should hold back because we are women. We are told to control our thoughts while talking to elders, men and strangers just because we belong to this gender. The result? A woman regrets achieving one of her biggest dreams.

There are times when women can’t wear what they want or say what they want because of fear – the fear of getting trolled. At times, we hold back because we don’t know what a faceless troll is capable of. They might call us a slut or stalk us and involve our families for hurting their fragile ego. I know I have been there and I also know that a lot of women reading this have too. 

It’s scary how some random person can break our confidence – which takes years to build – in seconds just to sound ‘funny’. It’s also blood-curdling how there are thousands of people who can make fun of anyone under the sun and shatter their self-assurance with a tweet. 

In the current age of social media, people have set certain toxic ‘beauty standards’ and think that they are allowed to make fun of someone based on their looks. From a man’s incapability to grow a beard to a woman having facial hair, why is our society concerned about the number of hair on someone’s face and not about their talent?

Dear trolls, it’s 2024 and having body hair is normal, be it on the face or underarms – for both, men and WOMEN. And, if you still feel bad about it, you need to take a hard, long look at yourself.