Before the Internet gave it a name, I thought my act of scrolling through blogger X's posts and loathing every #nofilter selfie, 'I-didn't-know-what-to-wear' OOTD, and Laduree macaron/gelato swirl/strawberries with Nutella topshot made me an aggravated lurker with anger management issues. Apparently, I was just hate-reading.
What the hell is hate-reading?
It is what the term suggests: you read a social media account (be it a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter user), a blog, or a website that irks you for at least one of three reasons: (1) His or her posts come across as fake or inhumanly perfect; (2) you’re jealous of their life (but will never admit it); or (3) he or she gets away with ridiculous, self-righteous, and sometimes stupid posts that are undeniably popular.
You’ll never follow, bookmark or keep tabs, instead, you memorize links and usernames to conveniently backtrack for a session of self-inflicted infuriation. Because the truth is, you find none of their content genuinely offensive, rather they serve as fuel for your "I'm cooler than you" inner monologues.
In other words, you just love to love to love to hate.
Humble brags: consider them hate-bait.
"Credit card workout #exhausted by @clarisselafleur"
I find myself hate-reading at odd times of the dayâ€•during my morning commute or Saturdays alone at the officeâ€•in solitude. Katie Baker, writer of the article 'The Art Of Hate-Reading,' says “I can't even pass hate-reading off as a catty social activity, because, while it's certainly bitchy, I usually hate-read alone, late at night when I'm procrastinating, drunk, bored, or all three.”
I used to agree with her, until my friend sent me a link of popular friend-of-a-friend's travel diary. She texted, Did you see her posts? What's up with the vintage emo-photography in SEPIA??? And her outfits! She looks like she's going to Korea, eh nasa Baguio lang naman siya! I replied by clicking on the link and ranting with her the entire night.
The visual and narcissistic motivations of hate-reading plus our cultural inclination to gossip or tsismis, together make the Filipino fashion girl more likely to succumb to it. We hound Instagram and fashion blogs as if our eyes are glued to the screen. Constantly judging each other based on artistahin selfies, color-coordinated minimalist VSCO-filtered posts, and the number of It new eats and things—we've actually created a girlworld subculture of social—not solitary—hate-reading. The main method of sharing our ire? Screencapping.
You're the tiniest bit jealous of their life, and that's okay!
"Boat with a view #bahamas ðŸ‘™ by @dorothywang"
Convenient and trace-free, screencaps are a hate-reader's prized possession. I screencap a lot, actually. It allows me to keep a record of certain posts (and even comments) that I could loathe at a later time or discreetly store in the bowels of my camera roll until I find the perfect time to share it with my fellow hate-reading friend over dinner or WhatsApp. Not to mention, it allows you to ridicule sans the page view and Internet charge.
Alice Walker Wright, not content with keeping her sentiments to herself or her friends, took it a step further and created getoffmyinternets.net, a site that aggregates popular annoying posts (See: humble brag, "I'm fat" gym selfies, and My Perfect Life blogs) for people to collectively hate-read.
But despite the unhealthy resentment that comes with hate-reading, it is far from full-on hating or trolling. A hate-reader is a civilized, normal, educated, and intelligible person who just happens to hate with self-restraint, and never reveals her feelings to the hated (or friends/fans of). A hater, on the other hand, is an obsessive, quick-to-judge fanatic that comments, spams, and bashes without processing his or her thoughts, and tends to voice out opinions in incoherent grammatically incorrect sentences. In other words: a troll!
Case in point:
I finally met one of my hate-reads IRL. Her blog is considered a Mecca for whimsical feel-good posts for the stylish, and she's worshipped for being the shy, hindi-nakakabasag-pinggan, ladylike lady that she is. But when I got to talk to her, I saw how true to her words and OOTDs she was, and unlike what I initially expected, genuinely nice, sweet, and pleasant. Believe it or not, we're sort of friends now!
As a general rule, you never, ever let your hate-readee know you scorn the Emoji clouds they walk on.
"The Awkward moment when my Credit Card Doesn’t bend but my iPhone might ðŸ˜‚ðŸ˜†ðŸ“±ðŸ’³ | #AmexCenturion #BlackCard #Goyard | by @evanluthra"
But I still hate her blog.
Images via Rich Kids of Instagram