Celeste Perry is 18. She finished Year 12 last year and after a hard year of studying, can do just about anything she wants with her life.
Right now the teenager from St Kilda is taking a gap year, but in a few weeks she’s going to start teaching an arts and crafts class.
Celeste also feels pretty good about herself at the moment. She’s happy with the person she’s growing into.
But when she found out this week a group of men she’d gone through high school with had spent their “boys’ night” scrolling through her Instagram with the sole purpose of laughing and making fun of her appearance, Celeste’s first instinct was to crawl up into a ball.
These men, she thought, were her friends. Some were just friends-of-friends, but others she had considered to be her close friends.
“After I first found out I felt pretty much sick to the stomach, I took a real hit to the self esteem and instantly started blaming myself for not being appealing or attractive enough to them,” she told Mamamia.
“Then after those unfortunate 10 seconds I started fuming, because I knew I couldn’t be the only girl they were talking about like this. I had always known these boys were a little old fashioned in their views of women but I didn’t know it was to this ‘locker room talk’ extent.
“After calling my sister, my mum and my closest friend to vent about the situation, it really cemented the fact that for them to be wasting so much energy talking about me they must truly have nothing better do, which lessened my anger and started making me feel a (rather small) amount of pity.”
So instead of internalising the disrespectful comments these men made about her, Celeste decided to push back. Because really these comments weren’t about her. They were about them and the kind of people they are.
She crafted a text message to one of the men who she had spent the most time with previously, explaining why choosing to spend their boys’ night mocking her Instagram is a) not OK and b) frankly, rather sad.
This is her kickarse message:
"Look as much as I find [it] flattering to find out a bunch of clearly and uninteresting sad boys dedicate an amount of time during their "boys' nights" to think, discuss, gossip whine and/or botch about me; I'd just like to clarify.." her text began.
"I've spent a long time perfecting the art of accepting myself, and honestly I love who I am and what I say and do, I've spent too much of my life worrying about what people think of me and I'm not focusing my energy on trying to please people, particularly immature entitled brats.
Celeste went on to explain they can look and make fun of her Instagram all they like, but it doesn't matter anyway because "I've grown far too much to care if I'm not appealing to a group of misogynists," she wrote.
"I hope this message makes for an interesting chat on your next toxic masculinity-fuelled boys' night."
They're strong words. The kind of 'take no crap' actions of a young woman who wasn't going to let these guys off the hook.
"All I could really think about was that young girls already have such a hard enough time with self esteem and confidence, we really don’t need boys trying to tear us down as well," she said.
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"I have a very strong personal philosophy that if you don’t want people to find out that you're treating others badly; don’t treat others badly. I also think that if someone hurts you you should tell them exactly how you feel and confront it head on - whether that means working through the problem and improving, or telling them exactly why you can no longer be in that relationship."
Celeste has now blocked all of the men on social media so they are no longer able to look at any of her accounts.
Because Celeste doesn't need nor has time for the kind of people in her life who tear others down behind their backs.
We couldn't agree more. We would also like Celeste to proof-read our 'please exit my life thank you' texts from now on.
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