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.