health

"Roast me": The place where people volunteer to be insulted by strangers.

Image: Imgur

The internet can be a fairly hateful place, so would you ever actively put yourself up to be insulted by strangers online?

That’s exactly what users of the popular ‘Roast Me’ Reddit thread do, inviting users to “roast” them with their meanest comments and insults.  The subreddit has more than 100,000 subscribers and many more posters, with almost a hundred people preparing for a roast every day.

Users are required to take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying “roast me” to indicate they are willingly volunteering, post it online, and prepare for the barrage of insults and abuse. Some claim to have been dared by friends; others are doing it ‘just for fun’.

Accompanying each photo is a tagline with some personal information or a plea from the poster. “Make me feel terrible please”, “Just got dumped; do your absolute worst” and “Make me more insecure than I already am” are just some of the taglines present.

Would you submit yourself to a roasting? Image: Reddit.

Once invited, 'Roasters' certainly don't hold back. Their comments include, "You could put a second face on that forehead", "You'll never have sex in a position where someone can see your face" and "My gut says you're a female but I honestly can't tell" — and those are some of the more tasteful responses.

Hateful comments online are usually labelled as bullying, but the "Roast Me" guidelines claim "it's a comedy subreddit, not a hate subreddit." Joke or not, why on Earth would people willingly do it?

According to Blue Horizons psychologist Dr Yuliya Richard, people could be using it as a coping mechanism.

"We experience strong emotions such as anger and shame when we are insulted. Most people would avoid or at least not ask to be insulted, however, in some cases people use humour to help them to deal with an unfortunate situation — a major disappointment or relationship breakdown," she says.

ADVERTISEMENT

"In some cases people find it easier to feel angry than sad in times of stress, so they might also seek out anger-provoking situations, like the Roast Me thread." (Post continues after gallery.)

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Obviously, there are better coping mechanisms out there people can employ.

"On the day you might suppress your pain and find it funny, but tomorrow you might feel a bit more vulnerable and the comments are still there in cyberspace. It might leave emotional scars," she explains.

ADVERTISEMENT

In an article for The Telegraph earlier this year, writer Amy Molloy put herself up for roasting and was hit with insults on her looks, weight and career.

"Someone remarked that I looked like an 'anorexic Ellie Goulding' - having spent a decade battling an eating disorder, I didn’t cry, but I certainly didn’t laugh either," she wrote.

"Yet, even though every comment was scathing, I finally understood why so many roastees were doing this when I felt a strange sense of pride at noting my picture had been viewed 2,326 times. That brief moment of pride having passed, I was left with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth."

Journalist Amy Molloy put herself up to be 'roasted'. Image: The Telegraph.

So is it all about attention?

Whatever the incentive — and even if it's meant in jest — it wouldn't be hard to push someone at risk over the edge, nor is it really a good idea to add more negativity to the internet.

"Before you ask to be roasted based on your appearance, ask yourself: 'What do I want to achieve? Will it be an uplifting experience? Do I really think I will laugh at the comments?'," suggests Dr Richard.

"Humiliation and insults can impact negatively on self-esteem and confidence. It is shame-evoking and can affect interpersonal relationships negatively. While some people have very strong boundaries and can differentiate the comments of internet trolls, many of us will just find it hurtful and upsetting."

Would you or have you ever put yourself up to be roasted? Why?

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???