I met Jude back in 2012, a very weird time in my life. I actually very specifically rememeber everything about the night I met jude because it was the same night I met my ex, someone that completely changed my life. In the time I've been friends with jude, my life has been a rollercoaster ride, and thats an understatement, but she has been extremely supportive of me, and almost like a little sister. She's been a friend to me through some of my best and worst moments and I love her very dearly. I've watched her evolve into such a gorgeous woman inside and out, and watching her grow, and us grow together is so beautiful, such a lovely friendship. Throughout those times, I have noticed judes back lash of hate, discrimination and bullying online. I've found myself defending her endlessly towards peoples judgement because they just don't get it, sort of like me, and I'm a fighter for equality, I guess I always have been. When jude agreed to do my interview, I couldn't be any happier because she is like my soul sister, and hearing her words really makes me feel much more connected to something larger than myself. We all come from the same "creator" and are naturally programmed to love, life just throws obstacles in our way, and only the strong survive, and the brave choose to try and make a difference. Here is my interview with one of my dearest friends Jude liana, enjoy.
Name, age, location, occupation
my name is Jude and i'm currently 22 residing in NYC and working as a photographer/model.
How many outlets of social media do currently use?
Which is your favorite and why?
Either tumblr or instagram. although tumblr is pretty much a melting pot of regurgitated content, i like being able to explore and browse it for sometimes hours at a time. its accessibility makes it easy to retrieve your own artistic inspirations from it by discovering new photos and pictures even if they've been circulating already for days. also this includes a personal benefit when i post my own work on tumblr. it's become so much faster to circulate and although it can be frustrating that sometimes my work and credit gets lost due to this, its still mostly a positive feeling for me that in just moments someone across the world is re-sharing a photo that i took, simply because they fuck with it. same goes for instagram, because i primarily use it as a platform for my work, it's a real cool feeling knowing how accessible it is for someone to take a look at it and see what it is i do, and visa versa.
Which is your least favorite and why?
I had snapchat, and twitter. both proved themselves to be pointless in my eyes. snapchat is just another distraction i dont need, and dumb to me, and twitter just opens too many doors to negativity and pettiness. i not only fell victim to that, but also was at fault for letting myself succumb to such pointless crap.
Does the internet often affect relationships or has it affected past relationships?
It does and has affected the relationships ive been in, at times, and i think that is because it's sometimes difficult for others (specifically men) to see the line between freedom of expression versus attention seeking. often the two are mixed up, usually women are criticized of expressing themselves merely for the benefit of receiving male affirmation or any affirmation at all when really that just isn't the case. not for me personally at least. i don't dress confidently or post content of myself with confidence for the satisfaction of others, i do this because I feel good about MYSELF and am willing to express my confidence in certain ways publicly.
How does your online persona affect your family, work relationships, friendships?
My family gets stoked on everything i share, i think my mom really enjoys sifting through my instagram and liking my photos, it's cute haha. same goes with work and friends. usually if not most of the time i'm getting work because of the internet and how i've used it as a platform to promote myself. people want to work with me because they've been watching what i do and they are down with it. as for my friends, i'm only surrounded by the most supportive and encouraging circle, and i'm super grateful to have their support especially when i do encounter haters and negative judgement.
What has been your most terrifying experience online?
hmmmm, well since i leave my tumblr ask box open to the public (they can choose to remain anonymous), there was a short period where i was continuously receiving really hateful messages. i would say one of the most terrifying experiences was when someone was harassing me with threats about rape and wanting to see me dead.
What has been your greatest online achievement? or better yet, what has been the most positive thing to come off the internet for you?
Probably the immensely positive feedback i've received because of the internet. at the end of the day i am no where near the level of achievement i want to reach in my life, but it's such an awesome feeling receiving emails, direct messages, tumblr messages & even instagram comments from people (predominantly women/young girls) who see me as an inspiration. personally i still battle with self-love, i definitely love myself but i still have my down days, so i wouldn't say i'm the poster child for it but when iam feeling the love for myself and encouraging others to feel that same love for themselves and it's actually translating to the public world and people are positively affected by that, it's the best. that's probably my greatest online achievement. having that ability to make someone look at themselves in the mirror another time and say "hey you know what I AM beautiful and no shaming no judgement no hater can ever manipulate the way i see MYSELF, because i matter and that's whats most important".
Has anyone ever tried to steal your identity online (cat-fishing, fake twitter or ig, etc?)
yep, I've discovered fake instagrams, twitters, and facebooks all claiming to be me. Its creepy, but mostly sad IMO. People should be more concerned with who THEY are and working on loving themselves, and spend less time pretending to be someone else, life's too short for that.
(as a person that over analyzes everything and over thinks everything, and is just ocd as hell, I often delete a lot of the things that I post, 6 out of 10 of my posts i'll delete and in my mind name them "limited editon" lmao) Do you ever delete your own posts because of the reactions you get from your content?
I have before and i always ended up regretting my decision to let someones opinion of me and my content sway my own perception of it all. It's like: why should I give any shits what you think? this is me, this is my page, screw off if you have a problem, unfollow me if you don't like what I post! i'm trying to get better on not allowing outside opinions to make me contemplate my motives or manipulate the way I see myself into the way they may be viewing me.
Lets talk about DMs for a min, do you receive dick pics (or pics from girls as well) trying to holler at you? what is usually your immediate reaction when this happens? and how does it affect you?
Only a few times have I received inappropriate direct messages before. I've gotten really gross VINES dedicated to me which I will not even begin to go into detail about that actually felt way more violating. but as for dick pics, only very rarely. It hasn't happened in very long which I'm obviously very thankful for. When and if it does happen I ignore it completely, I am always sure never to give these gross fucks the time of day. There have been a couple times where I would reply angrily letting them know that it isn't okay but most of the time that never translates to them. So I've learned to just ignore it and not cater to it or entertain it in any way.
Do you recall the most hurtful thing someone has said to you online? How did you react (internally, externally)?
So many things to be honest. i've gotten comments (both anonymously and publicly) about the way i look, the way i dress, my body, comments about my racial identity. i couldn't name one thing specifically but i can say all these things definitely stir up an internet complexity within me in the sense that it's so frustrating trying to use these social platforms as a means to express yourself and share bits of your life with the world, but that can all backfire in an instant when someone thinks they're then entitled to nitpick things about you and pass such harsh judgement onto you. i try not to let it get to me because if i do i let them win, and i just won't let that happen. i try my best to just do me and enjoy my life aside from those who hate to see me shine.
I remember my first outlet of social media was myspace, i was absolutely obsessed, and then I had a live journal I kept throughout some of years of high school which I deleted as soon as I graduated [rip]- What was your earliest childhood memory as far as computers and the internet are concerned? Were you bullied back then?
Myspace was my first social outlet also, and i loved it! i loved being able to make a profile about myself and customize my page, and for the first time share photos of myself, it was so exciting haha. after myspace i got facebook. but i was also using Blogspot (i was about 15) which was like an online diary in a sense. That was probably the first meaningful memory I had as far as computers and the internet. I always loved physically writing in my journal but there was something so neat and expressive in having an online blog I could freely write through and customize and edit and attach songs from youtube to. in middle school i was bullied and made fun of quite a bit about my appearance, and in high school i just dealt with very complex thoughts at such a young age, so Blogspot kind of saved me in a way. It sounds silly but its true.
Do you get attacked because of your ethnicity or race online?
Oh yes. As I mentioned before, via tumblr I've received lots of hateful messages and race and ethnicity has always played a part in that. As a half african american white jewish person, I've been shamed for being half white and half black. some people say things like how i will never truly "be black", people have called me "half-cast" on numerous occasions. I've also received anti semitic hate before. it's all just really sad and very pathetic. i've had someone actually tell me in person "you aren't even black though" simply because half of my blood is white. iIve had people question my public display of compassion for the black community that suffer from police brutality and racial inequality BECAUSE i'm not full african american. It's so inappropriate and belittling for someone to think it's okay to try and take that away from you. It's hurtful and more painful then they may know. It's also the furthest thing from progressive.
Do you find it that you have to explain yourself to others because of their lack of understanding or compassion with the way you choose to live your life online- and IRL for that matter?
Definitely. it can be frustrating even exhausting at times, but i always figure that it's better to try and enlighten those who don't understand then to huff and puff at every person who doesn't quite "get it". if after explanation they still don't really see it how i do, then that's entirely on them. i'll gladly enlighten and educate, but i'm not here to literally convince people that they should fuck with me and how i choose to live my life.
I'm constantly filtering through the pervy comments on my page because I like to keep it positive, negative energy spirals out of control and puts me in a weird head space, and I find it that i'm blocking people constantly for their ignorance, which is also exhausting, and time consuming, is this something you've had to deal with yourself?
yeah, I usually always filter out over the line inappropriate or hateful comments. Everyones obviously entitled to their opinion, but sometimes it just doesn't need to be said publicly. It's like what you learned in pre-school: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. In my opinion that was like a golden rule, and it still holds true today. Think whatever you want to think but don't abuse that opinion just because you have a keyboard in front of you or a phone in your hands.
Does the internet make you at all concerned for your safety offline?
For a while when I was receiving those anonymous threats online I felt somewhat concerned but I figured it was most likely just a troll who was bored with their own lives. But aside from that I don't feel concerned for my safety and I'm grateful for that obviously!
Are you comfortable with your sexuality?
Yes. 100%. It took a long time for me to become completely comfortable with it, i'm just glad i got there.
If you could change anything about the internet, social media, etc, what would it be?
For obvious reasons I would change the way in which the female body is censored on the internet. it's still mind boggling to me that I can't post a photo I took of another woman where her breasts or nipples are visible, as if it poses any real threat. But that's like the core issue isn't it? Women are seen as threatening, for whatever reason I still can't figure out. Women can be constantly exploited and used , but the minute we want to take control of the way WE want to express ourselves, society shuts us down. It shouldn't have to be radical and rebellious for a woman to show her body the way men do. I hate that shit, it really makes me fume.
I'm aware that this is a very loaded question, but what does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me is many things. I kind of see Feminism as a growing tree, or flower growing from the ground. When it comes to Feminism from a woman's standpoint I feel as though it starts off with the seed. That seed could easily be pride; and either you're content with simply just being proud to be a woman, or that's not enough and you want to use that pride, that seed, as sort of the foundation for further blossoming, full growth and potential. In my eyes Feminism is taking that pride of being a woman, and using it as a tool to elevate women as a whole especially in the ways in which we are constantly kept down. I'll also tell you what Feminism ISN'T to me, because I think that plays an equal if not more an important role in the long term goal of all of this. Feminism isn't anti-men, it's not only women are good and everything/everyone else is bad, it's not we deserve this and you don't, it's not some elite and selfish movement that many people sometimes view it as. I've never understood why there are people out there who are scared of the F word. Feminism historically has always had one goal and that is to raise the bar when it comes to gender equality, and for women who for so long have been the minority of the sexes. Feminism historically has only had the good intention of dismantling this society that keeps us oppressed and transforming it into an equal one. Why on earth would you let a few lousy negative connotations of the word "Feminism" outweigh the LITERAL HISTORICAL definition of it? How could you not be down for women's rights? Feminism also isn't singular. It's not the ONLY thing one is allowed to believe in. It's also not WOMEN ONLY. It's just something you are down for, something you're down WITH, no matter who you are. I think people forget that too much. Feminism from the standpoint as a man for example, shouldn't be any different. Like I said, you're either down or you're not. Through Feminism we are just trying to properly blossom. Feminism represents the women who aren't afraid to shine and to grow. It's the idea that we can be everything we are intended to be without fear or doubt and we have people from all walks of life standing behind us telling us to keep going.
What advice can you give to all generations about this topic?
I'm gonna try and keep this as short and sweet as possible since my last answer was quite lengthy, haha.
My advice would be to always be true to yourself, and by being completely true to yourself that also means being completely confident in everything you do. there is no point in being yourself if you'll allow guilt or doubt to creep in and make you feel bad for doing so. as a young woman who strives to be 100% true to myself for as long as i'm on this planet, i would also advice my fellow ladies to never let anyone break you down for being the beautiful and strong creation you are, because we are nothing but that. and to everyone, spread as much love as you can, love yourself, quit hating for no reason and suck it up if you don't like the way someone else is grinding, life would be boring as fuck if everything was black and white and we all played our cards the same way to stay safe. wouldn't it? acknowledge that we are all different, you don't gotta love it, but if we acknowledge the indifferences and learn to at least accept it, i think this world will be a much better place.
thanks for reading. :)