Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon

Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on Twitter and Instagram after six hours of the week-long break you promised yourself at New Year's, social media is once again ablaze with one of those phenomena that only exists in the first place because of the medium itself.

Let's call it the preemptive shush.

Most of us would probably agree at this point that, once you set aside all the positives of social media (the loosening of the binds that can tie up the flow of information, the ability to unify people in seconds, birthday wishes on Facebook) you're left with a bunch of headaches and a whole lot of people "building their brand." If anyone could've explained to you what sort of annoyances would come with having a Facebook page, would you have signed up anyway?

Yeah, same. So here we are. But it's not just us regulars. A high percentage of the famous (from 15-minute and moderate to extremely and iconic) is on social media as well, and they have to deal with annoyances we really can't imagine.

While it's always been bad enough seeing your face—with makeup or not—on magazine covers with headlines that make you wonder either who "told all" or who they're actually talking about ('cause it ain't you!), social media now gives people the equivalent privilege of being able to knock on your door and tell you to your face how much you suck.

Let's take a second to give it up to the possessors of the thickest of celebrity skins, including Kim Kardashian and her entire family, Justin Bieber, the members of One Direction, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Chrissy Teigen, Anne Hathaway, Amber Rose, Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift and…well, the list is long because the trolls are real. (Or perhaps it's just one troll, who's awfully busy under that bridge...)

But then again, almost everyone mentioned above has also been compelled to address complete strangers at one time or another in response to some sort of hateful remark slung via social media. Just yesterday Hathaway—who you'd think would be part-callus by now—felt compelled to backtrack on an ultimately harmless meme that she didn't create, because of the Instagram reaction. And poor Niall Horan of 1D had to finally acknowledge the insanity because he was seeing bodily threats directed at not just him, but at his nephew as well, on Twitter.

WTF, people?!

It never occurred to me I was pitting anyone against each other. Not my style. Peace x

A photo posted by Anne Hathaway (@annehathaway) on

It's easy enough to say, Well, don't do social media then. But while everyone's—yes, everyone's—life would go on if we all just stopped, it's not fair to tell celebrities to not partake in this increasingly big portion of life if they're so worried about their little ol' feelings.

That's akin to saying, Oh, you're getting bullied at school? Well, then don't go to school.

And just like with kids on the playground, it can be so, so difficult to not get pulled into a fight, or at least strike back when a bully throws the first punch.

However, on social media, while it's hard to resist the desire to have the last word (as if there's such a thing), the option to ignore is right there for the taking.

And you'd think that the more grown-up a person is, the more times they've had to face the beast head-on and laugh in its face, the easier it would be to ignore the unwelcome input of strangers.

Or is it actually impossible and we've been fooling ourselves all along? Because if Amy Schumer—make that Vanity Fair cover girl Amy Schumer—can't just freeze out the haters, who can?

Amy Schumer Tweet


Though a quick skim of the comments on recent pics of Schumer in a swimsuit while on vacation turn up largely positive, "when can I come hang with you"-type missives, other pics have their share of completely random, "you're not funny-and-worse" themed comments as well.

As previously acknowledged, anonymous fools can be disgusting and endlessly stupid.

So Schumer captioned a new vacay pic with this yesterday: "I meant to write 'good morning trolls!' I hope you find some joy in your lives today in a human interaction and not just in writing unkind things to a stranger you've never met who triggers something in you that makes you feel powerless and alone. This is how I look. I feel happy. I think I look strong and healthy and also like miss trunchbull from Matilda. Kisses!"

"Internet feedback! Paparazzi! What a morning!" she screengrabbed her Instagram and acknowledged the to-do shortly afterward on Twitter.

And then there's Chrissy Teigen, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl who's had to go from fielding all sorts of absurdities directed at her to a flood of criticism about her parenting methods, including backlash about how she even conceived in the first place and whether she's allowed to go out to dinner with her husband a week after giving birth.


A photo posted by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

Earlier this month, after tweeting a humorous post about spray-tanning around her breast pump outline, her fans predicted a backlash. So Teigen followed with, "it happens for anything and everything. I have decided to stop worrying!"

What do we think of this?

By preemptively trying to put haters in their place, is Schumer standing up for herself or just stirring the pot? Empowering herself or unwittingly empowering the trolls? Has Teigen given up or is she truly rising above?

Because either way, now it's a thing.

Once there's acknowledgement and engagement, it's as if it matters that a handful (a relative handful, at least compared to the millions of people who contribute to these celebrities' ongoing success) of creeps have called Schumer fat or doubted Teigen's mommy skills.

And it doesn't. Or at least it shouldn't. These smart, savvy, absolutely lovely women have so many fans—as evidenced by the flood of comments expressing support for Schumer's caption and Tiegen's tweet, an outpouring of love and prayer hands that could warm any heart.

Except the hearts of those who are going to persist in trying to get a rise out of those who have voices that we actually listen to for a reason.

If there was some way to know that making cracks at the haters was actually going to do something, or if Instagram could then go about smiting trolls as if they were nipples (obviously they can't and shouldn't, it's a free country, but…in a world that had no slippery slopes…ya burnt), then it might be a battle worth fighting.

But we see it both ways. Who doesn't enjoy seeing something hilarious and/or truly inspirational on Twitter and Instagram interspersed with the commentary that helps no one?

This peek at their off-camera personalities is also part of the reason why celebs such as Schumer, Teigen, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham have such devoted followings on social media—and why their voices matter so much to people in general.

Who can blame any person who's subject to so much noise for trying to get a word of reason in edgewise? No one should have to sit idly by while they're repeatedly attacked by those who've got nothing to lose (such as a TV show, a world tour, a record contract, an endorsement deal or all the various things that entertainers actually have). And sometimes, a certain type of comment, such as those directed at Niall, certainly merits a good bashing.

But it's a tricky business, bothering to engage with those who've contributed nothing to the daily discourse other than the spelled-out equivalent of a burp.

In hindsight it seems not worth it, but in the moment, and after coming under repeated fire…"Well, hello there, trolls! Ready to be exposed for what you really are?!"

Perhaps an eloquent, wink-wink nod at social media's ills really does a service. It may not help change the culture for good, but it does make it more enjoyable for a minute.

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