04/24/2014 10:38 am ET Updated Apr 24, 2014

The Problem With Slut-Shaming Comments

Stefania D'Alessandro via Getty Images

You probably read yesterday, on R29 or elsewhere, about Lindsay Lohan's TV confession that she had had a miscarriage. Despite LiLo's record of drama, discord, and general hot-messery, we would expect the same sympathetic and compassionate response a trauma of this all-too-familiar nature evokes among friends. Instead, though, the comments were shockingly vitriolic and hateful. They read more along the lines of "a drugged up slut getting knocked up and having a miscarriage is shocking? Lol ok." Some came to Lohan's defense, others agreed. This Facebook post — and the extensive discussion beneath it — reached over 340,000 eyes.

As someone who reads, moderates, and interacts with a large number of comments every single day, I know that it might be a futile endeavor to attempt to enforce a reasonable level of courtesy on what is currently an anonymous, Internet-wide cesspool of rage. However, I like to think that our readers are smart, and kind, and generally not trolls. Which makes me wonder: What is it about LL that makes regular people respond with such aggressive, pervasive hatred? She's been through hard times, some of which have been her own doing. But, for every tragic story of addiction and mental illness in Hollywood, there's also a story about a star whose triumph and subsequent career rebirth served as an inspiration for all (and a tribute to the fact that the life of an addict is not a worthless life by default). Maybe the problem is that we've been burned before, and because LiLo so often claims a comeback, we're reluctant to believe her in this case. We're too used to bashing her for being sloppy and sad, and apparently, we've become so jaded that a miscarriage is nothing more than just punishment (an experience that is pretty much universally traumatic and fraught with emotion, not to mention the intense hormonal upset and numerous physical issues that come with it).

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