Last week, as Faye D’Souza, an independent social media journalist, livestreamed an interview with a politician, he called her ‘dear’. Faye politely asked to be called ‘Faye’ or ‘Ms D’Souza’. A calm, composed, yet firm request that makes Faye D’Souza the HT Brunch Social Media Star of The Week.
“I always address people as Ms and Mr. It was a professional set-up and the term ‘dear’ wasn’t professional,” Faye says. “These things invariably happen to women. We are called sweetie, sweetheart, babe, darling and dear. It pegs you as not an equal.”
Ask her how she stayed calm, and she says, “Aren’t women always calm? We face casual sexism in every corner every 10 minutes. So, over a period of time, the calm comes from experience and from within. Also, being angry gets you nowhere.” But speaking up is a must. Faye credits her parents, sisters and the girls’ college that she attended with drilling the importance of speaking up into her head.
Social media: A boon despite trolls
The 39-year-old considers social media a serious form of communication, content distribution and marketing. “It’s a massive boon for me, even with the harsh trolling that’s worse for women than men,” she says. “But I’m learning to live around the trolling.”
Faye made her social media debut with Orkut in 2006 and now mostly uses Instagram, where she went from 35k followers to over 799k during the lockdown. She also started a YouTube channel, which had 150k subscribers within a month. “On the Internet, all they care about is authenticity, so tone matters most,” Faye says, confessing that it’s now natural for her dog to bark and even run through the frame given that Faye works from home. “That’s the real me – there are no lights or cameras or perfection.”
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