Making The World A Better Place Is Not An Excuse To Shame Anyone On Social Media

Making The World A Better Place Is Not An Excuse To Shame Anyone On Social Media

In an age where we have the internet and the ability to communicate with millions of people, the prevalence of social media shaming is an issue that we need to address immediately.
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We live in such an amazing yet scary time where we can put anything on the internet for millions of people to see. And while social media has facilitated creativity, individualism and communication unknown to the world before, it also comes with its own set of problems. The internet has more recently become a breeding ground for hate, bigotry and misunderstanding.

It seems everyone has found a place on there, from innovative speakers sharing new ideas to ignorant attention-seekers. However, these platforms also give the audience their own power: the comments section. With one quick click of a mouse, we can become the vigilante defenders of social justice. We can wreak havoc on those who deserve it. Anyone who has posted racist or misogynistic content can be taken down in an instant.

But just as racism and misogyny show a lack of understanding and hatred towards other groups, is it really in our best interest to reflect that lack of understanding and hatred back at them? Some justify this by saying that these people deserve a shaming because they're bad people. However, I see that as an attempt to rationalize or minimize the impact of social media shaming.

It's just like war to me.

Regardless of whatever side you're on, you're still killing people who may have a family to go home to. The soldiers on both sides are just trying to fight for their countries, and while the country they're fighting for may have malicious intent, the soldiers themselves have done nothing wrong but follow orders to "kill the enemy." In this sense, social media shaming is a new type of warfare. Though the ideas we follow may be "good" or "bad," the people are not.

With that being said, we should not tear down others. But should we not take action against bigotry? In the face of two conflicting values, where should we draw the line?

In order to draw the line, we must understand why people do this. The root of social media shaming seems to come down to three key issues. In theory, the idea of accepting everyone sounds pretty nice, until someone posts something completely stupid. This seems to be the first problem: when we see people with opinions different to us, we can't seem to contain the urge to shame them in ways completely unrelated to their point in the first place.

In fact, the logical fallacy of ad hominem stems from the fact that we get too emotional during a debate. And while it's completely OK to debate on issues to express or influence opinions, it's illogical to insult them as a person, instead of what they stand up for.

Let's use Justine Sacco as an example.

A few years ago, an offhanded tweet from her managed to turn into a Twitter firestorm. Just before going on a flight to South Africa, she tweeted to her 200 or so followers, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding, I'm white!" In a matter of a few hours, her tweet had gone viral.

Now, I'm going to give an example of an appropriate response and one that is not. While it would've been okay to say something like,"Your tweet is racist, insensitive and not very appropriate for a PR director," most people decided to blow it out of proportion. They decided it would be a good idea to call her a slut, a b*tch or say that she should've gotten AIDS.

In doing so, they embodied the same insensitivity and ignorance that they criticized her tweet for. Words hurt. And while joking about AIDS and white exceptionalism may be offensive, tweets telling someone to kill themselves are destructive.

The second problem (and the one I find the most interesting) is the power of the bandwagon. There seems to be something communal in the entire world banding together to destroy a person. I think this is what makes social media shaming enjoyable. We can make friends, share jokes and have fun all at the expense of a person being targeted. It creates a sense of unity among people whose common goal is to judge people who do not fit in with our current societal norms and expectations.

In fact, the shaming bandwagon is the reason why we choose to keep insulting a person, even after they are already ruined. I honestly don't think many people were truly offended by Justine's tweet. I think they chose to be offended in order to hop on the bandwagon and dole out a serving of justice which, of course, leads me to the last problem.

We all like to imagine ourselves as little batmans running around and stopping hate. Though we can "make the world a better place" at what expense? It seems the reason we demand apologies is so we can dismiss them and insult a person even further for being "fake." It's so hard to convince the world you're capable of remorse after you've screwed up.

We are never satisfied, and it is never enough. Once someone says something disagreeable, they are called a racist, a monster or an evil person. However, these are all just tactics to distance ourselves from others.

The truth is: we like to shame others, but we don't like to feel bad about it. All of these words are thrown around to demonize a person so we can avoid understanding them or thinking about the pain they go through when they see tweets like this. In doing so, we justify our insults based on our limited knowledge of that person and take away from the severity of a word.

It seems that today, everyone can be a racist, a monster or a villain because of one insignificant tweet that makes them a bad person. I don't know if we're trying to make the world a better place or satisfy the need to feel better about ourselves by "standing up for a cause."

So, I think I've found the line for social media shaming. While the internet can be a valuable tool to share opinions and hold others accountable for their actions, it is slowly becoming a toxic environment where we can band together to obliterate the minority. It is a place with a black and white ideology where we can't accept the fact that humans are stupid and magnificent at the same time. What we are doing is ensuring conformity.

In working towards a utopia, we stifle or oppress any person who disagrees. That's why utopias along with dystopias are a bad thing: they limit the diversity that is so wonderful in our world. We shouldn't have too much ugliness, but too much beauty is also scary because of what it takes to get there. So, next time it's hard to leave an annoying comment alone, just remember: you're making the world a better place by not making the world a better place.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

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4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

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9. I am the way I am because...

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10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

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What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

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Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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