I’ve been thinking this for awhile now, I think a lot of it is amplified by the internet and social media assisting people in becoming meaner or more opinionated than they would be face to face, but I’m not entirely sure. What I am becoming more and more certain of though, is that I feel as though we are living in a culture of hate – particularly in the U.S.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still many good, wonderful people – but I think even some of the best people fall prey to this attitude our society has adopted though, especially when it comes to things we see or read on the internet… and how we subsequently react to them by voicing our opinions on liking or disliking people we really know nothing at all about, and have never even met.
In other words, instead of treating them with the kindness we generally show strangers we would meet in person, we (as Gwyneth Paltrow – a woman who is seriously hated – said) “dehumanize” people online. Its bullying plain and simple, and it is something we should be trying to move away from in society. Paltrow was right. And guess what? Because she said that it is dehumanizing like men who engage in war have to do to their enemies, she was criticized and torn apart even more for the fact that she chose to mention war – how dare she!!!!
For people who understood what she meant, that its the same kind of dehumanization that allows for people to view others as “non-human,” we totally got it. For others, who just wanted something else to be angry and spew hatred at, the message of bullying and dehumanization was lost in translation.
I read a comment this morning that Taylor Swift wrote, herself, on a fan’s facebook page who was dealing with bullying at her school… this is not the first time she’s done something like this, she is genuinely someone who loves and cares about people she’s NEVER EVEN MET, something a lot of us nobodies could learn a lot from.
Many people hate Taylor Swift… and I literally mean many many people hate this young woman. They might mask it with saying that they really just “don’t like her,” or that they “hate her voice,” but the ugly, dehumanizing comments and carefully gilded over negative “opinions” don’t pass.
Its one thing when a public figure does something reprehensible – something that truly points to their having bad character – that you decide you don’t like about them, and its another when we just decide to hate strangers for trivial reasons.
Reading this made me so sad because I love seeing you in your videos and photos being so happy and wide eyed, like the world isn’t as harsh and unfair as it actually is. I hate thinking about your pretty face covered in tears, but I know why you’re crying because I’ve been in your place. This isn’t a high school thing or an age thing. It’s a people thing. A life thing. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t end or change. People cut other people down for entertainment, amusement, out of jealousy, because of something broken inside them. Or for no reason at all.
It’s just what they do, and you’re a target because you live your life loudly and boldly. You’re bright and joyful and so many people are cynical. They won’t understand you and they won’t understand me. But the only way they win is if your tears turn to stone and make you bitter like them. It’s okay to ask why. It’s okay to wonder how you could try so hard and still get stomped all over. Just don’t let them change you or stop you from singing or dancing around to your favorite song.
You’re going into high school this week and this is your chance to push the reset button on how much value you give the opinion of these kids, most of whom have NO idea who they are. I’m so proud of you and protective of you because you DO. If they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.
Every time someone picks on me, I’ll think of you in the hopes that every time someone picks on you, you’ll think of me… and how we have this thread that connects us. Let them keep living in the darkness and we’ll keep walking in the sunlight.
Forever on your side, Taylor.