I love the internet. All of it. I love Facebook, I love blogs, I love Huffington Post, I love Twitter wars even though I still haven’t quite grasped the concept. I love the memes and the emoticons and all of that shit. I’m a part of a couple of separate groups on the book face and love the sense of community. I spend a lot of time perusing online and interacting with people I haven’t met in real life. (Yet.) That being said, with this significant amount of screen time, there’s a lot of things that drive me crazy about the online community. Some of the words/phrases/taglines which are now a normal part of our lexicon that started out on the internet make me nuts, and sometimes I’ve found myself literally sitting on my hands trying not to comment on a Facebook post about politics that I know no good will come of.
Most of it, I’ve learned to just ignore. For instance, I now know better than to read the comments on any story that could be considered remotely polarizing. If it has to do with race, religion, politics, or how to raise a child, I steer clear of the comment section. Mostly for my own sanity, because if anything makes you question your faith in the human race, it’s the comments section on an article about at what age it’s safe to leave your child at home alone (never is the correct answer, according to most.) On a side note to this, I don’t know how you parents do it. If I had kids I think I would have to turn off the internet forever. According to the internet, you are ALWAYS doing something wrong. I’m already steeling for the next election, as I’ve learned that politics bring out the stupid in everyone on both sides and really, there’s no point in engaging. No one wins these arguments; the chances of someone changing their entire belief system based on my Facebook comment are pretty low. And yet the temptation is still high.
But nothing – NOTHING – gets me more crazy than the “shaming.” You know what I’m talking about. Fat shaming, slut shaming, clothes shaming, blond shaming, etc., everyone and everything can be shamed on the internet. Hell, we do it to our cats and dogs. Any action or reaction can be considered shaming. Got laughed at on the beach? Fat shamed. Got smirked at wearing a short skirt? Slut shamed. Didn’t have a date to a wedding and someone remarked upon it? Single shamed.
I don’t believe anyone should be shamed for being themselves. Hey, you want to wear a bikini but don’t have the “perfect” body for it? Fucking go for it. Love short skirts? Wear ’em. Everywhere. Big fan of 40’s style dresses in the middle of winter? Do you, man, and don’t let anyone tell you not to. But understand me – if someone side-eyes your out of this world outfit, or raises an eyebrow at your miniskirt, or points at your bathing suit – you’re not being shamed. You’re probably being laughed at. It’s not nice, and sure, in my world, none of this would happen. But not everything is being shamed. Sometimes? People are just making fun of you. And that’s okay. It happens to me all the time.
Look, no one in the world wants a society where everyone is accepting of each other and happy with themselves more than me. Ask anyone I know – I will defend anyone and everyone’s right to be themselves and be happy with it. And certainly, the terms above exist and happen. I’m not making light of that. What I have a problem with is every time I turn on my tablet, I see another article about how someone was “shamed,” in some way or another, and it’s getting out of control. I brought examples and everything. See below.
Teacher Lunch Shames Mom for Sending Kid to School with Oreos.
Lunch shamed?? Are you even kidding me right now? You were LUNCH SHAMED?? No. This is not a real thing. Your kid’s teacher sent home a note questioning your choices. While I personally disagree with said teacher and would certainly be sending my child to school the rest of the week with nothing but Snickers and Doritos covered in fudge sauce in their lunch box, this is not shaming. Lunch shamed. Seriously. Look at that. Look at it again. Lunch shamed. Does that actually sound like a thing to you?
I Was Gluten Shamed in the Liquor Store
Yeah, read that one again. Look, I get the whole gluten-free movement, and anyone suffering from Celiac disease has my sympathy because it’s a giant pain in the ass to try and eat gluten free, and yeah, I’m sure you get a lot of shit from people who are tired of dealing with people like myself who stay away from gluten because it’s the trendy thing to do. I get that. But no. You weren’t “gluten shamed.” BECAUSE THAT ISN’T A THING. Someone was a dick when you asked for gluten-free beer. Does it suck? Sure. Were you gluten shamed? Again, no, because that’s fucking ridiculous. Gluten shamed? Are you fucking kidding me?
I have more. There’s a blog post I read recently about a girl going without a bra for a year. Apparently people at her work and social circles pointed it out, and this was deemed slut shaming. I’m sorry, but it’s not. I respect and agree with the fact that any woman should be able to wear whatever she wants if she’s happy with it. But if you decide to conduct an experiment with the sole intention of gauging people’s reactions, please don’t be surprised when they react exactly as you would expect. If you’re swinging around double D’s without a bra – and seriously, how physically uncomfortable was this girl for an entire year? I have to put on a bra to walk into the living room- it’s not a shock that those around you notice it. That’s not slut shaming. That’s “wow, wouldn’t you be more comfortable with a bra??”
If all of the above were real things, I’ve been shamed many times this week. I was beer shamed when I asked where the Miller Lite was at the super hipster organic, IPA-filled store next to my gym. Speaking of the gym, I was gym shamed when I tripped getting on the elliptical and the guy next to me laughed. I was cat shamed when my mom told me – again – that my cat should be set free because he’s a dick. I was bus shamed when I asked someone to move their bag so I could sit down.
We need to stop whining. Seriously. People get made fun of, people point and laugh at the out of the ordinary. And yes, in a perfect world, that wouldn’t happen. We’d all be happy and singing songs holding hands around a campfire, and sure, I’d love that. But it isn’t going to happen. So instead of crying, “FOR SHAME,” at everything we don’t like, let’s concentrate on being okay with our own decisions and outfits and Lunchables, all right? Like I said before – do you. Be happy. Stop making mountains out of molehills. We’re all going to be okay.