How You Feel Shouldn’t Excuse How You Behave
The internet has been quite a bleak place this last week, and with good reason. The men who collect and share pictures of women without their consent are deplorable, and none of us should have time for them. It’s not something that should legally be allowed to happen.
How we react to these situations is the true mark of how we’ll continue to deal with poor behaviour. Generally, if you’re online you’ll notice that reactions from most people come from places of hurt, but they also come from anger, malice, contempt, and a general lack of any willingness to consider another point of view. It can be frustrating to be apart of, or even just to watch.
Of course, all people have their ways of thinking. Some express their thoughts, some don’t. Neither are wrong for doing either. When we do express our thoughts, I think it’s important that we ask ourselves whether what’s we’re saying is helpful or combative.
More often than not, on Twitter anyway, the thought is combative by design. We’re rewarded on there for being aggressive, and coming up with the best ‘fuck you’ to the opposing team. It’s not good for anyone’s head.
This week for example, the news broke about the server leak which was truly shocking. What unfolded after was in part, a garbage fire of finger pointing, blaming, and general hate. It’s always struck me as problematic that we react to bad behaviour with more bad behaviour.
The reason being that this mindset doesn’t propagate desirable outcomes for all parties, rather it encourages revenge, or ‘getting equal’ as the end goal, which is terrifying.
Society fails women in lots of aspects. Society also fails men in lots of aspects. There are no winners. The society that props up any one gender at the expense of another doesn’t exist. We’re all failed by society in some degree.
The fundamental problem is a very old one. We still rely on tribalism. We still rely on Us vs. Them in so many aspects of society.
Since social media took hold, this situation has dsimproved rather than improve. We judge someone based on their immutable characteristics now more than any other time in my life. Things have, and are, getting worse.
I think there’s a universal issue with self-awareness. We can’t be rightly offended by unfair treatment of one group, but turn around and demand unfair treatment of another group. We shouldn’t be tolerant of things only because they are things that we’re invested in.
If you want to talk progression, then you need to be open to the idea that your opinion is wrong. What happened with the image abuse scandal was absolutely awful, but the fallout wasn’t exactly inspiring either. Instead of pulling together and raising the bar, we all stood around, blinded by rage and screamed at each other.
Being angry doesn’t give you an excuse, or the right, to lash out and dehumanize other people. It never has and it never will. The worry is that more and more people think it’s okay to demonize entire groups because they are angry at individuals. When that’s happened historically, it has never, ever ended well.
Our mental health depends, to a certain degree, on how other people treat us. If we truly care about mental health as much as we tweet about it, then we should show compassion before we say awful things out of anger online.