Today’s little post is not what I would normally write about. I am normally not one to openly share any negative opinions about things, choosing to be polite, and I live by the saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I keep my mouth shut, and I stay out of trouble. That is how I have always lived, even when things got tough and overwhelming and I could feel all those intense emotions just waiting to pop out. I know now that this is a very unhealthy way to live, and through trial and error, I am finding a way to be truthful, yet not callous. I passionately believe that there is a way, to be honest, and yet not harsh. I believe that there is always a time and place for certain types of expression and that words are powerful and sometimes more hurtful than any weapon or physical force.
This is precisely why I find it so baffling about today’s society’s preference to be scathing (oftentimes bordering on cruel) when it comes to voicing their negative opinions, especially when it comes to subjective institutions such as entertainment and the arts. To be clear, I am not talking about negative reviews and opinions in general. This is something that no one can really avoid, especially with social media nowadays. This is something that I have noticed on Twitter and Instagram when there are negative reviews about entertainment such as TV series and books. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even negative, but what surprises me the most is when people actually send these reviews/opinions to or tag the artist/writer/actors that were a part of the projects being commented on. Adrienne Young, debut author of Sky in the Deep had also discussed the effects of social media on artists and creatives, and her words inspired me to speak up about this myself.
I’m sure that many others can agree with me when I say that people on the Internet can be… cruel, to say the least, when it comes to voicing their opinions online. And I’m sure that a few of you have experienced this. I’m not afraid to say that I have. A few years ago, when ask.fm was all the rage, I participated; but was soon disillusioned when I started receiving some nasty comments about my family, and myself. It greatly affected me and is probably one of the reasons why I’m still plagued by the fear of actually creating something for myself. I know that there are people out there who are always going to compare me to someone else, someone better, someone more successful. Again, words hurt, and they leave scars. But as you can see, that isn’t stopping me from trying, from speaking my voice, from making an effort, even when this act of entitlement has spread.
The point that I am trying to make here is that today’s enjoyment of negative and cruel reviews and opinions reflects the entitlement that has run unchecked amongst Western society, especially amongst the younger generations, and my generation; it is toxic, unhealthy, and it has to stop. The fact that this sense of entitlement has permeated into commenting on people’s personal choices such as their mental health, their values, and even their choices about what they choose to do with their own bodies, is outrageous and appalling. Yes, everyone has an opinion, but it does not give you the right to push said opinion onto someone else just because you disagree, or because you see things differently. It also does not give you the right to harass a person because of this. If everyone saw the world in the same way, it would be quite a different place.
I don’t understand why being respectful and kind was replaced with a need to push your own opinions on others, as well as to demand that your opinion be taken seriously, even when you’re essentially ripping someone’s hard work into shreds just because you don’t agree with everything that has been written/portrayed. You can voice your opinions and not use harsh words or put someone down. You can discuss topics and values and not let it get personal. You can be negative without being unkind.
So that’s it from me for today. What do you think of today’s comment culture? Let’s discuss!
Written by: Alexia DeBono
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