There is a culture of popularity gods in our society, we have become a society that treats celebrities & ‘social media stars’ as if they are not human beings. We put people on pedestals because they are popular. We listen to them more closely than we do our own elders, we value their opinions more than we value the words of our own neighbors. We form images & ideas about who they are based on the persona shown to us & neglect the fact that they are indeed complex human beings, just like the rest of us. We buy what they endorse, simply because they have endorsed it. We blindly support who they support & oppose who they oppose. Of course this is not new, this has been happening for a long time but I chose to write this letter now because of all of the blind judgment I’ve seen on social media recently. From Bill Cosby to Fabolous, Emily B., Kelis & many more. The fact is we do not know these people to condemn nor exonerate them, we do not know them personally, we cannot be character witnesses. We believe the characters they play, the personas curated by their publicist teams so thoroughly that we forget we do not actually know them.
We have become a society that has chosen to negate the fact that celebrities are just human beings. Actors, actresses, directors, producers, singers, rappers, dancers, television & radio hosts, models & ‘social media stars’ are all just human beings! Have we also become a society incapable of being objective?
Women are condemned for speaking about abuse if the alleged abuser is popular & beloved. Women are dismissed & called liars for speaking about sexual assault if the alleged perpetrator is popular & beloved. Men are immediately condemned, without evidence, by the people who are not their “fan”. While evidence is denied by the ones who are. Women are criticized for speaking their truth, men are ridiculed for breaking their silence. The “court of public opinion” breaks apart careers but more often than not these opinions are subjective & not objectively based on fact. We dismiss & disrespect people who don’t like the content of the same celebrities we like. We tell celebrities to shut up & ‘stay in their lane’ when we don’t agree with what they have to say. We disregard their basic right to privacy & demand every detail of their personal lives. We type hateful words into their comment sections & tell them that this is what they’ve signed up for.
Social media has amplified groupthink.
Our actions on social media affect people in real life. Every time we dismiss a woman for publicly speaking on abuse there is a young girl blaming herself for the bruises. Every time we ridicule a man for publicly speaking on assault there is a young boy afraid to seek justice. Every time we discredit a woman for publicly speaking on sexual assault there is a young girl second guessing her own voice. It’s time to stop and think about what kind of society are we shaping for our future generations.
I want to make it clear that I do not “blame” social media for this, like many other issues in our society, social media has simply amplified & magnified it.