8/4/14: This post has been edited to remove direct quotes from others, as I was wrong to do so. I acted in the heat of the moment which led to this post becoming about specific people when my aim was to be broad. Not because, as I was told, I could be prosecuted nor has anything I have written been a lie. However, what I posted I stand behind and do not have any regrets in voicing my own opinion as every single other person on this planet is entitled to do so. I used a personal experience to enhance my point about social media, I did not intend to offend.
In this day and age of social media, anyone and everyone can have an opinion and freely post it for the world to access. This is a blessing and a curse. It paves the way for celebrities to interact with fans one on one, allows distant relatives/friends to stay in contact and offers campaigners a platform unlike anything else. The negative however, is when people think, that behind the protection of the screen, can say what ever they want regardless of respect, empathy or compassion. Yet when challenged backtrack and catch themselves in their own web of ignorance and immaturity. In extreme cases some are taken to court and prosecuted over their comments, some have been brought to court for breaching gag order conditions in rape cases. Another case and point is the 2012 jailing of student Liam Stacey who was jailed for 56 days, pleading guilty to the Racially Aggrevated s4A public order act 1986, over his racist tweet concerning footballer Fabrice Muamba after he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch.
I won’t lie I have posted things about celebrities and maybe the odd frustrated heat of the moment comment about people around me. I would never post, think or say anything homophobic or racist to anyone and I endeavor to stay away from appearing bullyish as I have been bullied throughout my life. Certain things I regret, others I hold my hands high and honestly stand behind having no issue in saying it to whomever’s face if the chance arose.
Does anyone believe that saying outrageous things on a Twitter or Facebook page will go by unnoticed? We all have the right to freedom of speech but it works every which way, I merely believe that if you come across something that isn’t morally or ethically right to say then you have to stand up to it.
Well something happened tonight that made me passionate enough to write this post, something that was termed ‘overreacting’ by a male friend lets call him B. A different male friend, lets call him A, posted a status regarding the death of Peaches Geldof and how his news feed was full of posts regarding her sudden death yet 279 people are missing presumed dead (the missing MH-730 Malaysian Air plane) and no where near as many posted about that. Essentially, whether his intent or not, judging those who wanted to post their condolence about the sudden, unexplained death of a 25 year old mother who has left behind a father, sisters, husband and two babies. After reading Sir Bob Geldof’s heart wrenching statement I just thought A was being so incredibly disrespectful to post a status in such callous a manner. I commented my opinion, that I believed he was being incredibly rude and disrespectful, his post lacked empathy and that whilst both are tragedies you cannot compare the two as both are entirely different circumstance. What ensued absolutely enraged me, I was told by A and B that there is no reason to feel sad/empathy as it was apparently a drug related death and therefore her own fault (the death is being treated a sudden - no suspicious circumstance so where they got that is unknown as it only happened this afternoon), that she was just some celebrity and not a real person and how he wasn’t comparing them or judging anyone. I was simply trying to say that even though she was a celebrity doesn’t mean she meant any less than anyone else. At the end of the day a young woman died suddenly leaving two young babies motherless - which I personally have empathy for. I thought it was quite disrespectful to rubbish other peoples expression of that same compassion, if you disagree fine but don’t try and make others feel that their opinion is wrong and “celebrity obsessed”.
If his point was that its mad how it seems more people care about one celebrity than a group of noncelebrities and how mad that was to him then he is right. It is mad how, en masse, that celebrities appear to get more news coverage but in this scenario it cannot be brought into the same sentence nor can you compare peoples reactions. The two are very different tragedies that no doubt moved people, everyone has a right to react and express their feelings in what ever way they please. It is shocking that one may seem to get more acknowledgement but the fact still remains its hardly a comparable circumstance. I have seen many statuses/tweets/news articles about that missing plane.It’s shocking how the families have been treated by the airline. Personally, I feel greatly for those people who frankly may never know how their loved ones went missing and, presumably, died. Same compassion I feel for those two babies, her husband and the rest of the Geldof family.
His point seemed to criticise the people he has on his news feed for seemingly being more ‘celebrity obsessed’ than concerned over 279 missing people, he did not put that across very well as the status appeared heavy with judgement and criticism. It isn’t okay for anyone to post something that makes somebody else feel that their opinion isn’t worth while, that their emotions cannot be expressed and that those very emotions are wrong.
We all have free speech, people can post what they want but it just isn’t fair to rubbish or trivialise someone’s expression of feeling in such a demeaning way. Or in such a way that demeans someones LIFE.
I am not stating that this was his intention. I know he isn’t a bad person, but my point is how words can be misconstrued. A person has be aware of the impact of their words that they choose to put out into that public forum. I saw judgement, he saw a messed up order of priorities that some people have - both are right to a degree.
Can a person not express their opinion against anothers or is one person right no matter what he or she says? Just because we disagreed does not mean that you are right and I am wrong or visaversa.
I raised the point that he should have respect for her family yet that was irrelevant as her family wouldn’t see it. How does that make it okay to sit behind a computer screen and say what ever if that particular person or anyone they know will see it? I am certain Kanye West will never see the things I’ve tweeted about him, does that make it okay? No, although I have never attacked him on a personal level, only on media reported quotes or actions. Which honestly I don’t regret as the man has said some ridiculous things. The minute you start to tear someone down on a personal level over looks or family or any sensitive level, you’re going to far.
I could not take being told to stop judging A and B, as A isn’t judging anyone and to “bore of”. In all honesty, when I was told I had overreacted and I was the only one hurt in all this I couldn’t help but think ‘is it because I’m a woman?’ B thinks this whole debate is ‘all fun’. I certainly wasn’t having fun.
I am not calling my dear dear friend a sexist, I know him to the core and know he is utterly respectful of women. I put that together in my head as I’ve read a lot about feminism lately. I couldn’t help but start to ponder of his choice of word, not malicious or chosen for a purpose but still a word seemingly associated with the feminine. Women over react, are over dramatic, are over sensitive to things. Is there a way to say the same to man? Would it possibly be a different conversation if I was male? Is it easier to be passionate and put your point across, to be heard, if you are male? Are certain outbursts on social media understood or misunderstood for that matter, because of gender? Or is it easier to dismiss a comment because of it? I think so, in some cases.
Nobody can dare try and demean a point of view simply because it’s a woman’s. In my case, yes I am offended that you find it acceptable to try and trivialise someone’s daughter, wife, mother simply because of their role in the spotlight or how ever many people posted about it. Yes I will comment because you know what - you are not always right. .
in the end I posted this and just turned off my notifications:
"whatever, if you want to try and make out its "only fun" go ahead. I’m done. Free country, free opinions therefore I don’t have to stop talking ust because its you who has said something. (he previously stated I am ‘yet to stop talking its incredible’) All Im saying is have some respect for a mourning family, and that these two cases cannot be compared. Something you’re now saying A when initially you were and still are comparing them. People can post what they wanna post and other s can have opinions about that post. if you can’t handle that don’t post such shit"
I think everyone needs to think very carefully before they post, you aren’t some young idiotic teenager so don’t act like one and even if you are still don’t act like one. Use your brain to realise that actually what you said was rude, lacking empathy and disrespectful. Don’t think it goes unnoticed, people read it people take notice. You get back what you put out in the world and just because you’re distanced from a situation doesn’t mean you can say what ever negativities.
Think before you act, for I will not back down just because you think I should. I will stand up for my own beliefs as much as I suspect you will for yours. Don’t think you can laugh it off and dismiss my argument simply as it is opposite to yours. I know that the conversation I was a part of tonight got out of hand due to heated minds and heated hearts. I know that there wasn’t a true cruel motive there, I also know that no matter how you spin it it’s disrespectful to other people to post something belittling their expression of emotion or condolence.
Just think before you type, and be prepared cause not everyone will agree with you but that doesn’t mean they should shut up and keep quiet.