I’m not normally one to wade into a twitter row, but something got my goat so much recently that I had to say my piece, which is why this week’s post is a little early! It was like a little irritating stone in my shoe at first which I tried to ignore, and ended up throwing my shoe at the wall!
Watching the whole thing has set a fire off in my belly. So I decided to do what a writer does with that energy and write about it.
Let me rewind. Yesterday I saw on Instagram that someone had started a petition to get a the release of a Netflix show called “Insatiable” cancelled. They called it disgusting for body shaming. I raised an eyebrow but I didn’t think much more of it. Then this morning, I saw someone else share the same petition on Instagram. At this point I began to wonder how these people had already seen the show to be so offended.
Later I saw that an argument had kicked off about the same show on twitter too so I decided to find out a little more.
It turns out it had all been started by the release of the show’s trailer, which told the story of someone who had been bullied for being fat, went away, lost weight and then sought revenge on her classmates in extreme ways. It seems a number of people had interpreted it as something which condoned or made fun of body shaming. That is their prerogative and it is also their prerogative not to watch it.
However, and this is what made me incandescent with rage, if the only thing they had seen was the trailer and, based on that alone, chose to judge it and call for it to be banned (yes, banned, censored, restricted, book-burned), that is completely unacceptable to me.
Just as unacceptable as body shaming is.
Calling for something you haven’t seen to be banned?
How is that okay?
What about that thing called free speech?
Ever heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”?
This post isn’t a commentary on whether the show is offensive or not (I haven’t seen it, I wouldn’t know), but it’s a cry of frustration on society’s speed of judgement. This is just one example of the kind of wilful (conscious or not) misunderstanding that happens every day in all walks of life (though mainly on twitter, in politics and in the irresponsible sections of the media).
If people had taken the time to watch the show, consider it and then decide it was offensive or condoned fat shaming, then by all means they should criticise it to their hearts content. Tell their story of why they think it’s inappropriate and what the alternatives might be.
It’s so important for people to tell their stories and share their perspectives. But know it is possible to do so without criticising or condemning everyone who does not share it. And know it is possible to hear a different view point without immediately trying to dismiss or disparage it.
But to be judgmental about something claiming it is judgemental is the most enormous hypocrisy. The irony makes me want to weep for humanity.
This is why ‘the left’ get a bad name as “condescending liberal elitists”. This sort of behaviour feeds that stereotype. It makes me deeply uncomfortable.
People want so badly to take the moral high ground that they rush to judgement (maybe for fear of being criticised as prejudiced by their peers?), ignore nuance, context and attention to detail. But this behaviour just increases polarisation and devision, the very thing they seem to be be seeking to defeat. Instead of being part of the solution, which I truly believe to be the intention, they just become part of the problem.
What happened to tolerance?
It’s a facepalm-inducing paradox
I believe deeply that cognitive bias, where people only see the evidence which agrees with their point of you (and ignore anything which may contradict it), is what perpetuates conflict and devision. It’s the scourge of our society.
Why can’t we all just take a little more time to actually engage with people whose opinions differ from our own?
Would that be so hard?
If we are so certain in our own beliefs, why do we fear it or respond with aggression when someone challenges them?
You’re never going to change someone’s mind by telling them they are wrong. You need to ask them why they think they are right.
I get so infuriated that people are so lightning quick to judge.
I include myself in this because I have been guilty of doing the same thing (newsflash, I’m human and fallible). Seeing a Tory on the news and assuming they are a certain way before listening to a word of what they have to say. It feels good to be up there on that high horse, knowing you would never be as evil as that villain on the tv. But that is my ego talking. Villians are never 100% villains, even in kids pantos. So I try to catch myself doing it and situations like this remind me to stay vigilant (he’s behind you!).
Mostly people are just trying their best, so give them a break!
People are always going to have differences of opinions and it’s time we all learned to respect that more.
Debate ideas, have the difficult conversations, challenge beliefs, educate, tell your story. But also be open-minded, listen to others’ stories and ideas. It is SO important to challenge our own thoughts, learn new perspectives and consider new possibilities. If people didn’t do this we would all still think the world is flat.
If people are respectful to others and not preaching hate or doing harm, then let them think what they like – even if you believe it’s wrong. There are very few moral absolutes in this world so who is one single person to decide what is right for everyone? Even God fucked that up!
My plea is simple; Before you judge anyone, anything, anywhere, just think a little more and do some research, you might surprise yourself.
There endeth the sermon!
Big love to all and everyone