When did it become okay to take photos and videos of strangers and put them online? Not just in a ‘Fifty Most Hideous Family Portraits’ way, but as an everyday comment on your surroundings? Why is ‘internet shaming’ an acceptable thing for us to be doing to each other? Now maybe I’m just a paranoid old fanackypants with disappointingly thin hair, fluctuating self-confidence and a questionable taste in clothes, but I think I resent this trend not only because I’m scared someone will do it to me, but because I think it’s – to be a bit old-fashioned about it – hugely ill-mannered.
My Twitter feed is full of it – particularly in this heat, where people (sensibly) wear fewer clothes. So someone you deem as unattractive got their body out a bit, feel free to judge them if you like (silently, in your head), but don’t go and bloody DOCUMENT their failings as you see them. We talk a lot on there about how shamefully the media treats women celebrities, but it’s just as grotty when any of us post photos of other ordinary people for the crimes of dressing worse/having a higher body fat percentage than us. I don’t really feel like sharing a photograph going, “Ugh, look at her shit shoes” is furthering any particular cause I want to be part of.
Do we judge people on their appearances? Yep, all the time. I probably do it to every single person I see and sometimes (because I’m not always a nice person) I think some pretty horrible things. In order to maintain the fiction that I’m not an utter cunt, though, I find that my snidey commentary is better left unexpressed. Even if a person is dressed like a uberwang deluxe, it’s not that big a crime really is it, compared to, ooh I dunno, secretly taking their photo and splashing it all over the internet for lots of people to laugh at. Can you image how gut-wrenchingly horrible it would feel if you suspected someone across from you on a train was photographing/recording you because they’d decided you were somehow less well dressed than they are? What would you even do? If you challenged them, I imagine they’d deny it, and it’s not like you’re going to demand to look on their phone, is it? You’d end up feeling like an utter worm.
That whole scenario feels pretty ‘Mean Girls’ to me, and I don’t really want any part of it. I was bullied once for the way I looked, and I’m not that keen about doing it to anyone else. So what, you are better-looking/better dressed than that person you’re sneakily spying on? WELL DONE, YOU. You must be a better person with better morals and stuff, surely. Finally – if you aren’t sure whether or not it’s a bit of a cunt’s trick to do this, try asking your parents/grandparents/any old people you find knocking around. Pretty sure they’ll cuff you round the back of the neck.