Random thoughts on social media, feminism and bullying

talk but don't say anything

Recently there was an issue of plagiarism, of one of my articles being published under someone else’s name and I reacted in anger, which was completely justified. Then a few of my friends jumped in and supported me, which I liked, and which the other party did not. And like it is on social media, there was debate, discussion, name calling, people taking sides, etc. etc. etc. That is why it is called social media. It is social. There is connection. There are sides.

Anyway, the matter rapidly escalated to the “aggrieved party” threatening to sue me and some of my supporters and friends. That we were cyberbullying. That we are pseudo feminists, trolls, and worse.

So I want to raise a question here. If we have an opinion, is it okay to voice it on our timeline? After all, it is our status, our opinion, our timeline.

And secondly, if God help us, we have an opinion, we are trolled and called names because we are feminists! And if we don’t have an opinion, we are spineless!!!

And thirdly, there is the issue of entitlement. How some people are entitled to be angry, ride an issue, but we can’t. What is all that all about???

As I sit here, being attacked, called names and more, from so called friends, people I do not know, friends of friends, etc., I reflect on the fact that social media is no longer social. That it is a battleground and you can be attacked and trolled anytime.

And when does social media become anti social?

In addition, has the world become too obsessed with labels and being politically correct? Where you need to censor anything before you say it because you may offend some marginalised community? Where you cannot have humour any more?

Which brings me back to the question I am really engaging with these days, how much does social media waste our time? How much does it kill our creativity? And does one need to engage? On the other hand, it raises questions, begs us to ask questions that would not have arisen otherwise. And in this world of increasing solitude and loneliness, is social media the new playground?

Today, I am full of questions. And while I have the answers, if I express them, is that considered cyberbullying or feminist?!

Oh, the world is one crazy, sweet, exasperating place. And so I put on the music, make some chai, and go and watch the clouds in the early morning sky.

Art: fatcap.com

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2 Comments

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  1. I know neither of you, other than what I have read on your blogs, your Twitter handles and of course, via the Women’s Web apology note. Yes, you were right to react when you felt that your article was plagiarised. It’s also right that you have friends who jumped to defend you. I know I have those too.

    But and here’s the nub of it, social media is a knee-jerk response to every single thing. We never think before we facebook or tweet. We always react and rarely respond. You apologised for what happened. I read that on your blog and I appreciate the fact that you did it. But it was a bit difficult to get past some of the really mean comments made by some of your friends with reference to the other individual. Social media is a powerful tool and with one hastily placed tweet we can bring down another person. I don’t blame the other party for feeling aggrieved and not wanting to let go of the situation. It takes time to heal and even longer to forgive.

    Once again, I don’t know enough about anyone in this scenario to make any judgment calls. We are all human. We make mistakes. We apologise and hope for the best. Also, there is a thin line between being politically correct and being kind.

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