Sunday 21st March
Today I battled the dark side of online communication and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve described in previous posts how the internet is a godsend for keeping in touch with the outside world while in quarantine, and it is, but the outside world doesn’t necessarily know how to use the power responsibly.
Somebody I follow on Instagram posted a picture, nothing special, just one of the many quarantine-related memes that are being circulated to keep our spirits up. You’ve probably already seen it or some version of it:
In no time at all the woman who posted it was attacked by dozens of comments accusing her of “fat-shaming”, “fatphobia” and aggressively demanding that she remove the post because it was “offensive”, “insensitive” or “inappropriate”. Some comments were more condescending, asking her to “think before posting” or suggesting she educate herself on eating disorders and body image issues.
Aside from completely missing the point of the joke, which is clearly about boredom snacking in quarantine with limited opportunity to exercise and not a slur on fat people (let’s use the word “fat” since that’s the word used by the protesters), these snowflakes absolutely expect the post to be removed just because they don’t like it. They acknowledge that the post was meant in good fun and that the person who posted it suffers from body image issues herself; they even acknowledge that many others disagree with them but they expect their own opinions to take priority. Anybody else pointing out that it’s just a relatable joke because it plays on our real fears and that humour is a very healthy way of dealing with the current situation gets shot down with even more cries of “fatphobia”, “lack of empathy” and even personal insults.
Yes, you read that right. The same people demanding the picture be removed because it’s “fat-shaming” and “offensive” are making direct, personal insults about the physical appearance of the people who disagree with them and some have resorted to calling the original poster “skinny”! The double standard is mind-blowing!
Of course, people the world over have issues and triggers, but where the issues relate to their own self-esteem they cannot expect others to shoulder the responsibility for making sure they don’t get offended, and they certainly do not have the right to attack and shame others who disagree with them.
I don’t know whether this level of aggression is borne from increased anxiety over the coronavirus situation, whether these people are venting their boredom and frustration over being stuck at home in confinement or whether they’re genuinely nasty, selfish people taking the opportunity to impose their bitterness on others, but I am truly appalled at this behaviour and the attacks levelled at the poor woman who posted it.
It’s just at times like this when I want to get out and make contact with real flesh and blood people, but of course I can’t right now nor for a while yet. Thankfully, I also have good friends on Instagram in a group chat, where we hang out to natter about our shared interests, to rant and let off steam and to put the world to rights. Yesterday Tumblr may have been my oasis but today my Instagram friends have been my salvation.