History is filled with injustices, real and imaginary. Our definition of injustice has been watered downed so much that tangible injustices are ignored, and every inappropriate behavior becomes a cause to battle.
How we choose to define injustice says more about our understanding of the real world we live in or the hyper-sensitive world created by faux crusaders that currently surrounds us. “Body shaming” may be a new term to many of you, but its roots date back to the beginning of time. Regardless of the term used, what happened to some attendees of the Portsmouth High School senior prom may be unfortunate but hardly warranted of the attention it received.
This past week New Hampshire citizens found themselves subjected to another false injustice. Joining the “Red-Tail Hawk Scandal of 2015,” is the even less significant “Prom Dress Empowerment” movement. Is our world so short of real crises that now we must hold rallies because a few people posted stupid statements that will be long forgotten? Gone are the days of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” replaced with overreaction and misguided righteous indignation. What many have forgotten is that words only have power if we give it to them.
Seacoastonline.com posted a series of pictures of attendees at this year’s Portsmouth High School senior prom. Some uncouth readers took the opportunity to show their crassness by posting comments about the attire of some of the female attendees. Now in fairness, the comments were unnecessary and lacking any real purpose. However, the comments seem to demonstrate more a lack of understanding to the advancement of time, and failure to acknowledge that each generation will always put a unique mark on their social activities.
We live in age when stupid people are far easier to find thanks to social media, but it does not mean we should give them any more credibility just because they now have a media outlet that delivers them to a larger audience. People do not become smarter as the audience grows, and what they wrote online sounds just as stupid as it did when the author was mouthing the words as they typed.
To those who, for whatever reason, found themselves posting fashion commentary in the comments section of a bunch of photos taken at a high school prom, get a life. To those crusaders who believe these simple acts of stupidity rise to the level of anything more than just the ignorant statements made by people with too much time on their hands, you really need to take a good hard look at the world around you. If you are looking for a crusade, look for a cause in need of action, and not simply an impetuous overreaction. Look to the example of Malala Yousafzai.
Millions of girls around the world are being killed, raped and butchered because of their gender. Millions more are denied liberty and the simple act of attending school. Malala Yousafzai, Noble Peace Prize winner, survived a vicious attack for her beliefs. Malala gave a voice for millions suffering at the hands of pure evil, and continues to fight against true injustice.
I am in no way attempting to diminish the issue of “body shaming,” nor am I suggesting it isn’t a real issue, but we seem to have become a society too willing to succumb to thoughtlessness, choosing instead to surrender our control over reality to people or situations undeserving of our extended attention.
The truth is body shaming is an issue experienced by both women and men, although overwhelmingly women experience the brunt of this societal malpractice. Additionally, the issue is further aggravated by our over-exposed media and the constant bombardment of false cultural definitions of beauty and self-worth. At one time or another we are all participants in the very mechanism that perpetuates those factors that promote body shaming, and attack the positive values that help to promote self-esteem. It is also important to note that the most aggressive predators are peer-to-peer. More often than not it is the very people we socialize with who taunt their fellow peers the most. We forget the actions of those who would work to diminish others’ self-esteem are in fact trying to hide their own insecurities.
Some will disagree with me, but there is nothing courageous or empowering about the overreaction to a few indifferent remarks about prom dresses. There will always be those who want to fight injustice, but like Don Quixote, they will instead charge windmills.