...but words can never hurt me.
No...this wasn't going to be a quote from a Rhianna song - sorry to disappoint!
So, the other day, a rather nasty little blog "article" was posted on a junk science site that was claiming to have scientific proof that a particular gender within a particular ethnic group was "scientifically" proven to be considered less attractive than all the other same genders of other ethnic groups in the world. No, I'm not posting the link, because I know junk when I see it. And a scientific article claiming proof with no references to the actual study conducted, the population group queried and so forth is by no means a true scientific article, but an article meant to flame, ignite and piss people off - and all for 15 seconds of fame. The fact that it was created by someone who has a PhD and is also employed by an internationally respected university is equally unfathomable.
Plus, I know when someone's shining me on - so to speak. What scientist posts a "serious article" but fails to provide citable references?! That's rule one of writing any paper whether you're a scientist or a historian. Otherwise, I can go write a paper in the scientific community about how teddy bears are proven to weigh more than the earth...because I polled myself and I thought it sounded "cuddly" enough to believe. This article was nothing more than a grab for attention to probably fund a more ridiculous study to find even more ridiculous results. But I digress, the purpose of this post is the reactions that a lot of people had to the article and the reflection it shows on society at large.
So, on the blog that posted a link to the junk science site (out of outrage - not support) way too many people were replying with comments along the line of "my feelings were really hurt", "I cried when I read this", "this really ruined my day", and "now I'm really depressed". Trust me, I get it! The article was an overdone disrespectful rag that should never have been printed. I found it ridiculous, ignorant and all the negative adjectives that I can think to use to describe it. But ruining my day? Making me cry? Making me depressed? That would make me the EPIC FAIL - even though the author is an EPIC FAIL too.
I guess maybe I already got kicked through the school of hard knocks, but I learned a long time ago to not base my self worth on what others thought of me, but on what I believed myself to be. Seriously, kids can be mean, and I definitely got my share of being told that I wasn't pretty, etc etc. But true confidence and self assuredness comes from within - not from other people telling you what you are. In my opinion, if you're always looking for someone else to confirm that you're pretty, or smart, or whatever - then you're really doing yourself a disservice.
Eventually, in everyone's life, there comes a time where you won't be in agreement with the majority. It could be your viewpoints, it could be because you look different (which was definitely the case with me >_<) or maybe your financial situation in life changes (either up or down) and now you're different from what people consider to be the norm. Not everyone is going to always agree with you or support your choices. So, what are you going to do?! Cry about it? Throw your hands up in frustration and run back to the bed, pull the covers up and call it a day/life?
No. Words and opinions are just that, words and opinions. Only you can give them power by believing them, repeating them to yourself and thereby allowing them to affect your day. And then in that case, said author was right...you are an idiot and less than ideal, because you believed a fool half way around the world rather than the reality that you knew to be the truth. Maybe I sound harsh, maybe I really did get my ass kicked one too many times (metaphorically speaking) when I was growing up - but I don't wait for other people to define me. I define myself and have no problem emitting the vibe that "this is me, you don't have to like or agree with it, but you do have to respect it". And much like the post I wrote the other week when a commenter mentioned that she purposely filters herself for fear of peer reactions...the reactions to this article equally boggled my mind.
Seriously, I really don't understand how grown people can have their whole day and perspective on life altered by some moron's undocumented comments. "It's not what they call you, it's what you answer to." If you respond with depression, tears and the like to someone calling you ugly, then that means deep down, you kind of agreed with them...and now you're just hurt that someone peeled back the ridiculously thin layer of confidence that you had and exposed your fears to the world.
Which brings me to my final point...society is hypocritical at best and the reactions to this article just highlight that even more. We as a society at large (not just the gender and ethnic group that was singled out in the article) need to do better when it comes to instilling confidence, self awareness and self assuredness in our young people. At least here in the States, we run all these PSA's telling people to be themselves and not cave to peer pressure as it relates to drugs, alcohol and sex. Yet we push homogeny as hard as we can on a conscious and sub conscious level when it comes to being an active member of society, making friends and "fitting in" via media outlets (TV, magazines, music, etc).
You can't have it both ways! You can't say "think for yourself when someone tries to offer you a narcotic, alcoholic beverage or a roll in the hay" but then say "don't stand out too much so that you can make friends and fit in" on the other hand. It's a contradictory message, and if grown people are falling prey to it, how much harder would it be for youth to overcome that struggle?! In short, our general society has a lot of growing and mental reprogramming to do if we're going to eradicate ignorant views while simultaneously instilling confidence in our community.