Recently, Blake Lively received a lot of backslash for posting on her Instagram a picture of her on the red carpet, giving fans a look from the front and back. Lively’s gold gown hugged to her curves in all the right places making her look more like a beautiful goddess. However, she captioned the photo, “L.A. face with an Oakland booty.”
Which is in reference to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s hit song Baby Got Back
but that didn’t stop the whole internet from going crazy with the hate and damaging comments.
Some people understood that she was cheekily referencing to a hit early ‘90s song, but why do people feel like they can slash out on social media so liberally? With some commenters saying the actress was being racially insensitive. People occasionally intentionally incite discord in online communities because they might have a lot in common with real-life sadists.
So this prompted us to think, why do people think it’s alright to say racist, inflammatory and otherwise socially unfitting things online or react so aggressively on social media? 1) Anonymity
People have this impression that you can say whatever online and still get away with it. Online forums, chat groups and comment sections on websites and social media allow people to make up names or handles that are not linked to their real world identity. This suggests that anonymity may drive someone to be more expressive or aberrant because it’s easy to evade consequences. 2) Obscurity
People like to believe their expressions are relatively private, even though you have your name tied to the comment. The individual will feel more obscure when posting on a major news website because of the sheer vastness of the viewership pool. Also we perceive that people who do see our comments are just faceless crowds we’ll never bump into in the real world. 3) Majority Standing
When people believe they are the majority of a certain belief or social conviction, naturally they will more freely express opinions than those who see themselves in the minority, who fear social ostracism if they mention an unpopular view. So, they say what they want to say because they believe their opinion is the predominant one. 4) Desensitization
We are so exposed to social media that we become desensitized to the online environment. We never think about the repercussions of what we posted, we just spout remarks without thinking. Sometimes even offensive comments are seen as no big deal, and we start to lose our filter. It is easier to type out something unpleasant into a screen than to actually say it to someone’s face. 5) Lack Of Inhibition
Detachment from reality, some people living a life that they perceive is absolutely distinct from the demands and responsibilities of their offline realm. The link to feelings of invisibility and being untouchable, giving people false courage to go to places and do or say things online that they would otherwise not in the real world.
So at the end of the day, what is the motive behind these outbursts on social media? Sometimes it does start a conversation that might benefit society or create constructive movements, but majority of the time it is just to frustrate people and to build dissonance between individuals. The internet still gives people the opportunity to remain anonymous and that naturally leads to very little sense of accountability while online. It is very easy to forget or disregard the fact that on the receiving end is a real human being with real emotions.
Our advice, stay strong! by: Adeline Tan