This weekend, crazy mob “social justice” reached peak crazy when this tweet hit the internet:
My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress. https://t.co/vhkNOPevKD
— Jeremy Lam (@jere_bare) April 27, 2018
It’s retweeted thousands of times, thousands of people and went on this poor high school girl’s feed to ridicule her, call her names, etc. in an attempt to bully her over a prom dress. She wore a prom dress and the internet decided to try to get vengeance.
The whole idea of “cultural appropriation” is crazy, as we as a society are a melting pot of different cultures, formed into the United States culture. It traces back hundreds of years, to different pieces of our culture having different heritages. Cultures change and cultures appropriate. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s a celebration of art. But lately it’s become chic to attack people on the internet for liking something. Now it’s gone too far.
This is the exact kind of thing I’ve warned about that’s been going on with books – especially of the YA variety, for a long time. A person writes a book that’s innocuous, usually by a white woman the internet perceives as vulnerable, and a mob forms, picking apart the book before it ever comes out with some fabricated “outrage” over a topic. Authors get hurt. They attempt to appease the mob. They fail and get attacked more.
The mob doesn’t want anything other than blood. They can care less if you change your stories, get it approved by sensitivity readers, or acknowledge your “problematic” writing. Their intent is to hurt authors and that’s it. Now it’s gone beyond people creating art for a living and is targeting little girls who wear the wrong thing.
This is the end result.
This girl, however, handled it with strength and with bravery. She isn’t taking her picture down because the sight of her offended some random dude and a bunch of people who decided she’d make a great target to harass. She’s responding to critics, not acquiescing to them. She knows she did nothing wrong in the act of wearing a dress, and she’s showing she will not be budged.
Not everyone is this strong, however, and that’s why I’ve been so adamant about ending bullying for so long. Earlier this year a woman was harassed into attempted suicide because people didn’t like the way she drew book covers. The internet’s gone too far in this kind of thing. We need to come together and love the victims, and also just be aware so we don’t inadvertently propagate this kind of lynch mob. It has to change and it has to stop, because it’s now targeting children.
Standing up to bullies is something I write about in fiction too. The Stars Entwined has that scenario going on, and it takes a lot of courage for the characters to stand up and make change. Check it out here.