John Marsden Writing Topic #109
‘In such an ugly age, the true protest is beauty.’ So who do you see who’s protesting?**
For this writing topic, I’m going to focus specifically on the ugly age of social media.
While there are many benefits to using social media, there are also plenty of negatives, the most famous negative being cyberbullying. With several social media websites and apps, bullying is no longer restricted to the school grounds or the workplace, anyone can bully anyone at any time.
While many people are protesting against cyberbullies whether as victims, advocates or even former perpetrators, there are two examples of protesting against the ugly age of social media, especially cyberbullying, that stick out to me.
The most recent example is Canadian teenager, Lynelle Cantwell who stood up to the people in her grade or school who voted her as the “ugliest girl in grade 12” in an online poll. Cantwell published a social media post stating that she felt sorry for the perpetrator behind the poll for having to try and bring others down to make up for their miserable lives. Her post received an overwhelming positive response. A news story describing her post and the situation in full can be found here.
Another well-known example that comes to mind is Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The segment involves celebrities (which have included US President Barack Obama) reading out tweets saying mean things about them, which end up being mocked by the audience. Although I’m yet to find any sort of statement from Jimmy Kimmel that this segment was established to address cyberbullying (feel free to comment if you have), I feel that this is protesting the ugly age of social media and cyberbullying by showing that celebrities overcome cyberbullies and internet trolls by mocking them and not taking them seriously, which takes away their power. Videos of the Mean Tweets segment can be found here.
**Reference: Marsden, J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.