Unfortunately the photos in my last post gave some of my readers the vapors. I promise that in the future I will provide a ratings system for dear old ladies of Victorian sensibility, autocratic patriarchs who are offended by the image of young ladies participating in a “man’s” sport, and serial blowhards who like to make themselves feel good by going ballistic over graphic design choices.
In the interest of balanced discussion, here is the substance of the article in which I examine why people get express feelings of hatred on the internet towards others who engage in activities they find wrong or distasteful.
Social media seems to be taking on a sociological role of letting people feel morally superior by conforming themselves to the right opinions, independently of their actions. Someone can feel like he is accomplishing something, taking a stand, when he is in fact doing nothing. Millions of people tweeted #bringbackourgirls knowing full well it was not going to do anything to save the still-kidnapped Nigerian school-girls, but it made them feel good about themselves: it was a way of showing they were good people with good feelings.
Ludicrously, this notion that correct feelings are a substitute for action seems to have infected the United States government: hence the First Lady tweeting #bringbackourgirls knowing full well that her husband had long since decided that he was not going to send Delta Force on a risky rescue attempt… which was the only thing that might have done any good.
The more sensitive you are to “right feelings” the higher your imagined value and social standing. Hence, it is not enough to be against ordinary racism like denying someone a job just because he is black. You want to be on the cutting edge of right-feeling, and be against things that nobody ever thought was racist, like “The Washington Redskins”, which was not racist until 2014. The more violent your objections, the more sensitive you are to perceived wrong-doing, the better person you become, at least in the eyes of your twitter followers.
The inverse of this need to conform to “right-feelings” is the need to ritually abuse anyone who operates under a different standard. The girls above are not particularly sensitive to the emotional needs of animals, they rather enjoy the thrill of the hunt, which is something all human beings would have understood perfectly well up until a generation ago. That makes those girls inferior. As a sign of superiority, the right-feeling person must hate them, wish them dead, raped, eaten alive, etc.
The expressions of outrage are largely indifferent, since the victims of have their own internet supporters who will flock to their defense out of similar motives of right-feeling, and internet tantrums by definition have little real world effect (#bringbackourgirls). But it is not totally indifferent: people can lose jobs over things said about them online. The Belgian girl seems to have lost a modeling contract. (Though she’ll probably find another, being so cute.)
Of course, if the girls above were not girls, if they were middle aged men, no one would care as much, which comes to another point: people always get more enraged when the perceived “enemy” is a woman. For example, both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin transmit personality quirks (the former dishonest and cold, the latter self-promoting and flippant) which I find annoying, but I can’t relate to the deep, visceral, fanatical hatred they inspire in their political opponents. The same flaws in a man would not be so enraging.
In closing, I’d like to hazard a guess: I’d be willing to bet that the majority of the internet outrage against the girls above did not come from “patriarchal” men angry that they were stepping out of traditional roles and invading a male sport: those guys were probably delighted and wished their own daughters were more like that. No, I’d suspect the outrage came mostly from other women. Women seem to be more likely to cut down other women to make themselves feel good.
Judging by the reaction to the last post, the last paragraph seems wrong. The angry people were men. Go figure.