Facebook users suddenly become experts on world news, for some reason.
One thing I’ve noticed is that Facebook can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s given me a chance to connect with people I haven’t seen in years, and I’m able to properly indulge in wacky videos and pet shenanigans from my distant relatives. But every so often, I realize how incredibly assholish some of the people I associate with can be. Not necessarily because of opinions; I take after my father in that I’m always open to other peoples’ opinions if they make sense and can be explained. I may try to taper off my stuck up nature regarding a lot of things, but never opinions. At the end of the day, I may understand your point of view (if it’s well argued), but I’m too stubborn to switch sides. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve changed my stance because of someone else’s argument.
I’m talking about the fact that everyone on my Facebook newsfeed seems to suddenly become a journalist or news anchor every time something huge involving a certain group occurs. This goes double if the group is one that is largely marginalized by the masses. In this entry, I will call it the Bullshit Complex (TM). The Bullshit Complex occurs when certain people–who do very little research about the various structures that make up society, but still pretend they do–try to downplay how important certain events may be, because “there are other things in the world far more important!” or “Um, other people are doing it, too!”; The usual suspects may compare it to something else to make it seem discredited, or will bring out a completely unrelated story altogether to make the previous one seem vapid or shallow.
B.C.’s Greatest Hits:
- “While everyone was talking about Angelina Jolie’s essay about breast cancer, I was reading about starving children dying in (Insert Unspecified Region Here That Has A Lot of Brown People)”
- “There are homeless people all over the country, but nobody cares because they’re not Kardashians!”
- “This one white kid got shot by a cop one time, back in 1985. You didn’t see white people rioting.”
- “I don’t understand why women can breastfeed their children in a restaurant, but I can’t wave my penis around in public.”
The latest addition to this list, and the most popular one in the last few weeks, appears in the form of a Facebook post floating around entitled, “While You Were Distracted By [Caitlyn] Jenner, Akon Has Been Raising Money For Solar Energy In Africa.” (Please note that while the original post referred to Caitlyn as her assigned name rather than her chosen name, I chose not to out of respect.) I couldn’t pinpoint why the post annoyed me so much, but it did. I pretty much hid the post whenever it popped up. It’s not because I can exactly identify with the transgender struggle, because I’m not trans and have no intention of speaking for their community. I suppose the reason why this post annoyed me so much, is because it reeks of an undeserved superiority complex. Between the lines, the post read, “You’re obsessed with meaningless things while things in the REAL WORLD are happening.” The thing is, Caitlyn’s appearance on Vanity Fair’s cover is just as real as Akon’s story, because it effects a large number of people who believe themselves to be invisible in the public eye.
One thing I noticed about the post floating around, is that all of these people posted it trying to seem deep for not giving into “what’s hot right now,” while doing absolutely nothing to actually promote Akon’s project. In fact, before Caitlyn’s magazine cover, I’d only heard about Akon’s project once or twice on Tumblr. Incredibly enough, people are acting as if Akon’s project and Caitlyn’s reveal happened at the same time, when Akon’s project actually began in February of 2014. But I didn’t hear anything big about it in the last year and four months. Not only that, but none of the Facebook posts tell you about what Akon’s plan consists of, nor do they actually give you a link to the project’s official website (you know…where you can see what it’s about and how you can possibly help).
Is it because people don’t really care, but want a distraction from something that makes them uncomfortable?
Now, I’ll be the first to say that I can’t stand the Kardashian-Jenner family. There’s not one person in that family that I like, and I dislike everything they stand for; I believe they contribute very little to…anything really. And there’s nothing they’ve done that hasn’t been done before. Social media has probably made it more financially beneficial than it would’ve been 10-15 years ago. But outside of that, I choose to ignore them. That being said, I could understand why Caitlyn’s decision to come out was important: under the identity of Bruce Jenner, she was a celebrated Olympian and considered a superb athlete. The sports world is notorious for being very rigid in its masculinity, to the point that even women sometimes have to show traditionally masculine traits in order to be taken seriously as athletes. Naturally, it was probably very difficult for Caitlyn to be so deeply involved in that world, feeling the way she felt. So I do think it’s great that she came out.
And I’ve had countless conversations with people who try to argue why they don’t think Caitlyn qualifies as a woman. Honestly, it isn’t our place to decide what gender she wants to be. I don’t really feel like going into the history of gender as a social construct and “sex vs. gender”; but I will say that the reason why so many people seem to be uncomfortable with trans people, is because they go against everything we were brought up to believe from birth.
We learn that boys have penises, and women have vaginas. We were taught that girls play with dolls, and boys play with toy guns. If you’re a girl and want a superhero toy, you want a boy’s toy instead of just a toy. If you’re a boy and play with dolls, you’re trying to be a girl. When you’re little, you don’t know what you are gender or sexuality wise, because we don’t know any better (another post about this later).
All of this is determined by what’s between our legs. Isn’t that such a bizarre thing?
Like, the doctor slaps your biological sex on a piece of paper, and then for the rest of your life you’re conditioned to behave in a way that is attached to whatever your sex is. So what happens if your doctor says “Hey, this baby has a penis,” but then that person grows up not really liking or behaving in ways that they’re supposed to behave according to norms attached to their genitalia? That doesn’t make the person abnormal at all, it just means that they prefer the other norm over their own perceived norm.
I’m rambling, and things are getting complicated.
The point is, the general public is capable of understanding more than one story. We can read about celebrities breaking up and still care about death and destruction. Talking about something “newsworthy” just because it isn’t the most popular topic of the moment doesn’t make you any more intelligent or cultured than anyone else.
Don’t be that person with a Bullshit Complex.