The time has come to stop cropping the sad parts. Only then can we truly understand each other and start supporting each other as a communityby Kerry Hudson / December 12, 2019 / Leave a comment
Somewhere, among social media and mass media, between public presentation and even our private moments, it seems we’ve lost the ability to be truthful. Truthful about how we are really doing, how we feel about the world, our fears, hopes, relationships, dress size, diet, reading habits, sex and credit card debt. The list is endless. The carefully curated, performative nature of social media and the real-life overspill of public perception anxiety has slowly eroded our ability to tell it like it is and without a filter that will cast a golden, dewy light upon us and our carefully composed pictures of brunch.
As a sketch about social media in the US comedy series Portlandia put it: “I guess people are just cropping out the sadness.” But by cropping out the sadness we’ve isolated and alienated ourselves. And it’s not just sadness we’re cropping out it’s all of life’s messier, more complex issues. In doing that we lose community and support because with silence comes shame.
Imagine the difference it could make to our endemic in young male mental illness and suicide if, when asked how they felt, men believed they could really respond truthfully. Imagine unfiltered images that were truly #bodypositive—woman seeing other women without skin smoothing, eye-widening or (and this actually exists) the app that “shaves” down the planes of the face. Consider how being open and honest about money would change the way we spend, save and imagine other’s financial positions. Honesty about parenting, sex, eating disorders, physical and mental health, money, political opinions, relationships…the list goes on.
I know it is hard. Social media can be a jungle. God knows, 2019 has been quite a year for divisive discourse and it is true that a break from the status quo can result in you a social media pile-on—especially if you’re a woman. Add to this that when we do exhibit vulnerability on these platforms it is often through the social media approved lens of never wanting to look “whiney” while acknowledging your privilege and expressing your #attitudeofgratitude. That’s a lot of PR angles to consider if you’re in the depths of grief, anxiety or depression. Especially when the consequences of being misunderstood in a medium that doesn’t really do nuance…