As a society, we have chalked up prettiness to be a big defining factor of a person’s value. While one may believe themselves above judging a person for their looks, it is actually quite common to do so without even realizing the harm. Beauty standards have been hard wired into our brains so that we constantly measure others on how pretty they are. Consequently, this leads to many scenarios where we bring others down solely based on their looks. For example, on several social media platforms, people have posted stories where their friends or significant others betray them. Oftentimes the comment section will boost the morale of the person posting the story by bringing down the certain person who betrayed them. However, if the betrayer is someone who is not fit to the common beauty standards, the comments bring them down by trashing their appearance instead of criticizing the personality.
Why does this matter? If whoever everyone is insulting is a bad person, why should it matter? Don’t they deserve the insults? Criticism is valid as long as it makes sense to the subject. Insulting someone appearance wise usually is not relevant to the subject matter. It’s like forgetting to do your homework and the next day the teacher insults you about your face instead of chiding you about your carelessness. If you feel like criticizing a certain person’s actions is warranted, then simply stick to disapproving their actions. There is no need to bring appearances into the situation.
Having prettiness (of lack of) as the default insult also sends the wrong idea to the other social media users who are reading the comments. There might be many impressionable young minds who have traits similar to the person everybody is bashing. It could be hurtful to read those comments. It might change their perception of themselves after seeing so many others view certain facial features as undesirable.
Appearance being the default insult further reinforces the misconception of how beauty is more important than what’s inside. By focusing on appearances in scenarios where it is not relevant, it inaccurately teaches that beauty is more important than personality.
It is human nature to be selfish. Time and time again, human behavior has become clear as we choose to help ourselves over helping others. However, when we do help others, we look to extract benefits and obtain advantages for the betterment of ourselves. This is evident in how countries behave on a global stage. No country helps others in the international community out of the goodness of their heart. International superpowers like the US, go out to “aid” other countries with the idea to reap benefits. It leads us to ponder if international chivalry is dead. The answer is unfortunately a resounding yes and can be analyzed through three key reasons.
Reason 1: Countries are only looking for benefits to obtain:
Countries like the US interfere in developing countries' political problems to refrain from having a new leader whose ideologies do not align with those of the US. For example, when Saddem Hossien became leader of Iran, he began disregarding previous agreements worked out between the US and Iran. This angered the US because they wanted to be involved in Iran for reasons regarding oil. In the pretense of solving a humanitarian crisis, the US killed Saddem Hossien and created even bigger problems for the country.
Additionally, economically powerful countries “help” developing countries to harness the natural resources the developing country possesses. The 2020 Libyian situation is a primary example that demonstrates this. In 2020, many key global players were vying for geopolitical hegemony in oil-rich Libya to be able to exploit the oil abundance in the future. Countries like France, Germany, Turkey and Russia were clashing in Libya under the pretense to aid the civilian war on Libya soil. However, the actual reason these countries were present in Libya is to secure the oil.
Multitudinous examples on the international stage show how powerful countries take advantage of developing countries’s helplessness to further their own interests. There has yet to be an example in modern day current events where a country helps another out of kindness. In humanitarian crises around the world such as the Myanmar coup, Crimea annexation, Yemen crisis, powerful developed countries do not do anything beyond useless sanctions. That is because there is no benefit to be seen from their viewpoint. This further demonstrates how developed countries only seek the advantages when helping, not because they actually care.
Reason 2: The “help” often does more damage than if global superpowers just left the countries alone
The lack of developed countries' intention to fix humanitarian issues in the way that would provide benefit for the developing countries' population, has shown other problems that come along with it. Developed countries will meddle in situations and bring a solution that will only benefit themselves rather than the marginalized population. Therefore, the “help” that is given brings upon more harm to the population than before.
Coming back to the Libiyan example: The Libiyan civil war was instigated after Western Countries got themselves involved and killed Libya’s leader, Muammer Gaddafi in 2011. The reason for this execution was because Gaddaffi was restricting international interference in Libya’s oil supplies. He was a good leader for Libya and had made great strides socially and economically thanks to its vast oil income. Women in Libya were free to work and to dress as they liked, life expectancy rose to people living up to the seventies as well as the per capita income increasing. After the western countries killed Libya’s leader for their own benefit, chaos broke out and Libya found itself surrounded by many rebel and militia groups that Gaddaffi had kept in check while he was a leader. These militia groups wanted to seize the vacuum of power Gaddaffi had left behind, which was the starting point in the Libiyan civil war. International interference is what caused Libya to become too volatile. Nine years later many international leaders held a meeting that was hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to discuss how to end the conflict in Libya. Even today, the international community still hasn’t learned from their mistakes in the past. They continue to let their influence cause further complications.
On the international stage, it seems that the more powerful players are not extending kindness out of their heart for no reason. They want to extract benefits and seek for advantages that often lead to exacerbated situations. This leads me to believe that International chivalry is dead because helping one another is not a priority anymore for most countries.
I was a very stubborn child growing up. Whenever my best friend wronged me, I did what every rational kid would do: stop speaking to her. In my anger, I used silence as a form of punishment. However, as opinionated as I was, my silent treatment ended immediately after my friend made clear she was sorry. It never struck my mind to prolong a punishment simply because she made one mistake. Mistakes are inevitable, but they are made for a reason. Learning from previous mistakes is key to individual growth. Unfortunately in many cases online, influencers and celebrities are not permitted to grow from mistakes. Instead, they would be “cancelled” for their entire career. While many may believe social media call out is effective to bring necessary change, that is simply not true. Social media platforms should definitely continue focusing on educating others, but rather go about it in a nurturing way.
Here are 3 Reasons Why Cancel Culture is Toxic:
Reason 1: It has been blown out of proportion: On social media platforms such as Tiktok or Instagram, cancel culture is inescapable. It is thrown around and used inappropriately. Terms such as “cultural appropriation” and “gaslighting”, both of which are serious issues, have been tossed around at random and overused. This has watered down the original meaning of these terms. Influencers can get cancelled for the littlest things nowadays. Instead of focusing on actual wrongdoers on these platforms, the social media population is spending too much energy on holding grudges and cancelling influencers for their entire career.
Reason 2: Inability to grow from past mistakes: Once cancelled, no amount of learning, apologizing, or growth will redeem anyone in the public eye. The consequences of a mistake results in harsh punishments that prioritizes penalizing social media stars over educating them on their harmful actions. If a celebrity has shown that they have understood their mistake and are working on fixing the damage they have done, they should be allowed a second chance (depending on the level of wrongdoing they did).
Reason 3: Dehumanizes celebrities and influencers: Cancel culture assumes celebrities and influences are not human and therefore have an inability to possess flaws. Mistakes are human nature, but if we learn from them, then it is perfectly normal to make them once in a while. However, social media stars are put at an enormously high standard from a young age where they are unable to make mistakes. They are expected to be perfect under ridiculously high pressure. If us normal people were scrutinized at the level these celebrities are, most of us would probably slip up once in a while.
Demi’s struggles have gone far into her early childhood. Her father, Patrick Lovato, was abusive and had mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. When he started doing drugs, everything spiraled down as he abused Demi’s mother, Dianna. On and on it went, until Dianna got the courage to leave him. Later, in 2013, after Patrick’s death, Demi said, “"I was very conflicted when he passed, because he was abusive. He was mean, but he wanted to be a good person. And he wanted to have his family, and when my mom married my stepdad, he still had this huge heart where he said, ‘I’m so glad that [he's] taking care of you and doing the job that I wish I could do.'" For other’s like her dad, Demi created the Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program after her father’s death in which mental illness victims can get help.
Along with handling an abusive dad, Demi struggled with bipolar disorder when she was young. “For years, people said I was depressed, and I actually didn’t know myself why I was so upset and why I would have these episodes of mania—what I now know is mania,” she said. She would stay up till early in the morning, sometimes writing 7 songs per night. Since Demi had no idea why she was the way she was, it was all the more harder for her.
Demi’s hardship goes onto her teenage years. When she started acting on Disney channel, she was going through bulimia, depression, self abuse, and later, drugs. When she was a child, she binge ate, but when she became a teen she hated her body and wanted to starve herself. ‘It was always there, but then I just acted on it at around 8 or 9 years old. I started overeating, compulsively overeating. I would bake cookies and then eat the whole pan. I went from doing that to being unhappy with my body. I went to just completely starving myself and that turned into throwing up and starving myself and it was just this crazy battle going on inside of me.” This is not all she went through, as she self abused herself and cut her wrists. “There were times I felt so anxious, almost like I was crawling out of my skin – that if I didn’t do something physical to match the way I felt inside, I would explode. I cut myself to take my mind off that. I just didn’t care what happened. I had no fear.
When Demi was just 17, after struggling with many mental illnesses, she started drugs as a coping mechanism. Once Demi threw a party that included alcohal in the hotel room she was staying in. Together they trashed the hotel room. One of Demi’s backup dancer told her manager that she was on drugs. Demi seeked revenge and later, in front of everyone, punched the dancer in the face. That week she was sent to rehab and focused on her sobriety and other mental health issues. It was effective for the time being.
As soon as she left the rehab center, however, Demi continued to do drugs. She thought that she was going to die young, so she wanted to live her life as much as possible. It was only when she was 19 that she hit her rock bottom. “I was going to the airport and I had a Sprite bottle just filled with vodka and it was just 9 in the morning and I was throwing up in the car and this was just to get on a plane to go back to L.A. to the sober living house that I was staying at. I had all the help in the world, but I didn’t want it. When I hit that moment I was like, it’s no longer fun when you’re doing it alone.” After this she focused on her sobriety and succeeded for 6 years. She even made a documentary called Simply Complicated, openly saying all the hardships she went through, which is quite brave, seeing that most would bury that past. Instead, she wanted to be an inspiration, wanting to help those who were going through what she had been through. Her involvement in organizations and social media to help those are struggling have saved many.
In summer of 2018, Demi overdosed. Just previously, she released a song that said she was not sober anymore. Weeks following this surprise single, Demi was found unconscious in her home. Currently, she is doing everything she can to focus on her health and is now a little over half a year sober.
Overall, Demi persisted in her lifetime through every obstacle thrown at her. She is open about her struggles and wants everyone to use her experiences to get through their problems. She’s part of many organizations and works with victims suffering mental health issues. She is an inspiration to many!
This is where I give my personal opinion on current events in my life or around the world!