In the name of New Year’s resolutions, I’m calling for a more “keep it sacred, keep it to yourself” attitude on social media in 2021. We overanalyzed and overexerted the previous year with opinions on all matters of quarantine life: masks, vaccines, lockdowns, politics—even pop culture news.
These opinions drew lines in the sand between Democrat vs. Republican, pro-vaccine vs. anti-vaccine, defund the police vs. back the blue. We will never run out of opinions and challenging conversations in the years to come but can we please handle them in a less reactionary manner moving forward?
I support whatever the fuck you want to do in the same in self-love and self-care. You want to wear a dress on the cover of Vogue and pearl earrings to the MET Gala (ahem, Harry Styles)? Go for it.
You want to change your pronouns, come out as transgender, and call yourself Elliot? Amazing. Not exactly a shocker but I support your journey of self-discovery one hundred percent.
As part of my New Year’s resolution, I want less skin (and emotions) in the game when it comes to what the media deems important. Why do journalists get to decide? Just because CNN or BuzzFeed or Harper’s Bazaar labels something “a statement,” that doesn’t mean readers should care.
When the cameras turn off
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? In other words, if Harry Styles wears a dress and no one is around to photograph it, does it make a statement?
I searched high and low for a photo of Harry in gender-bending clothes outside of a photoshoot or red carpet event with no luck. It’s too easy to praise someone when the cameras are on.
Dazed magazine called his Vogue cover “revolutionary.” Pride said it “makes history.” I say it’s a man in a dress … posing for a magazine … doing a job and getting paid. I don’t understand the standing ovation.
Show me an un-staged, hiding-behind-the-bushes paparazzi pic of Harry in pantyhose and high heels at Trader Joe’s and then I might clap. It’s the things we do in private, when no one’s watching, that matter most.
Wouldn’t you be more impressed if Harry wore a maxi dress and kitten heels to the grocery store than on a Vogue cover shoot? Do it for yourself — not for a reaction from the masses.
The “coming out” statements
Again, I blame the media for blowing this out of proportion. I distinctly remember the “I’m Gay!” tabloid covers for Ellen DeGeneres (TIME), Kristen Stewart (People), and Lance Bass (also People).
There was a time when such declarations shocked people. The media, after all, makes money when they catch your attention with sex tapes, pregnancy announcements, and drug scandals in big, bold letters.
But in 2021? Come the fuck on. Smoke meth, pop out triplets, and be gay … or trans or bi or queer or questioning or pan. It doesn’t have to be a front-page statement with a glam squad in-tow and professional re-touching.
I respect Ellen — now Elliot — for his decision to follow his heart and live by his truest, most genuine self. We don’t need five thousand news articles about it. I read his single social media posting and nodded. That was enough.
What if nothing were a big deal?
I hope to one day live in a society that’s less reactionary. Fewer news headlines and less Instagram comments. Really, social media never should have added a comment section. If you like or support something, give it a double-tap. If you don’t, keep scrolling.
Nothing like a global pandemic to teach us how so few things are a big deal. Are you and your loved ones healthy? ‘Kay, great. A pop star in a dress is not a big deal. A person’s sexual orientation is not a big deal.
And while we’re at it, Hilaria Baldwin’s busted Spanish façade is not a big deal. If anything, it’s downright hilarious that she “forgot” how to say cucumber in English on national television. Embarrassing? Yes. Cringy? Yes. Ground-breaking news? No.
If you want to go down the offended cultural appropriation path, I can’t stop you and I won’t try to change your mind. To each their own. I personally stand by the fact that not everything needs such a *GASP* or *WOW* reaction.
We’re all just people living our fucking lives. It’s not revolutionary.