I started working on this post with a sketch of Anne Hathaway on the red carpet. I planned on writing about the gorgeous dresses at the Oscars. But after seeing all the negative commentary about Anne on Twitter I decided to change my focus here.
On Sunday night during the Oscars the negative comments about Anne began building. Some comments were about hating her dress. Then even more tweets chimed in saying she is annoying because she acts too "perfect." And others made snarky comments about her face... Really?
Of course, I could just ignore the mean stuff being said online, but I'm a mom. And maybe some of you will think I sound a little too preachy here, but that is what moms do some of the time.
In a culture where young girls (and boys) are bullied daily for how they look and act, I think it is time for the grown-ups to set a better example online.
I know in the US we take pride in the fact we have the right to express opinions. Even opinions that are very controversial. Social media has made it very easy—maybe too easy—to criticize people publicly. Eventually all the hate from strangers online starts snowballing to the point the criticism takes on a life of its own. And in this case, I think the online commentary of hate is not so much about Anne, but just about bashing someone—as if this person were a thing.
I'm not the only person who thinks all this online "Hathahater" negativity is growing old and even becoming baseless. Check out Samantha Escobar's comments on the The Gloss and Ann Friedman's piece on The Cut and Daniel D'Addario on Salon.
I don't know Anne. Her public persona—the one so many are criticizing for being too perfect—may be very different from the "real" Anne. I do know that I admire her for supporting the anti-violence organization One Billion Rising. Her eagerness to look poised and gracious on camera doesn't annoy me because that is her professional persona—I don't imagine she acts perfect all the time. She may not act like the self-effacing and funny celebs we wish we had as best friends. But those same celebs probably work to portray that persona too. In other words, what we see and so easily judge about celebs is not the whole story. We are all just people. And hearing cruel words hurt us even when no one thinks we are listening.
I love the line in the movie Notting Hill, when Julia Roberts playing the movie star character Anna Scott says:
"I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."
I'm hoping a Twitter trend around liking people—even loving people—will gain momentum.
Well, I've talked long enough today. If I go on and on I know my kids' eyes will start to glaze over. Thanks for listening. xo Chris
Images: Illustrations featured above by me, Chris Olson.