I don’t think you’re a loser… but then, I don’t know you.

The main point of today’s entry – yet another painfully cliche, though totally appropriate entry about things that need to be fixed in society – is about judging people by their looks. Oh, wow, how original is this one? Yeah. I know. Work with me here.

I have an account on a website called Tumblr. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is in fact very similar to WordPress website; you log in, you blog… you get hooked, and never log out. Besides the point. It’s hugely popular among teenagers and young adults, though is also used by older people and musicians, often trying and failing to use it as a way to ‘stay relevant, stay cool’. Mine is made up 99% of pictures, and I keep any text posts I want to make separate and stick them on my blog here. If you want to check out my Tumblr to see what I’m talking about, just {click here} and it’ll open in a new tab.

By many people, Tumblr is viewed as a safe haven – an area of the internet where they can post what they want, talk to who they want, and be totally themselves without worrying about what other people think. That’s what the follow and unfollow buttons are there for. A lot of users claim to be completely accepting of anyone and everything. Whilst many of them are – you’ll find some of the most open-minded people you’ll ever meet on this website – many of them only accept others for who they are when it suits them.

As with many social networking websites, Tumblr has an ‘ask box’ where other users can submit messages either from themselves or anonymously. It’s not uncommon for these messages to turn nasty. Just today – and the inspiration behind this blog entry – I saw people having to deal with messages saying things such as, “you’re such a fake tramp”, “I’ve met girls like you before, slut,” and “you’re ugly, why would anybody even want to know you?”. This kind of thing isn’t funny. And a lot of the time, it’s clear that the person sending the message and hiding behind the grey, anonymous face icon, is making these assumptions based solely on the looks of the receiver. We’ve all heard the “don’t judge a book by its cover” saying, and unless we’re talking about law textbooks here (why am I even on this course?) it’s absolutely true.

Perhaps the girl you keep calling ‘fat’ has some kind of medical condition, or the girl you’re calling ugly has a problem much more devastating in her life that needs to be dealt with over how she looks when she goes to school. At the same time, if a girl wears a lot of makeup, or you think the clothes she wears are too revealing – that doesn’t make her a slut. There is no logical connection between the clothes you put on when you wake up and how many guys are going to be taking them off for you at the end of the day. Maybe they’re just trying to look nice and be comfortable. Just like the person judging them for doing just that. In the same way, not everyone who is considered mindblowingly attractive is a self-obsessed, stuck-up egomaniac who looks down on other people because they’re not as good looking as they are. This whole thing works two ways.

I know I’ve spoken exclusively about girls above, but I find this thing doesn’t happen much – if at all – with guys. I occasionally get a message of “you’re a loser” or something in my ask, which might affect me for half a second before I realise I’m not the one hiding behind a computer screen sending anonymous hate over the internet, but it’s much more rarely about looks. I’m happy with my life, the way I look, my friends, all of it. And if someone else thinks I’m a loser because of that, I couldn’t care less.

My point is, people need to get to know someone first. Once you’ve done that, make all the negative comments about them you want, if you really feel that way. It’s probably nicer not to say it in an anonymous internet message and instead keep it to yourself, but at least you’ll have foundation for your opinions. I know exactly how much a single negative comment can affect an insecure teenage girl. It can take a long time for them to not believe it.  So instead of trying to ruin someone’s day with some kind of negative opinion, maybe people might like to send an anonymous message to someone saying how good they think they look. Or how nice a person they are. Or anything, really. Because if we did judge books by their coves, I probably wouldn’t have read the Hunger Games.

And that’s a good book.

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