By Haley Bartlett, Editor-in-Chief–
Social media becomes an unhealthy obsession for everyone in at least some form or fashion at one point or another, myself included. Assuredly, most of us would rather scroll through the same posts instead of writing a paper. Even so, everyone is still acutely aware of how detrimental it can be to our mental health, but have we begun to take it too far without realizing?
Much like many others, quarantine supplied me with endless hours of wanting to try new things… and an addiction to watching Tik Toks during any downtime I have. I’ve had many conversations with my friends over what an app like Tik Tok can do to people, specifically women as there has become a surgence of young girls dancing inappropriately or being sexualized, but as I was scrolling through the other day, I was met with something even more concerning: a trend titled “pretend like you’re going to hit your girlfriend.”
Trends are commonplace on the app, taking form in either dances or comedic skits that tend to be made for couples to see the reactions of their partners. Some of them are endearing and leave people commenting “couple goals” or other praise, but a lot of them recently have taken a dark turn as people are starting to condone and promote domestic violence and other toxic behavior such as gaslighting and degradation.
I like to think I have a pretty dark sense of humor, but when did it become funny to provoke fear? Especially when it is towards someone with whom you have built trust? I know there will be someone that reads this article with the mindset of “it’s just a joke,” or “people are too sensitive these days,” but those same people one day will most likely have a child that grows up watching these videos thinking that those toxic traits are the norm and that being sexualized at the age of 13 is okay. I am also not saying this issue is only inflicted on women, I have witnessed the same issues being inflicted on young men as well and that behavior simply needs to stop.
There is no rhyme or reason as to why someone should pretend to hit another person to get laughs, or why trends should go around telling people they need to check their back fat or compare side profiles. Social media isn’t inherently evil, but in the same breath, it facilitates some of the most negative spaces in this world where cancel culture and mental illnesses thrive. You don’t have to choose to give up social media, you simply have to choose to quit giving people complexes or sitting by and watching it happen.