This is part of a weekly series called in which The Lantern’s Ty Anderson offers his take on the week’s pop culture news.
“The Internet is the ugliest reflection of man kind there is.”
So said famous white female rapper, Iggy Azalea, just a few short weeks ago. The statement was made in response to a wave of criticism aimed at a bikini shot taken while the star was on vacation. Azalea also announced that she would be taking a break from Twitter.
She announced a temporary departure Friday from Instagram, presumably for similar reasons.
The criticism wasn’t the first, but rather, the latest attack on Azalea. Her haters have been throwing tomatoes for quite some time, and she’s finally had enough.
You might or might not be aware, and you might or might not even care, but a lot of people hate Azalea. And I’m not talking the kind of hatred that involves shouting “ick” and changing the radio station whenever her latest single starts playing. I’m talking real, deep-seated hatred. And I’ve never really understood why.
I mean, I know Azalea is not the best at presenting herself. The girl has recently gotten herself into feuds with both Azealia Banks and the Papa John’s Pizza chain. She raps with an almost humorously fake accent and her Grammys hairdo looked unmistakably like a twisted French brioche loaf. But in an industry that’s quickly become entirely too politically correct, Azalea has never stopped keeping it real. She might not be the most well-spoken celebrity in the spotlight, and she certainly doesn’t have an Emma Watson-approved stick up her butt, but I think that’s why I respect her so much.
Unfortunately, the people of the Internet don’t often see eye-to-eye with Azalea. But what I hope she realizes is that, when it comes to the people of the Internet, you can’t win. Regardless of what you do or say, you will be criticized and made fun of. Your intentions are sadly irrelevant.
Look at Patricia Arquette. She recently spoke about women’s wage equality at the Oscars, and despite some serious fist-pumping and cheers from the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep, she was feverishly attacked for not truly understanding the issue. Nyasha Junior, assistant professor at Howard University School of Divinity, wrote an essay published in the Washington Post critiquing Arquette’s comments as showing why women of color don’t identify with feminism. Arquette was attacked, because as a successful white woman, she couldn’t possibly know the first thing about suffering or inequality.
Look at Taylor Swift. As the current tourism ambassador for New York City, she vowed to give all proceeds from her song “Welcome to New York” to NYC public schools. She recently made her first payment of $50,000 and received widespread criticism in the comments sections of articles for not giving enough. Although she kept her word and she wrote a check for more money than I’ve earned in my entire life, people still had the audacity to label her a cheapskate.
Read the comments section on any article about anything — even the most uplifting of stories — and you will see that people have found something to complain about.
Iggy realized she couldn’t win the game, so she quit it. She quit social media and effectively eliminated the platform of her haters. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but I get it. When people are speculating on your alleged decision to siphon cellulite out of your stomach and inject it into your buttocks, it’s probably really hard to feel appreciated for the person you actually are.
People use the argument that anyone who puts himself in the spotlight deserves the criticism he receives — and I can respect that. But there is an astronomical difference between criticism and cold-blooded personal attacks.
Still, I think there’s a lesson here for all of us. That lesson is to be yourself, and to never take anything too seriously. People are going to hate you for no reason. People are going to pout and cry and tell you that you’re an idiot. Rather than retaliate, rather than respond to the negativity, you can pull an Iggy Azalea and bow out gracefully.
And once you realize how unsatisfying that feels, you can pull a Tyler Anderson and hang the hater’s picture on a dartboard, down a pint of Kentucky bourbon and go to town.
My advice to anyone out there’s who’s been subject to unfounded criticism of any kind, is to throw that criticism out the window. We live in a world of 7 billion people. That’s 7 billion people with 7 billion different views. Seven billion different opinions on body image, on feminism, on race and on morality. You’d be a fool to expect universal acceptance. No matter what you say, someone’s gonna pitch a fit.
Speaking up is always going to cause backlash, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up.
A voice is one of the few things we are guaranteed in this world, and it would be absolutely silly to let some huffy dope with a keyboard and an underdeveloped sense of self-worth take that voice away.