By ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Managing Editor
Last Monday, a new Twitter trend outraged America (and more importantly, Miley Cyrus) as its light take on a touchy subject backfired.
The controversial hashtag “#cuttingforBieber” was originally thought to be a tween reaction to the Biebs recent liaison with a joint of Mary J. As one “fan” put it, we’ll stop cutting when you stop smoking. The trend was later traced back to social media website 4Chan, the pranksters behind the #BaldforBieber October hoax.
So it was all a joke.
But why is no one laughing?
No one is sure whether or not the hashtag caused any real fans to harm themselves, but the idea was certainly put out there in a glorified manner.
In reality, it seems as though most had the opposite reaction. A search of the trend reveals not actual teens slashing their wrists, but an infinite scroll of disgust and criticism towards the trending topic. Several tweeters even made an attempt to be ironic, posting Twit pics of scissors cutting paper, of “Grow Up” written on their forearms in ketchup, or of them chopping off their hair.
Wanna-be hipsters and sarcasm aside, self-mutilation is no laughing matter. Whether you have done it yourself or know someone who has/is, seeing someone hurt like that is not fun. It’s not funny. And it’s definitely not something to be encouraged.
As a sophomore in high school, I had a few very close friends who, for whatever reason, were going through some tough times. Self-mutilation and pills were outlets for them. They tried to hide it with long sleeves or complaints of headaches, but I knew. They admitted it to me. And whenever I saw the rows of dark red scratches on their arms if they accidently pushed up their sleeves, I felt sick to my stomach.
I can vividly remember riding the bus to a tennis match, and receiving a phone call from another girl about how our mutual friend spent all of 6th hour raking her arms with a staple.
Being fifteen and sixteen is powerless enough; but to have the weight of a friend’s well-being in your hands, feeling that there is nothing you can do? That’s truly powerless. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy. And it’s a feeling that should not be exploited.
I will admit, I do not have a concrete concept of what exists on 4Chan. This is by choice. Based on what I have heard, I can find enough funny memes elsewhere, and I would prefer not to watch videos of people committing suicide.
In a libertarian manner, I could care less what you do on the internet on your own time – that’s your prerogative. If you like to wander the recesses of 4Chan, be my guest. But your rights end where mine, and others’, begin. Encouraging such a negative, potentially lethal, activity like self-mutilation for your ultimate LOL moment is not right. It’s sick.
So go ahead, continue on your merry way as the internet troll searching for those LOLZ. But please, do the rest of us a favor and keep the wrist slashing jokes under your bridge and off the web.
Author’s Note: Self-mutilation and depression are not something to laugh at. If you or a loved one is suffering, there is help out there. Visit the To Write Love On Her Arms website, www.twloha.com, to get the help you need.