Thursday, March 13, 2014

Is there enough freedom in self expression?

In a country where it seems we have more freedom than most, I'm realizing that may be a big fat lie. Is freedom really freedom if the subject at hand is not respected? What if the person expressing themselves is not being respected? Now through the social networking sites and the gossip blogs, I've seen enough that shows me that there is a serious lack of respect floating around when it comes to individuals expressing themselves. From the regular folks like you and me, to the celebs and people in higher places, there is always someone out there that has something to say. In most cases the attacked target may not even see such a negative comment headed their way, because they're too busy not letting outsiders ruffle their feathers (too much). However in some cases, the target may read a thing or three in their mentions/the comment section of a blog or Instagram post.

I am on a Twitter/Facebook break so I haven't seen many topics of debate, but a few have been brought to my attention thanks to my RSS reader. Just today I saw a post about a picture of a woman (breast)feeding her child, and yesterday there were comments made about Omar Epps wearing a skirt. Truthfully, all I could do was shake my head. Not at the topics at hand, but just he simple fact that they were "news worthy" topics. In the case of Omar Epps, if the man wants to wear a "skirt" for whatever reason, then why can't he? Because American society says that skirts are for women only? And for the mother who's photo was floating around the web of her feeding her child- are you kidding me? Being a mother myself, I see no harm in her sharing a photo of a moment in motherhood. Social media/networking sites are places of expression and she should be able to post as she pleases.

There's no hiding that many people are closed minded and that they start to show out in large numbers when something outside of the box is presented to them. They jump at the opportunity to judge another person (or groups of people) and don't realize how damaging that is. Not only to the person being examined, but to those looking on. I wrote a post a while back about how it's okay to just be yourself. Sadly the reason why most people have a problem with doing that is because they don't feel safe doing so. Therefore they live these lives in suffocating, tiny boxes, where everyone else is happy but them.

This morning on my commute to work, it hit me that there are so many assumptions made about people we know absolutely nothing about. The man that decides to wear a skirt- who says that he's gay? The woman who is feeding her child with a body part that was made for that purpose- is she really just asking for attention? Or is she performing her motherly duties in a timely fashion? How about the young adult, covered in tattoos, non-neutral hair colors and the not so traditional work attire. Are they truly the ratchet ones we're ready to burn at the stake?

People who are not hurting others, simply should be able to live their lives expressing themselves without any problems. While I understand why folks may be offended and outraged, I also know that they have the ability to turn their head. They have the ability to use their legs to move their seat and lift their fingers to scroll up on the web page they are on, if there is something that they don't want to see.

The piece above is crossposted from her site. Feel free to interact with her on twitter at @tiarahdenise.

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