It goes without saying that the internet is dark and full of terrors, but when we’re ripping each other apart on a second-by-second basis, it becomes overwhelming, exhausting, and outright soul-crushing. And that’s just us — the regular folk who read about these things — I can’t imagine what it’s like for people on the receiving end. Yesterday, Courtney stood up for Kim, and while I am utterly oblivious to most things Kardashian, it’s impossible to ignore the actual message we’re sending out to each other: hate. Pure, unadulterated hate. The reality is that none of us knows the person behind the celebrity well enough to lob such personal emotions at her, and it is this emotional distancing from each other as human beings that allows for lobbing vile insults laptop to laptop, phone to phone. In our self-centered, often-anonymous and insular existence, we barely register a thought before hurling out our righteous judgement. We’ve forgotten opinion is subjective; we have somehow all become gods in our own minds. When forced to face what we do to each other, it is sobering. It is ugly, it is shameful, and it is heartbreaking.
Remember when you first saw The Force Awakens, and those incredible feelings we shared as we all met Daisy Ridley’s Rey? How our chests bulged with pride as time and again Rey stood up for herself, just like we all do every single day, but somehow most movies forgot we could? It’s embarrassing to say that characters like Rey and Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa aren’t the film norm, so when we actually see them properly depicted, it’s powerful. It brings out emotions we can’t contain. So, why in the world would we want to rip down those characters, and even worse, what inside any of us would make someone want to attack the actresses who played them? Rey and Ridley, Furiosa and Theron; we should celebrate them; we could emulate them.
After Daisy Ridley saw and first responded to this now-deleted (it contained a poster’s identifying information) Instagram criticism,
the actress wrote a powerful open letter that perfectly encapsulates both the positive and negative effects our words have on each other.
I could write a thousand more words on this subject, but none of them would pack the quiet gut punch Ridley’s last line does, so I’ll just reiterate it (again) with my own daughter’s words and the picture of Rey she drew. A spot of kindness, I hope, in the cold, dark interwebbical night.
“I think it was so that they finally made a girl the main character and the hero of the story! Daisy Ridley was absolutely awesome as Rey and I cannot wait to see more from her.” (L. Davis)