As someone who is of the same age as O'Neill, I understand where she is coming from. We have this impending anxiety to be reassured that what we are wearing, what we are saying, and what we are doing is right. I have to admit that even I feel let down when my original posts on the Internet do not get as much likes or shares as I anticipated. Recognition is an amazing feeling, however in social media context, that feeling is heightened to new levels. I was asking around for opinions regarding this and one of my friends said that we have to take into consideration the vast amount of people on the internet and how it's so hard to be original. The more people present, the less likely you are to stand out. Adding to the toxicity is the fact that O'Neill mixes the need for validation and consumerism through her sponsorships. It seems that she has been getting by through her sponsorships alone since she has called for donations after she had "quit" social media. I can only imagine how much stress a person can go through knowing that her state of living is dependent on the validation of others.
I'm not saying I'm totally against O'Neill. She raises good points about the sexualization and exploitation of a young woman's body. She is completely right on how we should be ourselves on social media. But she fails to define what draws the line in being genuine with situations that are unlike hers. She generalizes too much. Social media is the revolutionary invention in communication technology. You cannot apply morality on social media and call it evil. It's the existing unjust social norms that follow social media that is the problem. The power of social media is dependent on the susceptibility of every individual.
Written by Anna Cayco
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