Comfort in Offensive Content

Unsympathetic users have found a platform for derogatory trends

A+girl+pulls+back+her+eye+for+the+fox-eye+trend+compared+to+a+geniune+Asian+eye.+Trends+like+these%2C+to+the+Asian+community%2C+seem+like+a+way+to+mimic+their+inherited+eyes.+Even+though+they+endured+years+of+ridicule%2C+when+models+do+it+they+are+beautiful.

Rhyen Standridge and Amelia Vohsen

A girl pulls back her eye for the fox-eye trend compared to a geniune Asian eye. Trends like these, to the Asian community, seem like a way to mimic their inherited eyes. Even though they endured years of ridicule, when models do it they are beautiful.

People take comfort in the anonymity platforms offer. It serves as a shield against real repercussions. As a result, people have crossed the lines multiple times at the expense of hurting thousands, if not millions of people.

Along with Black Lives Matter rising in popularity, racial appropriation became important to fight against for people of color, leading to backlash for the “fox eye trend”, which is basically people pulling their eyes outward, for a slimming effect. And I understand that some people did not have malicious intent, but I took this to heart. Being one of the few Asian people in a majority of white public schools, I always felt different. People made sure of it. From being in elementary school, waiting in line and some kid behind me would go “My mom is Chinese, my dad is Japanese, look at what they did to me,” pulling their eyes in different directions, mocking my almond eyes. I would and still do go home crying because I feel different, and I feel so much pressure to assimilate with my white peers.

 It hurts because for years I have been mocked for something I cannot control, while when white models do it, it’s so trendy it catches fire. It spreads through Instagram, Snapchat, all the social media in the world. Yet, I know from years of Asian women in my family telling me I am beautiful, I believe it. But still, when I look in the mirror and I see everyone around me, I forget. People make a trend devaluing Asians, tweets that Asian girls aren’t pretty. And when asked they said out of all the races they wouldn’t date Asians. As if I don’t already feel like an outlier in my own community. 

Being one of the few Asian people in a majority of white public schools, I always felt different. People made sure of it. From being in elementary school, waiting in line and some kid behind me would go ‘My mom is Chinese, my dad is Japanese, look at what they did to me,’ pulling their eyes in different directions, mocking my almond eyes.”

— Sydney Tran

Out of all the trends that have come and gone, there is one that should have never seen the light of day. Recently in September, a jumpscare was created, luring naive users into cute animal videos and cutting to a screen-recording of a man shooting himself live on social media. This trend utterly disrespects the man and his loved ones who had to witness it go viral. Along with no trigger warnings before the clip for those who were affected by suicide. A complete lack of care for September being suicide awareness month. Then older users show their younger siblings’ reactions for likes and comments. But, exposing such a serious topic as a jumpscare, is just a plain lack of human decency. Seeing those impressionable children try to comprehend what they saw was heartbreaking. Because some children will not understand why this man did what he did, but be traumatized at the sight of his head shattered to pieces. 

But, what can we do? As users we need to report it immediately to prevent someone at risk from seeing it. We should not give attention to people who create such content because it fuels the flame. They crave attention. Report, block, move on. By reporting the video or blocking content, social media sites will mark that account and remove content similar to it. 

This also starts by listening to the people who are sensitive or offended by these trends. Numerous times I have been told not to take offense of the “fox eye” trend, by white people. The irony of people telling me not to be offended by something that has never been an issue for them because they never had to deal with the mocking and the jokes, and they never had to look in the mirror, with tears in their eyes, knowing they were the outlier. My eyes are not a trend.

It’s also important to be vigilant about sensitive topics like these because many people may be triggered by this content. Never underestimate the power of a trigger warning. Those few seconds allow those who feel sensitive about those topics to move on. The effect of a trigger on trauma victims is immense, like panic attacks, flashbacks, or even relapse. This also affects younger users who are easily influenced by eating disorder accounts or can be traumatized by self-harm violence. Showing compassion for those who suffer through casual racism or mental illness, makes a big difference in making people feel like they have a place in the world.

I always see strong mental illness survivors, beautiful people who fended off an eating disorder, and strong Asian women proud of their culture. And content like that makes me proud to be alive because social media has the power to empower its users. But, it also has the power to tear individuals down, so even if you don’t know better, you can learn to do better.