Do we live in an age where it is now socially unacceptable to make a mistake?
No one will argue that social media has become society’s quickest route of communication for millions of people. We live in an age where people often get their historical and political facts from memes, and grievances are often discussed publicly and with more people than it really should involve sometimes. But I’m starting to wonder if we now live in an age where making any mistake is socially unacceptable.
Using the burlesque community as an example, because this problem overlaps with almost all communities, there are times where I have to get over the fear of making a mistake either in acts, in song choices, or even costuming so that I can get through the process of learning and evolving. Not only are you putting yourself onstage for the possibility of public scrutiny, but the scrutiny of your community as well. We have seen people criticized for performing to classic songs that others have made their signature pieces from. I have seen people tear down performers because they have yet to master a fan dance before taking to the stage. I have heard others scoff at a performer’s lack of rhinestones. I have also seen performers publicly shamed at an act that verges on cultural appropriation, when in fact, they were representing their culture despite not looking the typical aesthetic of said culture. And in most recent events we have seen a well known performer shamed because of a very poor choice in shock performance. (If you know the story, I’m in no way condoning what was done, but it is a mistake in the burlesque community and falls in line with this topic.)
The human existence is dependent on people not only making mistakes, but learning and evolving from each of them. The most successful people in the world are only in that position because they learn quickly from all of their mistakes.
But with people using social media as a quick way to get a reaction from others to jump on their band wagon, mistakes often become a source for a witch hunt. People quickly point fingers, say nasty things, and proclaim what they would have done differently without ever knowing the full extent of the situation at hand. All it takes is one accusation to damn you to ridicule, threats, and community blacklisting. I often wonder if others forget what it’s like to make a mistake. I wonder if they would sit down and think about a mistake in their life that was handled in private and how differently it would have been to have it handled in the public limelight, if they would continue to damn the person in question. Have we all lost our empathy for one another? You can be a wonderful person and make a mistake. You can be a shitty person and be the victim of another’s mistake, but this mob mentality doesn’t do much for anyone involved.
Next time you see someone post something condemning on social media, take a moment to put yourself in both party’s shoes before you make your proclamations. I wonder if that will change your initial reactions.