If you’re in college or are a millennial adult, you’ve probably heard of Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app. You can post anything about anything…or anyone. There are very few ways to use it in a way that spreads positive vibes. It’s basically a free for all for cyber bullying and name calling.
Yesterday my roommate was alerted by a friend that someone had called her out on Yik Yak. She was sent a screenshot of an anonymous person insulting her. Luckily it was rather quickly downvoted, leading to its removal. But sadly, this was not an isolated event. Last year a different friend and I were both mentioned in a list of people who were all classified as “thirsty.” For people who don’t know, most people define people who are thirsty as people who are desperate for a relationship/hook up/etc. My friend who was on that list with me is one of the nicest people I know, and she did not deserve this.
It is sad that I now feel the need to defend myself and my friend. I should not have to prove to anyone that I am not something they say I am, or that my friends are humans who deserve respect. My roommate should not have to remind herself that she is beautiful; she should not have to see someone publicly shame her for no reason. My friend on the list with me should not have to wonder who thought she seemed to fit the bill of that attribute. I should not have to get angry about someone insulting my best friends, the most kind and beautiful people I know.
No one should have to stare at a screen wondering why an anonymous person thought they had the right to make someone feel bad about themselves. I shouldn’t have to ask friends if they put me on the list as a joke (because at least if that were true I could have laughed). I want so badly to find the person who wrote these things, to tell them that their words did not go unheard, oh no, they sunk into our skins. They seeped into our brains, into our thought process. Their words made us question our bodies, our clothes, our words.
So to you, anonymous person: I would love to hit you, to yell at you, to trip you in the hallway. But I won’t. Because I’m not like you; I hope I never am. So I hope that your life starts to look up so you don’t have to hide behind a screen and hurt people anymore. I hope you realize the impact of your words and find it in you to feel bad about them. Because my roommate is not what you decide she is.