We’re in the era of social media spats, a seemingly harmless activity where the only things thrown are shade. Celebrities are especially susceptible to squabbles of the 140-character kind. Remember the Twitter feud between actress, model, and Wiz Khalifa's ex Amber Rose and Kanye West? Rose dished out some very intimate—and quite amusing—details about their relationship that we have no way of verifying.
While some athletes were busy bringing home their gold medals from Rio, the Twitter-verse was having a #SelenaEndedJustinParty. For those who are not in the know, Justin Bieber deleted his Instagram account after exchanging a few comments with Selena Gomez, who happens to be his ex.
This public display of animosity between famous people is just another spectacle for curious masses, but the beauty of social media is that we no longer need the paparazzi to couple with tabloids and sell their interpretations. We’ve got front row seats for as long as we have a working screen and internet connection.
Bieber was getting a lot of hateful comments from his fans on Instagram, specifically on photos of his new main squeeze, Sofia Richie. Gomez offered friendly advice, but was shot down by Bieber, implying that she used him to get famous. Gomez then dropped the virtual mic by revealing that Bieber cheated on her multiple times.
A famous quote goes, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and men everywhere have accepted that women are vindictive and scathing, and are therefore best left unprovoked. A woman’s anger is something that is feared, and sometimes ridiculed. It’s sayings like this that have us convinced that women should just shut up and calm down. In society’s acceptance of this adage, we’re taught to just wait and let a woman’s anger pass without actually listening.
We saw the tables turned at GamerGate, in which the actions of an angry ex-lover (a man) escalated into a full-on hate and harassment campaign against women in gaming. It spilled over into real, tangible threats that made the lives of the women involved a living nightmare. Actually, hell hath no fury like a lover scorned.
Women actually want and deserve to be heard.
“Emotional,” “hysterical,” and “wrathful” are just some of the explanations that society has when a woman loses the slightest bit of composure. This is reduction at its simplest and most belligerent form. It’s just another way of silencing a woman because her brain happened to form an opinion that she feels strongly about.
Even in social media, women are expected to live up to outdated standards. Look at any controversial Facebook post with at least 100 comments. If you can find an ostentatious comment coming from a woman, chances are there would be someone who would shoot her down using gender as a bullet. “Kababae mong tao ganyan ka magsalita.”
So what’s a man to do? Do we engage an angry woman shouting from the social media rooftops?
Filipino men are taught from birth, “Huwag pumatol sa babae.” This principle serves as the foundation of many unwritten rules that we live by in relationships and in casual interaction. From there, a bunch of social by-laws are formed—and men are labeled bakla or duwag every time they violate these "rules". Not to mention the actual laws of state that penalizes physical abuse and violence.
But social media may be contributing to the change of the traditional dynamic between man and woman. Because we’re all behind computers and phones, making patol is not as big a deal as it is when done in person. Most people aren’t confrontational, but given just enough anonymity and distance, people will pretty much stand their ground...online.
You have every right to defend yourself. If someone’s opinion, man or woman, is getting you all worked up and you are itching to respond, don’t invalidate their opinions by defining the gender constraints passed on to you by ancestors who didn’t know any better. Respectful and diplomatic responses can’t go wrong. And remember, a private message works wonders.