Discovering the boundary between hate and self-expression

The Tower Staff

In the current day, self-expression is a dominant trait. Young people across the country have flocked to platforms like Instagram or Snapchat to show off their unique outfits or stand-out makeup. We at the Tower will always encourage this; everyone deserves to feel safe in their own skin. If being vocal on social media is important to you, then take those photos, send that tweet. But at the same time, be mindful of the boundaries of your own expression.

When cultivating your own tastes and preferences, it’s easy to step on others’ toes. Laughing at their choice of food, calling their style basic, etc. There is a fine line between giving feedback on another’s self-expression and bullying them; it’s important for social media users to be aware of this. We at the Tower fully support self-discovery and expression but never do we want it to cross into mocking and hatred.

According to a Pew Research study, nearly 59 percent of teens have been bullied online. The effects of this cruelty can have small and large repercussions, and it’s important to always keep in mind the importance of kindness. An affectionate word can make someone’s day, and a harsh one can ruin it. When we as individuals look for a safe place to express ourselves, we must also create a safe place for others. Who would know better than those who have been marginalized and mocked exactly how much it hurts? Why would we ever want to bring that pain to another person?

The change can start with us. Gen Z is the most individualistic generation, according to a study by McKinsey and Co. We are capable and ready to change the status quo when it comes to acceptance and expression. The Tower stands with the individuals, the outcasts, the ones who are different. Where they ask for support in their creative expression, we are ready to give it. And we encourage others to do the same.

There will always be people who push against social norms, and there will always be people who try to mock them for it. It is our job as the young generation to fight back against the spread of hate and create a new culture of acceptance. When you let your creativity and individuality shine through, we at the Tower believe the world is made a better place. So bring up those around you–through respect and camaraderie and love, not hate or mockery. Take a moment to compliment someone on their outfit instead of making a condescending remark. Remember what it was like to be laughed at and refuse to let that happen to anyone else. The Tower staff encourages everyone to pursue the person they want to be–don’t forget to bring others up with you in the process.