Smith: Support the uniqueness of others

Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith encourages everyone to be kind and supportive on social media and in real life instead of criticizing and shaming others for their differences.

Sage Smith

Criticizing and shaming others for what brings them joy is cruel, unnecessary and hypocritical.

We live in a society of various cultures, opinions, aesthetics, etc. and there are plenty of people who support the uniqueness of each other. But I also see plenty of “critiques” on social media, and I’m very frustrated and disheartened by it.

Not surprisingly, TikTok videos are what sparked the motivation to write this column.

I’ve recently been seeing multiple TikToks focused on tattoo styles. Specifically, people expressing their distaste for sleeve tattoos and preferring a more spaced-out look; I’ve seen them referring to it as wanting people to look like a sketchbook.

It’s OK to have preferences and I know a lot of those videos were individuals talking about what they find attractive. The problem though is those videos put out the idea that those who have a certain style of tattoos are less attractive and it is putting them in a negative box.

This isn’t just about tattoos. There is an extremely competitive nature on social media and in real life. Everyone is trying to outdo everyone else. There is some fun to this, but there is also exclusivity.

The TikTok storm has brought a ton of attention to various subcultures, which existed long before the TikTok era, but it is so popular now. I feel like TikTok specifically and social media in general is full of people trying to be the cutest couple and have the best outfits.

It’s totally OK to share what you’re proud of and I think a lot of it is in good fun. I just don’t appreciate when I see videos clearly criticizing people for their behavior and/or looks.

Everyone’s body is their own body, they are free to decorate it however they wish. It is hurtful and pointless to share negative feelings about certain styles — tattoos, clothing and otherwise.

It is so much more helpful and kind when people on social media are supportive and call others out for being rude. I love those videos that pop up of someone literally yelling about how they love someone or them sharing an experience they had that made them feel bad so they wanted to bring awareness to it.

Why can’t we just be nice to each other? Seeing someone get a new tattoo they love, post their “outfit of the day” because it made them feel confident, that all makes me so happy. 

This column is of course more focused on and about TikTok but I do mean all social media. These sorts of things can be seen everywhere on digital platforms and in real life.

But I must say, TikTok has overall been pretty positive for me. This may be contributed to the “sides” of TikTok I am on — Alt TikTok, FrogTok, Mental Health TikTok and so much more. For those who don’t know, they are all pretty open-minded and supportive TikTok algorithms.

Just be nice, OK? If you don’t find a specific style attractive, that’s alright, but you don’t have to tell others they should find it unattractive too. Let them develop their own opinions and thought processes.

Be proud of your unique qualities and interests, and celebrate those who are both similar to you and different than you.