Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Concern Trolling and Unattainable Perfection

Concern trolling is the act of pretending you care about someone as a means of bullying and harassing them. It's the person who hates all fat people but pretends to just be super worried for our health, for example.

People who do this don't actually care about whatever it is they say they care about. They hate. Whatever group it is they're after, it is out of loathing and prejudice. And it's yet another way we are expected to strive for an unattainable level of perfection.

I wrote about the burden of perfection before, and it hasn't gone anywhere. Previously, I was talking about how the internet and the lousy job market come together to make sure our every little move and flaw is held against us and that we must be utterly perfect in order to be considered for jobs. With concern trolling, it's more about social perfection.

We're too fat; we're too thin; we're too slutty; we're prudes; we're too this or too that. There is no winning. No matter what we do, we're doing it wrong. There's no way to work within a system like this, so the only way to overcome it is to take a radical instead of reformist stance.

This is where we reject and ignore everyone who tells us there's something wrong. All the magazines that give out diet tips, all the shows that ridicule wardrobes, all the commercials for magic pills and gyms, and so on. Throw them out, turn them off, whatever. Ignore people who say awful things on the internet. Don't let the trolls -- online or in real life -- dominate your mind.

If we were all perfect, no one would have anything to learn and life would be pretty boring. As trite and cliche as it sounds, our flaws are what make us who we are. Why are we constantly under pressure to eliminate the very things that make us interesting ? (The answer to that is money. If we hate ourselves it's easier to sell us self-improvement products.)

Obviously, a radical overhaul of the system is easier said than done, especially for people who need to find and keep a job. But we can live outside it in small ways, like what I listed above. Striking a balance between your needs and your principles won't always be easy, but it's part of growing up.

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