Not OK: State Fair's Facebook Page Turns into a Body-Shaming Free-For-All
Just when you think the Internet can’t get any meaner, it goes ahead and OF COURSE gets meaner.
There is a Facebook page and it is entitled “People of the Iowa State Fair.” The page was created in August of 2013 and it describes itself as a little spot of Internet where people can “celebrate the beautiful, colorful people who make State Fair going anywhere. . . a great memorable experience for millions.”
Yeah, that hasn’t really been happening so much lately. I mean, yes, there are still people using this page to completely innocuously celebrate the fair and that’s all fine and good. That said, there’s been a lot of photos taken and comments written that bully the fair’s heavier guests.
To be fair, the meanness that the page has incited was never the goal of the anonymous administrator, who specifically asks people to be nice when they post photos because their names are visible on comments. “Every person in every pic and video here contributes to the awesomeness of the fair, and none of them deserve to be hated on. They rock for being their unique selves,”
Good on that administrator, whoever he or she is, for setting up those guidelines, but people have been flat-out ignoring that whole “don’t hate on people” rule. Fortunately, there have been a lot of group members who have come to the defense of the weight-shamed (because the Internet isn’t ENTIRELY mean, just, you know, mostly mean). When a picture of a heavier woman wearing a fanny pack got a ridiculous amount of hate, some of the cooler fairgoers came to that woman’s defense.
“I remember seeing her at the fair and I told my husband how beautiful she looked,” one group member commented. “I love her smoking-hot haircut and there was just something about her. . . She had confidence in her appearance and who she was! I think it is wonderful when thick women have confidence in who they are and how they look!”
The woman’s family also came to her defense. “This is my sister. Not only is she one of the most confident women in my life, but also one of the most inspiring,” wrote another commenter.
It’s super awesome of these Facebook users to play hero-defenders, but the thing is, there shouldn’t have to BE any defending, this free-for-all Facebook page shouldn’t exist. And the Iowa State Fair agrees.
“We don’t have any affiliation with it,” fair spokesperson Lori Chappell told WHO-TV. She then added “It’s kind of a hurtful Facebook page.”
So why doesn’t the admin, who has gone on record saying that “people posting rude comments are jerks” just take the page down? Well, as the anonymous administrator puts it:
“If I took the site down tomorrow, someone else would have a new one by the end of the day. And they may not moderate it with the same considerations we do. They may be unwilling to remove items. They may add hateful captions. We do none of that, and we do not encourage anyone else to.”
True or not true, the fact remains that Facebook should not be allowing a page this hateful to exist. The Iowa State Fair has been putting pressure on the social media giant to take down the page, but the website is refusing to budge, insisting that the page “does not violate community standards.” That’s a bold statement to make, considering they were completely cool removing this awesome lesbian kiss and these crew girls posing nude in the most tasteful way you can possibly pose nude because they violated community standards.
The problem really lies with the twisted people who feel entitled to publicly shame other people for no good reason. But since we can’t weed each one of those haters out, the responsibility falls to the big cheeses, the social media platforms, to make the call. It’s time to update those community standards to include such egregious violations as bullying and shaming innocent victims. We need to make the Internet a safer place, and we need to do it now.