The headline below could come from The Onion, though it’s not really that funny, even as a satire. But it’s not a satire: it’s true. (Other sites—as well as the tabloids—give the same report.)
You can read the story, from the entertainment site Kanyi Daily, by clicking on the screenshot below.
A 19-year-old aspiring model, Chloe Davison has committed suicide after she failed to get enough “likes” on her photos on social media.
The selfie-loving teen hanged herself in her bedroom at her family home in County Durham, United Kingdom.
Her 20-year-old devastated sister, Jade said Chloe struggled socially at school and rarely went out with friends, instead staying indoors and taking pictures of herself for social media.
The social media obsessed teen thought she “wasn’t good enough unless she was getting likes,” which is why she relied on Instagram and Snapchat to feel good about herself.
. . .The pretty 19-year-old was often targeted by online trolls who would send her nasty messages and mocked her appearance.
Coombs said that too many people felt they could say whatever they wanted to the attractive teen because it wasn’t face-to-face.
. . . On Friday night, Chloe’s mum and sister returned home from a bar around 11:30pm, and found the teenager hanging in her bedroom.
Chloe had been taking selfies moments before she killed herself. When she was taken down, her hair and makeup were still perfect. She was wearing a new lingerie that she had been excited to model.
Here are two more pictures of the poor woman:
EurWeb, gives quotes from Chloe’s sister Jade:
“Social media isn’t 100 per cent the cause [for her death] but it was a big part because it’s too easy for people to sit behind a phone or computer and send nasty messages with no consequences.
“I sat with Chloe many nights when she was crying because someone had said something horrible.
“Chloe didn’t see what we saw. She was so beautiful inside and out and would have done absolutely anything for me, her baby niece and the rest of her family.”
Jade said her sister struggled with social anxiety and blames social media for playing a “big part” in her death.
“It’s such a shame people feel like the only way to be happy is to feel accepted on social media because it’s all fake,” she added.
Well, there are lots of interacting causes of this tragedy, including Chloe’s anxiety, but it’s exacerbated by a social-media culture that is probably too ingrained to fix. One factor, which reflects the behavior of both men and women, is equating a woman’s worth with her looks and her sexuality. In my view, that results partly from evolution, and isn’t really something introduced by Facebook or Instagram. Social media has simply exacerbated that trend because you can show yourself to, and get ogled by, by nearly everybody in the world.
We all know people on Facebook, for instance, who post frequent updates of themselves in lingerie or skimpy clothing, apparently to draw attention. This always makes me sad, especially when the person has many other traits that are interesting or likable, and don’t really need to show skin. Blame sexual selection, but at least—or so I’d like to think—people are educable in a way that can ameliorate this trend.
Then of course there’s the obsession with “likes”. Apparently there’s something called “ratioing” on Twitter, though I haven’t quite figured out what it is. But it’s an index of how many people like your tweets (maybe it’s on Instagram or Facebook as well). But the sheer number of “likes” can be mistaken for love, as it was by Chloe. Again, I have no idea what to do about this save recommend therapy for those who fall prey to it.
And of course there’s trolling and bullying. As Chloe’s sister said, “She’d get hundreds of messages each day, mostly men asking her for sexual stuff, sometimes they were nice, but other times they told Chloe they wanted to hurt her.” This, too, is inherent in social media, with its cloak of anonymity and absence of face-to-face interaction. If everyone were required to give their real name, though I don’t know how this could be enforced, the amount of negative interactions on social media would drop drastically.
I’m no expert on this, but all of us know about the obsession with attention from strangers that’s rife on social media. I’d sound like an old get-off-my-lawn geezer were I to write any more. I just wish Chloe had found a good therapist who could tell her how to find her real worth.
And now my plane is two hours late—a mechanical problem—so I’ll read James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain (a terrific novel so far) and maybe prepare tomorrow’s Hili dialogue.