October 3, 2017
Memes are supposed to be relatable. But often times, that sarcastic picture of SpongeBob creating a rainbow with his hands can just seem random, confusing and most of all, not relatable.
Delve further into meme culture, and you’re met with hashtags, abbreviations and a common theme of posts with one message: “I Hate Everything.”
Perhaps it’s because there is a Wednesday Addams within all of us. But this theme is most likely leftover from that awkward transition between childhood and facial hair; it’s not cool to like something too much.
As we have transitioned from high school to college, it seems that some people have continued the mindset that certain stereotypes define who someone is.
Even if we thought that we left these labels and stereotypes in our adolescence, this attitude stuck with us and has seeped onto our T-shirts and social media accounts.
As college students, we are taught to criticize the world around us and look for verifiable information and logical arguments. We are discouraged from taking anything at face value.
But sometimes, thinking critically might be taken too far. This principle needs to be differentiated from hating something because we don’t relate to it.
Critical thinking is beneficial for us in our way of viewing the world; however, it shouldn’t be used to justify a cultural acceptance of having a hateful attitude toward everything, even if this attitude is meant to be funny.
It shouldn’t be acceptable to be hatefully critical of the opinions of others as a default.
In a culture where social media looms large as an influence, people who like anything popular, like pumpkin spice or yoga pants, are “basic,” which is, to some, the most shameful insult of the modern day.
If you are the kind of person who makes fun of others for their fandoms or hobbies, you might ask yourself if the real reason you’re feeling hateful is because of jealousy and your own inability to express love for something unapologetically.
When you notice yourself feeling unreasonable amounts of anger, hatred or otherwise negative feelings, ask yourself why you’re really feeling that way.
Take a step back from your personal perspective and examine the situations around you more objectively.
Perhaps your criticism of others’ behavior or thoughts are justified, but perhaps you have let social media dampen your attitude a little too much.
Don’t let yourself fall into a pattern of stereotyping or prematurely criticizing another person or perspective.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that everyone has a negative or positive dispositional attitude toward any given stimulus.
Their findings suggested that “attitudes are not simply a function of the properties of a stimulus under consideration, but also a function of the properties of the evaluator.”
In other words, what people hate heavily depends on who they are. Is everything awful, or is it just you?
Maybe you should take notice of your conversations. Are they dominated by trivial complaints and whining? Reflect on why that is and whether you should make changes to your attitude.
Letting go of the “I hate everything” attitude can liberate you from having to establish yourself as “not like other girls” or uninfluenced-by-mainstream-culture-but-not-a-hipster.
Realize that it’s awesome to be a fan of something, even if it’s as simple as a silly meme.