Selective objectifying is empowering?

It doesn’t take much to get thrashed on social media nowadays. I’ve written about it before where a simple comment can have a person buried with hatred, insults and death threats. We already know that we’re in an overly sensitive society where people misconstrue, misinterpret and misunderstand things we say – or write. Either that or people are just trolling to pick fights on social media.

Allow me to tell you about the latest overreaction from Twitter users this week.

There has been a movement about female empowerment and equality. It undoubtedly stemmed from all of the sexual harassment and rape allegations dogging the entertainment and political worlds.

At the Golden Globes last weekend, there were movements called #WhyWeWearBlack,
in which people wore black clothing, and #TimesUp, meaning things need to change and get better for women in all aspects of life. (I don’t have room in this column to give the campaigns full context.)

When Justin Timberlake posted a picture of wife Jessica Alba and commented that she is “hot” while using hashtags associated with gender-empowering campaigns, I questioned if his remarks were appropriate. And I felt the wrath… for days.

My tweet: “Doesn’t “DAMN, my wife is hot” play right into the whole reason for the #WhyWeWearBlack campaign?”

And that is when the hate began. My point was that he is commenting publicly on his wife’s looks and not giving people a reason to see her as a talented and smart woman, but merely an object to be gawked at. That’s how I took it. But I was met with name calling, and worse: death threats. Yes, death threats just for asking that question.

The comments came by the dozens. It was like a news ticker with the latest replies scrolling on my phone screen. It continued long after the Golden Globes ended on Sunday.

The argument was that Timberlake is a proud husband who’s so in love with his wife that he puts her on a public pedestal to say she’s “hot.” Great. I’m not saying he should find her unattractive and gross. I was merely questioning if his message was appropriate for someone promoting a campaign that is aimed at heightening the presence of women in society.

Truly, I thought I was standing up for women with my comment. What was I thinking?!?!

Not everyone got their knickers in a twist. Some people agreed with me that Timberlake’s messaging seemed contradictory. Though looking at the traction my simple question got, I’m thinking people are just loose cannons on social media. I guess I already knew that but it was almost a laughable moment (minus the death threats) about how people fly off the rails at a simple comment.

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