Backlash to Opinion Piece on Rave Culture Unwarranted

Katie Wilcox

Lights flash at a rave.

With the recent publishing of the October issue of the MArk came a massive amount of backlash regarding several articles, including an opinion on rave culture from an outsider’s perspective, written by journalist Sabina Vitale.

Vitale outlines that while she has no problem with her fellow students attending raves, she feels their social media activity following these events is motivated by either boredom or intentions of promiscuity. Specifically, she comments that ravers often post photos of themselves at raves in order to make up for their lack of fun, or to show off their “revealing clothing.”

While the article may have been a bit antagonistic, the backlash she received was not warranted.

We agree with the criticism that Vitale’s account of ravers’ intentions behind social media use is oversimplified. It is possible, and even probable, that much of ravers’ actions is a symptom of 21st century self-involvement: the fact that we post everything on social media. Thus, it is likely that ravers post pictures of themselves at raves for the same reasons they would post any other picture documenting anywhere else they have been.

Despite the confrontational nature of Vitale’s article, she recognizes that she is “an uninvolved bystander who has never attended a rave in person,” and she affirms “that anyone should be allowed to do whatever they want.”

Vitale only intended her article to shed light on rave culture from an outsider’s perspective, which was misunderstood by many critics.

Critics felt that Vitale was singling out a culture in which they are personally involved, and that they should be entitled to express their own opinion in response. We encourage such expression, as do all news publications, however, we do not feel that to be hateful and personally judgmental toward someone who presented any opinion is ever justified. By posting comments such as the following, critics are creating the very environment for which they argue against: one of judgment and hate.

In response to this claim, we would like to reemphasize that the focus of Vitale’s article is on the image that rave culture displays to outsiders, so the article is intentionally written by somebody who has never been to a rave.

This argument is getting at the fact that the way one physically expresses oneself should not reveal anything about one’s moral character. We agree that one should not be judged morally on the way one physically expresses oneself. However, the fact is that when an outsider views pictures from raves, inferences happen whether or not they should. It is inevitable that people will draw snap conclusions based on the clothing  exposed in these pictures. For example, when you see a red solo cup in a picture, what do you infer is inside that cup? Maybe your inference is wrong, but it happens.

Vitale’s article is an opinion piece. We believe that the author has a right to her opinion, so we also believe that people have the right to express countering ones. However there is a time, a place, and a manner in which to make these, and cyberbullying is definitely not the answer. The following screenshots demonstrate that much of the criticism toward this article has adopted the form of cyberbullying that is not constructive and personally degrades the author.

We feel, as the editorial board of the other prominent news publication at M-A, that it is our responsibility to comment on the distasteful backlash Vitale’s opinion piece received. We hope that in writing this article we are supporting the freedom of expression in the press, as well as continuing to elevate the conversation among our student body in a healthy manner.

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Comments

9 Responses to “Backlash to Opinion Piece on Rave Culture Unwarranted”

  1. Marleyna on October 24th, 2013 10:59 pm

    I understand both sides of this, however I would love to hear why she is unable to hold a conversation with someone who has attended a rave… guess I have one less person to talk to at MA… (“I find it hard to have a serious conversation with them”). I’m pretty sure MA categorizes a comment like that as bullying.

    This opinion piece seemed more like a prejudicial piece. It is uncomforting to know that my school’s student body would chose to intimidate and disrespect any group of people. The article on the GSA was wonderful and I don’t recall it throwing any slurs or presumptions around. Lastly, articles are often chosen to be published anonymously. If she wasn’t ready for it, maybe she should have chosen otherwise.

    I am a large candidate for free speech, but no where does that entail unwarranted negative remarks towards a very specific population of students. Just as MA has made an effort to ameliorate the negative language on campus towards racial groups, various sexual preferences, and disabilities, we should attempt to stop condoning negative publication against the student body as a whole, or as individuals.

    I would hope the entire campus would put more of an effort into maintaining an nonjudgmental atmosphere. If I were given the task of writing an outsider view on an activity, I would never include the hateful language I saw present in this one.

  2. jweiner on October 24th, 2013 11:13 pm

    I think the important thing to remember is that social media is just as public (if not more) as a magazine. Both sides had the right to voice their beliefs but it was apparent that Sabina was unfairly attacked for her opinion.

  3. Anna de Benedictis on October 24th, 2013 11:53 pm

    Preach! I love the support that the M-A publications are giving each other. This rave article opened up ideas about opinions and the proper way to discuss them.

  4. sparish on October 25th, 2013 8:35 pm

    I think the article was presented in the wrong way, but it didn’t warrant a response like this.

  5. Mark on October 25th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Was the article supposed to be satirical? If it was then it was not executed in a manner that was satirical. This whole conflict is kind of awkward….

  6. kcanny on October 25th, 2013 11:06 pm

    The backlash that Sabina recieved for this article is just horrible, I don’t think Vitale had any intention of being offensive but I agree that the article was a little aggressive. Overall the responses and defiantly unwarranted.

  7. cwoods on October 26th, 2013 5:07 pm

    I completely agree with the Editorial Board. Sabina is receiving unwarranted hate for her article. She clearly expresses it as an opinion, explaining how rave-attenders look to an OUTSIDER, which is what she clearly identifies herself as. Those people who were clearly and intently hurtful to her were completely out of line, and obviously do not understand the meaning of “opinion”. Their comments were extremely over-the-top in their name calling and hate, regardless of whether or not the backlash was deserved. The M-A administration, I believe, should step in, because this is the type of cyberbullying we have been to countless assemblies to prevent. Sabina’s article was completely valid in her personal assessment of ravers. If actual rave-attenders do not agree with her comments, they have the right to disagree, but name calling is not the way to voice their opinion. In doing so, they only further portray themselves as trashy, classless members of society. Opinions are just that, opinions.

  8. Eliza dewar on October 27th, 2013 5:40 pm

    As a personal friend of Vitale I have to say, there were parts of the article that could be taken offensively but I entirely agree that the response to the article was grossly inappropriate. I agree that such fowl language is never warranted.

  9. eperrine on October 27th, 2013 6:17 pm

    Whoever wrote all that about Sabina was definitely out of line. The way her article was presented could be seen as offensive by ravers, but she admits that she has never been to a rave in person and isn’t intending to offend anyone.