Backlash to Opinion Piece on Rave Culture Unwarranted
October 24, 2013
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.