Am I a Jerk for Laughing at This?

Today I entertained myself by reading about people getting offended. It started when I read an article about girls being “slut shamed” for using the dog filter on Snapchat. After reading that article, I was hooked. I did an google search for “hoe filter” and opened article after article. I wasn’t interested in the cause, but I thought the depth of emotion poured into this the word “hoe filter” was funny. Am I a horrible person?

For those of you who don’t know what the hoe filter is, this is why everyone was mad:

The enemies say: Dog Filter = Hoe Filter

The innocent women who just like the dog filter say: “Hoe Filter” = Slut shaming

The dog filter says: Woman of snapchat, come hither! I will elongate your face, smooth your scaley human skin and give you cute dog features. You will be perfect.

This big issue over the dog filter is somewhat old news already. The point of telling you is so it can be an example for my argument, which is that judging people who gets offended is not very nice.

But wait! Laughing isn’t necessarily judging. Laughing at someone’s response does not mean you’re judging them, right? Maybe you think their response isn’t reasonable, but it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a jerk faced critic. I would argue in fact that laughter is (often) one of the less judgmental ways of responding. Is it not better to laugh than to respond with with a snort of contempt or a passionate anger at human stupidity. Laughter here might just imply that someone’s response shouldn’t be taken seriously. Laughter alone is usually pretty harmless.

That being said, whether or not your laughter is judgey depends largely the feelings that exist behind it.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. How do you feel about the people you are laughing at?

Are you apathetic towards them, compassionate, or do you kind-of, sort-of hate them? If you hate them, it might be beneficial to ask yourself why. If you’re laughing at someone over hatred, it’s pretty similar to a snort of contempt.

      2. How well educated are you about the thing?

If you have an uneducated opinion about why you’re laughing, recognize that. This doesn’t mean that you’re awful for laughing without understanding. But if you don’t get it, just realize you don’t get it. Depending on the situation, this could mean a number of things: it might mean educating yourself, learning about what other people are saying, or refraining from trying to get others to laugh with you.

     3. Have you tried to understand the thing?

About the dog-filter thing. I feel like 99.9% of the guys who call them hoe’s aren’t doing it maliciously. I don’t think they see the term ‘hoe-filter’ as particularly damaging. I realize though that the problem with slut-shaming deals with the implications of people freely using the word ‘hoe’ in a negative context. And while most of the time this sort of language isn’t going to be hurtful, there is a demographic of people might truly be hurt by it. For example, if someone was shamed for losing their virginity after being raped, then it would make sense for them to genuinely hate being called a ‘hoe’.

     4. What exactly are you laughing at?

Sometimes things are very serious but we laugh because our minds connect whatever we’re reading to something that happens to be really funny, Maybe there’s a picture in the article that is distracting us, or maybe what we’re reading is worded in a strange way. I was at a bible when it was my turn to read, I couldn’t stop laughing at the way my bible worded the verse: “And Jesus hurt their [the pharisees] feelings.” The topics of the bible study were serious enough. That sentence just sounded so off.

5. Where are you?

If you’re home alone, reading articles about Snapchat filters, your laughter probably won’t hurt anyone. If a good friend is expressing her distress over this to you face to face, your laughter could potentially offend her a little bit. In this sort of setting, it’s important that to be a good listener.. not just listening to the argument, but also listening to vocal tonality, body language and emotions of your friends. Engaging them with empathy should lessen the desire to laugh.

So in conclusion: laughing at anger isn’t awful. Just try to have some understanding. Look at the reasons for your laughter, as well as the reasons for why someone is hurt.

Thanks for reading! And let me know what you think in the comments below.



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