It seems that it's not enough these days to be a superstar athlete and an alpha female to boot. In order to meet the grade, you must be possessed of the plasticized good looks of Pam Anderson (not knocking Pam, as what bi fem doesn't love hot babes in bikinis? But let's face it, most of Hollywood is plastic.) I found out about this incident after hearing a story on BBC radio about body image workshops for pre-teens. Olympic superstar swimmer Rebecca Adlington has been harassed by a twitter hater named Callum Aspley, who sent a vicious tweet from a blackberry stating: "you shark fin nosed derkhead, you belong in that pool you f---ing whale (The Telegraph, June 2012)." It is apparent both from Adlington's low digit ratio as well as her strong facial features that she is super alpha, which makes sense, given her athletic prowess.
It appears that this type of harassment has not only become socially acceptable, but is now considered a badge of honor. Ironically, the promotion of self-love and more "enlightened" parenting styles by both teachers and parents has also engendered a curious phenomenon: the disappearance of shame. Shame, that much disparaged feeling that all teachers and parents are trying to protect their children from, might be the only thing, along with fear of punitive repercussion such as corporal punishment, that keeps otherwise insensitive people from committing acts of (non-consensual) sadism on others. Ruthless, debased, and disgusting pranks such as the one devised by Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei resulting in New Jersey teen Tyler Clementi's death have now exhaulted the perpetrators of these acts to internet super-stardom.
Those in the public eye have long known that they need to draw on their strength of character to endure endless criticism from people they do not know, who often have motives that are purely political. Andy Warhol's proverbial 15 minutes has now been thrust upon us en masse, whether we want and appreciate it or not. While it is true that "sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you (physically)" and while I also adamantly support freedom of speech and creative expression, at what point, exactly, Mr. Obama, does freedom of speech become an incendiary personal attack?
Telegraph Story about Addlington Twitter Attack