Whiles browsing on Facebook a few weeks back, I came across an interesting page called ‘You Call Yourself a Photographer’. With over 4,000 likes on Facebook I thought it was worth checking out. Glancing though the page, I came across an image of a veteran who had wrapped his baby in the American Flag. The picture sparked controversy online as some people argued the picture depicted the American flag in a distasteful manner; disrespecting American culture.
People may have different beliefs and views about particular issues, however, it is clear that regarding this topic in question, not everyone agrees that it is simply an innocent photograph. In my opinion, this harmless picture was taken too seriously and uproar on social media does not reflect values such as freedom of expression which America claims to be built on.
In recent years, countless amount of Cyber bullying has been reported in the media and Sullivan (2006) clearly defines Cyber bullying as ‘a method of bullying made possible through the use of technology.’ Indeed, this picture could have quite easily been a figure of positivity but this was however not the case. Similarly, Bargh (2002) compared the internet to ‘strangers on the bus’. Relating this to the topic, due to the widespread of negativity and conflict over this particular picture, the victim of this bullying contacted Facebook to remove the Facebook page but to her uttermost surprise, nothing was done about it as Facebook disputed the accusation of bullying. Personally, I think this is the highest form of bullying, despite the fact that people do view things differently, this picture depicts a soldier that has fought hard for a country he loves and by wrapping his baby in the flag denotes a sense of belonging and love.
While it’s tempting to think the negative views of this image is as a result of patriotism, it is vital to remember Hosman (2002) warns us about the dangers of judgements and attitudes towards a particular message. Similarly, Lederer (1991) made some observations about the power of language and how it cannot be taken for granted. To make reference to the article, I think it is safe to say that people are abusing Lederer’s view about language not being taken seriously.
– Yvette –