Ever since the Youtube vs TikTok controversy broke out, I unwittingly supported Youtube primarily for two reasons – the kind of classist society I live in adjudged TikTok to be unlikable and cringe-worthy, and secondly, I never used it because of the first reason. I have seen a few TikTok videos and laughed at them, laughed at the way people in them dressed, their accent, the place where it was shot(farms, rooftop with cluttered buildings in the background, villages with filthy pavements). The short videos on it certainly do not match the “already set standards of glamour“.
I was initially skeptical about content on TikTok but have changed my mind ever since the awareness of new facts. Statistically, in India, TikTok has more active users in rural and semi-urban areas than in urban areas. Content creation has largely been an urban elitist sphere and now as space cedes to more user-friendly platforms like these with users from non-elite class, hatred is being spewed.
The social circle to which I belong proudly calls the users of apps like this gavaar (literally meaning a person from the village). Gavaar shouldn’t be even used as a cuss word. Apps like TikTok, Likee, Helo give people a sense of freedom to express just anything because that is what they are designed for. The content deemed as cringe-worthy actually gives an insight into what a majority of our population, who reside in nonurban areas, think.
My favorite #TikTok couple recreating my fav song!
Follow mr.dineshpawar on TikTok if you havnt already! pic.twitter.com/ildaBNwMO8
— Bhupendra (@ibhupendra) March 8, 2020
Critics of TikTok even state that it contains fake news, toxic masculinity, misogynist content but isn’t it all over the internet? Why blame just this app? Why not address the root cause of such content? Shunning it would mean turning a blind eye to people with modest backgrounds from rural areas and it would further reduce the digital representation of already underrepresented people belonging to rural India.
Recently, as I was trying to convince one of my friends as to why she shouldn’t hate TikTok and its users, with the aforementioned arguments, she called me a hypocrite. I do admit to being a classist hitherto but I have changed my opinion ever since.
Hypocrisy is when you are concealing your actual feelings and showing something else for petty gains. It is when you do not practice what you preach. There is a larger, usually selfish, interest behind this dissemble. Hypocrites seek validation and contradict their stand and actions just to please others.
Being rigid and not open to new ideas is a sign of a mind that doesn’t want to evolve. On the other hand, a mind with changing opinions which are constructive per se shows progress. Cognizance is when we are open to new ideas and ready to incorporate them even at the cost of what we have believed in so far. It is our ability to change opinions after certain knowledge has been bestowed upon us.
The righteousness of an opinion is definitely subject to debate. Debate and discussion on finding the right opinions result in more moral and justifiable opinions(which are again subject to debate) thus setting this virtuous cycle in motion. Critical thinking is an integral part of human evolution and we should therefore continuously question our choices, decisions, and ideas. It would result in opinions that are more informed and inclusive.
At times we call others hypocrites for changing their decisions and this might result in a fear of them being judged. Fear of judgment and people calling you out is one reason which explains our rigidity in changing opinions. When this rigidity becomes large, it results in an intolerant society. This less acceptance and intolerance is detrimental to society’s collective conscience.
Therefore we must try and expand our horizons while respecting others’ opinions, do try and shape them if they don’t resonate with yours, you might learn a lot of things in the process.