Anytime celebrities get involved with politics, they’re bound to upset somebody. That has never intimidated Cher, who often posts her thoughts on the current political climate on her Twitter account, punctuated with a great deal of caps-lock and exclamation points. Recently, she turned her attention to Sarah Palin, and tweeted a mini-rant about the former governor in which she told followers to ” Go to dictionary,& look up The “C”Word,….next 2 the definition…you’ll see a Pic of Sarah PALIN ! NO…WAIT …SHES UNDER DUMB C WORD”. That’s right: Cher called Palin a “c word”.
Now, we’re not saying that Cher shouldn’t feel free to express her opinions on her social media accounts — that is, after all, why they were created in the first place — but something about the superstar’s statement rubs us the wrong way. Putting aside any of our personal political affiliations, the fact simply remains that just insulting people, whether they be politicians, pundits, public figures, or just another person on the Internet with a differing opinion, won’t serve to change anything. In fact, it doesn’t even add anything to the conversation at hand. There’s no context provided, no discussion, no facts, nothing that could be used to help influence or change the opinions of someone reading the tweet, or even anything that could be used to actually start a dialogue with Palin about whatever politics or policies Cher is taking particular issue with. Of course, Cher is a performer, not a politician, and so we don’t expect her to be able to come up with a plan for solving the nation’s problems, but just insulting people rather than articulating the reasons for why she feels the way she does about the former governor and VP candidate accomplishes absolutely nothing.
It’s also likely that Cher was simply using her Twitter account to blow off some steam about one of Palin’s policies that she finds particularly frustrating. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s yet another reason why social media platforms are constantly being developed. However, the singer’s tweet points out one of the worst parts of social media: the freedom to insult people over the Internet. While Cher is the kind of confident person who wouldn’t shy away from sharing her opinions on television or in print, the growth of social media has made people feel more comfortable using the anonymity of the Internet to insult and harass people often, simply for expressing a dissenting opinion. Cher is aware of the influence she has on her fans and followers, and while her being unafraid to express herself is probably inspiring to many of them, her choice to use Twitter to attack Palin only validates the idea that sending people hate over the Internet is something that is not only accepted, but expected. We, as a society, need to stop treating online harassment as a valid way of treating someone who expresses a different opinion than you. It’s not okay, and it shouldn’t be treated as a normal part of life online, and so we wish Cher had taken a different tactic when sharing her frustrations about Palin. And don’t even get us started about her use of the “c-word” to refer to other women.
So, Cher, continue to be unafraid to share your opinions about the world. Just, maybe try articulating them a little differently next time.