How social media and society promote fake and over the top emotional displays
Surely you have heard of that expression: "she is such a drama queen!" What exactly is a drama queen?
n. A person who reacts theatrically to minor difficulties, regularly tries to be the center of attention, and treats other people's problems as less important than his or her own. (X)
Most people do not like to be around such individuals, they are frankly annoying. And yet, most people do not see their own drama queen tendencies while interacting especially in social media. Everything is magnified. The good, the bad and the ugly. If it is good, it is amazing and awesome. If bad, the most horrible and offensive.... really? When did we lose our sense of self, of personality? Why are we tailoring our emotional reactions to the world out there?
Surely there need to be responses or reactions that correspond to specific stimulus. So, recovering from cancer should elicit a bigger reaction than simply buying a new pair of shoes. Why go to extremes just to express any thought or opinion?
Here are some explanations: (X)
- Attention: You want/need to be noticed, but why?
- Learned behavior: You were raised in a family of where dramatic displays were the rule and/or you hang out and watch other drama queens. You may see how the drama queens generally assert control in manipulative ways.
- Self-destructive behaviors. If you have experienced trauma, engaging in ongoing drama recreates past trauma and hence there may be a propensity to doing so. It may be indicative of low self-esteem.
- Excitement: You like the stimulation offered by being involved in drama. Maybe you are wired to be bored and/or need more adrenaline in your life.
- You cannot separate yourself from other people: When others bring you drama, you engage and cannot simply remain an observer or otherwise establish healthy boundaries. You have to assume a central role in their drama and their problems become now your own.
A perfect example of this highly dramatic society of ours is Will Smith's assault on Chris Rock during the Oscar's ceremony. (X) Facts first:
Chris Rock is a comedian
This is a very public event
Jeda (Will's wife) suffers from Alopecia
Jeda looks great despite Alopecia
We all love Will Smith
If you watched the now viral video, it is clear Will Smith thought the joke was funny and yes, simply a joke. Jeda, on the other hand, appeared to be bothered by Chris' characterization of her as "GI Jane." Will Smith seemed to notice her upset and then went up on stage and hit Chris Rock on the face. Simply ridiculous and uncalled for. Are we in high school where the emotions are high with no impulse control to modulate them? Apparently so.
Are their egos so frail they cannot sustain even a suggestion of injury?
It is okay to feel upset about the joke and walking out (Will and Jeda would have obtained the attention they wanted and actually made a very clear statement about their contempt). Even yelling at Chris Rock from the audience would have been a better option (Will Smith did this and should have stopped right there). So, the drama did not stop there. As with any other drama, it spreads like wildfire and increases at times exponentially: some, as a response, suggested Will Smith's Oscar should be revoked or removed, others did not waste the opportunity to gain their own attention with the usual hyperbole and then there were those who framed the event within the go-to racial lens.
Drama and madness unchecked. Different rules for different people too...
Here is a third option: How about addressing the issue like intelligent and responsible adults? Will Smith fills out a Z Form and sends it over to Chris Rock. Chris Rock agrees to the in-person meeting to hash out the conflict. Will and Chris meet over coffee. Understanding is deepened and everyone is content. They can even make a movie about it later if they want everyone else benefiting from the event. A potential teaching moment for the rest of us:)