CHRONICALLY ONLINE

Sometimes, it’s not wrong to be a hater

Voicing unpopular opinions can sometimes be mischaracterized as hate, preventing the acknowledgment of offensive content.

By AMRITA VORA
(Vivienne Tran / Daily Trojan)

I don’t like the word “hate.” The vengefulness the word connotes and the loathing it synonymizes has ever compelled me to, well, hate it. By definition, being a hater means “to dislike intensely or passionately.” But today, in our online world, that definition is changing. Forget actual hatred — all you need to be a hater is an unconventional idea sprinkled with a differing opinion.  

Recently, constructive criticism and pointing out legitimate issues in media have been mischaracterized as hate. Disliking something popular because of problematic themes should not produce the label of being a hater.


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For example, when “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover was climbing the best-seller list, many pointed out concerning themes within the book. In return, they were called haters.

Many had the perspective that the book glorified domestic violence and toxic relationships — a valid criticism. Yet, it had many fans of the book fuming and racing to their respective social media sites to characterize the people who were negatively affected by the book as haters. 

This unfair label causes important voices to be shut down. Issues are not taken seriously because they fall under the bracket of hate. This results in an entirely homogeneous view of a subject, because the voices with differing opinions that identify real issues may no longer speak out for fear of being labeled a hater.

Saying a film lacks diversity or a comment made on a TV show is racist is not grounds to be called a hater. Instead, these issues need to be recognized and voiced. 

One such film is “Poor Things” (2023), which tells the story of Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), who is resuscitated after her suicide. The movie has been a point of contention among many, as some viewers explain the movie made them feel uncomfortable, because the protagonist has the brain of a child but is still highly sexualized. 

However, comments about how these arguments are not valid came flooding through, highlighting the movie’s cinematography and societal commentary but ignoring how the movie can still cause uneasy feelings.

People are allowed to dislike art and media: It is simply about personal preferences. Expressing an opinion, even if it doesn’t align with the majority, is also vital so long as it is respectful. The internet provides a space for those with differing views, and we all have the right to voice them. 

When people began criticizing the overconsumption of Stanley Cups, they were labeled contrarians. However, the argument TikTok user @DestineeMoreh had was that the entire point of buying a reusable water bottle is negated by purchasing an excess amount of them. 

While many in the comments agreed with her, some users dismissed the creator’s point entirely. Another creator had to apologize before stating her perspective on how harmful overconsumption could be. 

This is not an endorsement of making hate lists a mile long or hiding behind a screen while posting mean comments. Hating just to hate is a projection of insecurities and can lead to vicious forms of cyberbullying. This is not something in which we should ever be engaged. 

However, the mischaracterization of hate is something inherently harmful, because it shuts down communities negatively affected by media. Our different experiences and perspectives allow us to view media differently, which allows us to point out flaws that others may not notice. This prevents accountability and change and will only continue perpetuating a cycle of harm, because the issues will never be addressed. 

If this is the new definition of being a hater, then you should be one. Speak your mind, especially when something is problematic — as long as it is respectfully done. Important voices and perspectives that point out relevant issues should not be shut down in the name of hate.

Amrita Vora is a sophomore writing about the impact of social media on adolescents and college students. Her column, “Chronically Online,” runs every other Monday.

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