I felt like doing an experiment today: When presented with an opinion they did not like, how quickly would anti GMO advocates (who think of themselves as culture warriors) descend into personal insults? For this I employed a stock photo of Maggie Gyllenhaal- Sorry, Maggie, for throwing you under the bus on this one.
Why Maggie Gyllenhaal? Because she was recently denied a role for her percieved age, to which internet activists jumped all over, giving Old-White-Guy-Dominated Hollywood a good lashing. Now, there is a problem with the Hollywood system that a talented actress like Maggie Gyllenhaal is denied a role for her looks. I think the bigger problem is roles for women are typically roles as a love interest rather than a dynamic character- but that’s a separate argument.
I spent five seconds making the meme you see above this post. Ironically, the same amount of time spent double checking on google whether it was even true or not didn’t seem to register for anyone. Ummm….don’t you guys always insist we “do our research?”
Just how quickly did internet activists lambast Maggie for her physical features when presented with a pro GMO opinion that isn’t even true? A matter of seconds. In this first screenshot we get a couple of layers. The poster alludes to the MK Ultra conspiracy and calls Maggie a bimbo. Also I can’t tell if chip head is “shit head” misspelled, or if it is some deeper conspiracy.
Here we see that the reason for her perceived age is because of drones and GMO cheeseburgers. Also, Monsanto endorses her.
And then we get to this comment, which actually goes out of its way to be racist. Literally out of left field the poster decides to deride China. Hey pal, what did the Ming Dynasty ever do to you?
Now, these posters may not literally be the same people that jumped out to defend whether Maggie Gyllenhaal should be in movies. But, there is a tangential connection here between popular social media issues – the hottest topics draw the ire of eager internet commentators who may not have a thorough grasp on any of the things they’re talking about. There is a good discussion to be had about women in Hollywood- instead, the comments are things like “She is BEAUTIFUL I LOVE YOU MAGGIE!!!” While that’s nice, it doesn’t really address the problem. If only looks matter in Hollywood, and that’s a problem, why reinforce it by complimenting her looks?
Further, as a matter of convenience, people are willing to bend these rules on what is socially tolerated when an opinion flies in the face of theirs. Commentators on this meme eagerly devolved into personal insults, without a shred of care for the truth of it, or the intention. It’s a bit hypocritical when the Anti GMO crowd reveals that in fact they are not the harbingers of social justice they claim to be- they’re actually just as reactionary as they appear to be.