OPINION: Why Does Our Community Think It’s Cute to Be Shady? Because It’s Not.

mean girls shady

You’ve seen the Secret app, right? I haven’t. I’m one of those guys who still has an iPhone 4, so I can’t download it and check it out for myself. So, because Apple decided that my phone is obsolete, I can’t partake in the app sensation that puts Mean Girls’ “Burn Book” right in our pockets.

I know, I’m totally missing out, right? Who doesn’t enjoy texting catty comments about other people anonymously? Except for the fact that it’s really mean. Like, super mean. It’s the kind of mean that some of us endured in Middle School from the popular girls. That’s right, if you participate in this whole Secret nonsense, you are a 14-year-old girl who has yet to experience this crazy thing called maturity.




Okay maybe that’s a little harsh. But what is the appeal of apps like Secret? What is the appeal with anonymously talking shit on friends, acquaintances or people you just don’t like? Does everyone want to be Regina George? Because that wasn’t the message from Mean Girls. You know who won in Mean Girls? The nice girl who did her math and gave everybody a piece of her crown at Spring Fling. You know what happened to Regina George? She got hit by a bus.

Sometimes, when you’re out in the Gayborhood, it can feel like being in high school all over again. You could have wronged someone and not know it, because they smile in your face and give you a hug. On the outside, or when you’re present, everything seems okay. But when backs are turned, the shade comes out. How is that healthy? Being polite is one thing, but faking friendliness is a whole other beast.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to not like someone. There are so many people I don’t like. I could talk all day about people I don’t like (and yes, I see the hypocrisy in admitting that, so relax). Not everyone gets along, not everyone likes each other, not everyone is going to be friends, and that’s totally okay. It’s about managing your dislike for that person. Be polite, deal with the small talk, and fight the urge to turn to whomever's next to you and vent about how much you “can’t stand that bitch."

It’s easy to be mean about someone when you’re not looking at them. It’s why Facebook fights break out so easily, it’s why YouTube comments are often vicious, and it’s why Secret is the hot new thing right now. It’s only when you say something mean to someone’s face and see how it affects them that you learn that being mean isn’t actually fun, or easy. Being kind—I mean truly kind—is the challenging part. And we all have to be challenged to grow.

So what can we do about this? There are always going to be genuinely mean people in this world, there’s nothing you can do about that. But, like Cady Heron, good people can be driven to do and say mean things. And it’s those people who can make a difference. It’s those people who have the ability to take a minute and manage their dislikes in a civil, polite way and maintain this community.

If you’re worried about not fitting in with your friends, or being the funniest, shadiest bitch in the room, then you need to get your priorities straight. Because if you think that one laugh you got when you threw shade is what makes people like you, you’re mistaken. You know what gets people to like you? Being friendly, being amicable and not going to an app where you can anonymously post bitchy comments about one another. And if we consider ourselves to be a community of open minds and open hearts, then we’ve got to stop this shady nonsense. It may be fun in Mean Girls and hysterical on Real Housewives, but not so much in real life.

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