The internet is home to many legendary challenges. There has been the “Harlem Shake” and more recently the “Mannequin Challenge”. While everyone was on board with the former two, some are questioning the latest trend to sweep across the internet.
It’s called the “Switch It Up Challenge,” which involves a couple “switching up” their clothes and sharing the before and after photo. Most men are partaking to simply have fun and want to please their girlfriends. One Instagram user by the name of @ChrisAndQueen_ wrote: “Queen made me do this y’all” and had a good laugh about it. It does seem like a good way to share a laugh as a couple.
There are some people who are on board as well, praising it as “#RelationshipGoals”. However, for every positive comment about a couple sharing in some harmless fun, there are also many commenters who aren’t sharing in the laughter. One person wrote: “Any man willing to do the #switchitupchallange should be ready to lose their woman to a real man in the near future.” Some people are taking the higher road, though. One user @ichbinsarahh, wrote: “How does this photo affect your life in any way? Back the [expletive] up outta here…It’s sad that a ‘real’ man has to go out and belittle someone else’s happiness.”
It seems as though there are definitely some who will be choosing to pass on this funny challenge, but other than not partaking in it, some are also calling out the men in these photos as “gay”. This can be dangerous for a few reasons. The first reason that comes to mind is that people should not and can not be using a sexual preference as a way of bashing other people. As the Huffington Post writes: “Pay attention to the words you use, the way you articulate yourself, and be aware of how the things you say may affect people around you.” We have achieved too much in terms of equality and anti-bullying in recent years to be throwing around the term in such a manner. Using an individuals carnal preference as an insult is a stone we should keep firmly planted and be careful not to overturn.
Someone choosing not to be involved in an internet trend is one thing and is certainly allowed, but using the term “gay” in a demeaning way, simply to bash someone, is something we must be more careful of. Using a term that defines a carnal preference, as an insult, can give rise to even more people throwing around the term in a degrading and loose way, which can very well directly cause harm to someone who identifies with the term. Even if you are not homophobic, by using the term, as the Huffington Post article suggests, contributes to it. While the use of the term is still certainly a problem we are dealing with, calling out someone for their intimate preference is a form of bullying we have worked so hard to stop and it isn’t something that should be encouraged.
Perhaps, now that the word is being thrown around, maybe someone is provoked to think that it’s okay to begin dropping these sorts of comments on the public social media profiles of people in the LGBT community. While Twitter has taken steps to stop bullying and ban the use of certain words, social media moves like lightning and a few comments can quickly turn into a firestorm. Therefore, if you must disagree and comment on a photo, the term “gay” shouldn’t be the word of choice. Instead, saying something along the lines of “I don’t get it,” is a safe way to express your opinion without disrespecting someone’s actual sexual preference and bashing an entire community.
Perhaps, if you see a “Switch It Up Challenge” photo, it is best to simply move on if you don’t like it.