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In Fear & Loathing, Marina Diamandis, best-known as her stage name, Marina and The Diamonds, softly sings a line that has stayed with me ever since I heard it. In it, Diamandis sings in an almost whisper: There is no crime in being kind. When I first heard this song, I was at a turning point in my life where I found myself questioning every norm I noticed around me. In my constant state of analyzing society, I noticed a norm that became one of my main focal points in the process of renouncing the things I had been taught: being mean was cool.

Someone finding meanness attractive sounds childish, like a schoolyard bully belittling a classmate in order to appeal to other bullies, but even though my analysis was based on the environment I was in back then (this being ninth grade), now, as a college student, I notice that the concept of being unkind is still seen as something that should be sought and admired in others.

 

I feel like this is due to the millennial generation—and subsequently, the post-millennial generation—being brought up amongst media that further pushed the idolization of meanness. With the popularity of movies like Mean Girls, a movie that has managed to transcend its original time of release, we seemingly forged an attraction towards mean people, and even began aspiring to said behavior. As much as I love Mean Girls, I must recognize that its message is frequently missed.

 

We’ve normalized rude behavior in others, and often find ourselves accepting it in those closest to us. One too many times, I’ve read a post or heard someone talking about how mean friends are real friends, as if someone’s rudeness translates to them caring more about you. And one too many times, I’ve seen people remain in these friendships because of the aforementioned belief. Bad-mouthing, gossip, and constant criticism are seemingly commonplace amongst friendships, and, at times, I feel like this is a topic often evaded due to the possibility of the alluded person being the mean friend.

Screencap from Heathers (1988), a movie that in its black comedy addresses the need to recognize our abusive behaviors.

 

This is why we must take time to analyze our behaviors and address any that could be potentially harmful, because in a society where 1 in 5 people suffer from some type of mental illness and less than half of them receive help, our unkindness could hurt someone. Comments that may seem to us as insignificant can affect people in ways that in the moment we won’t realize, but can ultimately lead to the surging of insecurities in that person.

 

With the healthy discussion of mental illness being foregrounded in recent years, I have hopes that we continue to progress towards a more sympathetic society. There’s still work to be done, and I for one will recognize that, personally, there are behaviors in me I want to change, and I strive to do so. There really is no crime in being kind, and kindness can go a long way.

 

In light of Suicide Awareness Week, we will provide our readers with articles displaying narratives of thought, self-reflection, and the reality of the emotions, actions, and struggles we face as students but don’t often discuss. If you or a loved one are going through a difficult time, you’re not alone.

Línea PAS: 1-800-981-0023.

B.A. in Political Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, currently pursuing an M.A. in Journalism at the Río Piedras campus. Fan of pop culture, media analysis, and Taylor Swift.
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