I’m guessing that Kaufman County resident Jan Shedd wishes she had never posted about Demetria Obilor.
Shedd started a firestorm last week when she posted on her personal Facebook profile that Channel 8 traffic reporter Obilor was “a size 16/18 woman in a size 6 dress.”
Since she made the post public, we can only assume that Shedd was hoping her hot take would get some traction. Well, it did. The post went viral after it was shared on Twitter by a user named Mother of Draggings and then shared by Chance the Rapper. Shedd was accused of body shaming, a type of bullying aimed at certain body types.
The story then got picked up by news outlets across the country.
Today you can’t see the original post — or anything else — on Shedd’s Facebook profile, but it doesn’t matters since there are thousands of screenshots now available like this one.
As for the heart of the controversy, I think Ms. Obilor is very pretty and if the photo above is the worst thing she wears then I really don’t know what all the fuss is about.
But the latest headline absurdity did remind me of three very important maxims.
I. Watch What You Post
Everyone focuses on the “social” in Social Media, when in truth they should worry about the “media” part. Mass media is any communications outlet that reaches very large numbers of people … like Facebook!
Michael’s Social Media Rule No. 1 is this: “Never post anything you wouldn’t stand at the top of the courthouse steps and yell at the top of your lungs with your grandmother standing next to you.”
Jan Shedd is not the first person to say something catty about someone else and she won’t be the last. I bet there were Neanderthal women who snickered behind the back of the girl with the low-cut bearskin.
But folks used to reserve their snarky comments for their friends and knew to be appropriately embarrassed if they spoke too loudly. When you post that spiteful comment on social media now, it is like screaming the hot take in your target’s ear.
So don’t be surprised if they turn around and slap you in the mouth.
II. All Politics Is (Still) Local
Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill was so tied to the saying, “all politics is local,” that he made it the title of his book.
The idea is that people may hold opinions on national issues, but they vote about what is happening locally. For example, the person who believes the nation needs more prisons but doesn’t want one built next to his house.
Social media has amplified this cliche so that it is true not only coming down but going up.
I can’t tell you exactly what Jan Shedd was trying to accomplish with her post about Demetria Obilor, but I can certainly tell you what the folks on Facebook and Twitter did … they applied national themes to the post. Shedd’s post became an instant flashpoint in the debate over body shaming and racism.
Not only that, but Shedd’s ties to the Kaufman County Tea Party were raised right before the campaign for State House District 4, which represents Kaufman and Henderson counties.
So, yeah, not only is all politics local … but all local posts are potentially political.
III. Don’t Judge
I shouldn’t be surprised that humans have so much trouble with this since Jesus took the time to address it in the Sermon on the Mount, but I watch people get caught in the fallout from their judgmental attitudes every week.
We are so quick to criticize people over small things.
Up until now, I haven’t criticized Jan Shedd about her post, I’ve just pointed out three truths I was reminded of by the controversy. I have no idea of the influences or motives behind her post so I won’t be sitting in judgment.
I’ll just say that kindness is always a better play than scorn, because when you throw mud at someone you just might get hit with an avalanche in return.