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Pick your battles, be conscious of who you support

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Pick your battles, be conscious of who you support

By Kaitlyn McCann, Columnist

Lately, I have been having somewhat of an inner-battle about the morality behind what I give attention to.

It seems like everything nowadays is politicized, even things that don’t seem like they should be. Music, celebrities, stores, movies and even restaurants all have political meaning tied to them. It raises the question: If I don’t politically agree with these brands, is it still okay to enjoy them?

Recently, a third season of the show “13 Reasons Why” was announced to air this year. This stirred much debate on social media because of the harmful messages in the show. Many believe the show romanticizes suicide and self harm and it is dangerous for young audiences.

An article by Vox notes, “A study published last fall found that Google searches about suicide — including ‘how to commit suicide’ — spiked after the show’s release. At least one school district reported a rise in self-harm after the series aired, and there appears to have been at least one copycat death.”

Many have expressed outrage that the show continues to release new episodes even after these effects.

One popular name in the media that draws negative attention is Chris Brown. There has been controversy surrounding him and his criminal activity for years, ever since a physical altercation with his previous girlfriend Rihanna. Since the incident in 2009, he continues to release music and has a thriving fanbase, but many believe he does not deserve such support.

However, in his documentary, “Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life,” he claimed that he is truly apologetic and felt like a monster. After his heartfelt explanation, many forgave him, while others still hold him accountable.

Even popular restaurants can be controversial. Chick-fil-A, for example, has been voted off many college campuses due to the company’s attitudes toward the LGBT community. The owners continue to donate to many Christian charities, including Exodus International, an organization known for “conversion therapy” intended to make gay people become straight.

Also, the owners of Krispy Kreme have been tied to Nazi ancestors who used prisoners of war as forced laborers to work in their early factories. This has diverted many people from eating at their restaurants.

Celebrities with mass audiences also have a huge impact, and this comes with a lot of responsibility. The Kardashians, for example, who repeatedly market appetite suppressants on their Instagram accounts, have faced backlash. It is obvious they do not use the products themselves, and they are solely trying to make money off of their vulnerable fans, most of them young girls.

Should we stop listening to Chris Brown, stop eating at Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme, boycott Netflix and unfollow the Kardashians on Instagram? It seems unrealistic and difficult to stay away from everything offensive. What we can do, however, is be aware of what comes with what they’re selling us. By supporting someone’s brand, you are signing up for what they stand for and, in some ways, funding it.

It’s not acceptable to simply ignore these ideals or to claim ignorance. However, it is almost impossible to live while having a political stance on absolutely everything. We must pick our battles, because it is exhausting to always be completely moral. Rather, be passionate about the things you truly believe in and continue to educate yourself along the way. The best thing for everyone to do is simply be aware of where they invest their money and support.

When you are listening to music or watching a TV program, actually think about what you’re listening to and what it means.

There is a pressure to be “woke” or, more formally, politically correct, but it is even more important to be knowledgeable and aware of the types of brands you invest in for your own sake. If you lack the ability to do that, it might be a good idea to stay away from these questionable outlets altogether.

Kaitlyn is a freshman in Media.

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