Culture

Cue the Social Media 'Outrage' Over Hilary Duff's Offensive Costume

Did you hear about the outrage over Hilary Duff’s “inappropriate” Halloween costume?

No, the actress/singer didn’t wear something wildly revealing. She dressed as a pilgrim, and her beau donned Native American apparel.

Social media “erupted” in outrage, and Duff was forced to apologize.

Why?

It’s simply how our culture operates. We often think a few angry tweets matter in the big picture, and we must act accordingly. And the media is often too happy to play along. Outlets point to a flurry of tweets on a given subject and magnify them to make a point.

A few months back, ESPN’s Bomani Jones wore a Cleveland Indians-style jersey. This shirt wasn’t an identical match to the World Series team’s uniform, though.

The word “Indians” was replaced by “Caucasians,” and the Chief Wahoo image got ditched for a generic white man’s mug. The point? The Indians name and logo is racist. It’s certainly worthy of a conversation.

Jones’ sartorial choice set off social media users, according to RawStory.com and Usuncut.com.

The former said “Twitter Erupts” over the incident. The latter proclaimed “Twitter Explodes.” Neither site, though, was able to guestimate how much erupting or exploding actually occurred.

To be blunt, you can build a narrative out of a handful of tweets on any subject. Think America is racist? Find a few tweets and state your case. Want the country to elect Evan McMullin over Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? A few corroborating tweets will convince you he’ll be living in the Oval Office next year.

It harkens back to last year’s “outrage” over a black stormtrooper in the new “Star Wars” film. The same media types swooped in, proclaiming western culture was racist for being upset that John Boyega, who is black, plays a stormtrooper in “The Force Awakens.”

Was there a racist uprising? Unlikely. Were there a few yahoos who complained? Most certainly.

So what?

The Washington Free Beacon debunked the black stormtrooper outcry at the time. Sonny Bunch did some quick digging and found … very little outrage or eruption.

if you search Twitter for “black stormtrooper,” you’ll find 1,291,074* tweets decrying the super duper racist people who are super duper butthurt about a black stormtrooper, and roughly zero** tweets from people are actually upset about the fact that a black dude was in a stormtrooper costume.*** 

Duff probably didn’t need to apologize for her costume. Plenty of Trick or Treaters wore far more offensive costumes.

She did it all the same, bowing to social media pressure that may not actually exist.