Stop Rating People: commentary on a concerning social media trend

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

By: R. Ahmad

A form of rating – an act typically reserved for book, movie, TV show, or product reviews – has become a disgustingly acceptable trend on social medial websites in the past few years. I am referring to online culture making jokes about rating people based on beauty, height, weight, personality, and many other human attributes. The more I come across these types of posts, the more upsetting it is for me to think of the level that we have arrived at in giving people more reasons to feel less about themselves. Why has it become so acceptable to “rate” other people’s attributes? As if their worth is valued by where they fall on the scale – the higher the number, the more appealing they are. This notion implies that people are nothing more than objects; that they have nothing more to offer than the number they are assigned by others. To think of the damaging effects this type of culture has on our mental health is appalling and extremely concerning. Body-image distortions, self-hate, depression, eating disorders, isolation, insecurities, and self-esteem disparities are only some of the mental health problems that come to mind in regards to this topic. I can see this decline in mental well-being surfacing as a result of this type of “rating”. So, the next time you post, like, or share a social media post containing harmful or damaging content, consider the implications of participating in this type of online culture.

It’s important to be mindful of the kind of harmful language and behaviors that we participate in, sometimes without even realizing it. Humans are not items to be reviewed by others. They are not products you rate online on how effective they are; or movies you can assign a certain number of stars to, to determine how enjoyable they were. Humans are simply just that, humans – nothing more and nothing less. We are, however, more than others opinions of us. We are more than our body shape, our skin color, and our background. We are more than our faults, our mistakes, and our misjudgments. We are more than the amount in our bank account, the clothes we wear, and the cars we drive. We are also more than the degrees we hold, the life we lead, and the people we are with. Most importantly, though, we are more than a number on a rating scale. And just like we are simply just humans, we are also simply just more – more than the things that were designed to make us feel small.

Worth is not determined by numbers. One is not worthy because others deem their looks to be a 10 out of 10, they are worthy because they just are. People don’t need rating scales and numbers to determine their self-worth or beauty, because regardless of social conventions dictating what people need to look like or who they need to be, they are worthy. They are enough. They are beautiful.

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