Oscar, Don't Be A Grouch

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It's finally here and it's actually happening - Oscar time! While hundreds of stressed-out celebrities are busy doing crazy crash diets while they get highlights, Botox, massages, steams, 18 karat gold facials and thousand dollar spray tans in hopes of looking flawless on the red carpet, the rest of the world is licking their chops as they get ready to examine these celebrities under a brutal, unforgiving microscope. The festivities/judgment will start with the entertainment reporters lining Hollywood Boulevard and the ruthless comments will quickly spread to nearly every couch across America as we relish the opportunity to cruelly judge the same people we put on a pedestal.

We love the Oscars for what they are - an excuse to have friends over for food and drinks and watch a nationally televised fancy party. But in recent years, the negative side of the Oscars has all but taken over. The glorification of some celebrities and trash talk about others end up getting more attention than the performances that everyone is there to award (and even Jon Stewart's funniest jokes). On Monday, all of these cruel comments will show up in every single tabloid, website, and blog, and for the next month we'll read about who looked old, who looked fat, whose boobs were too saggy and who dared let them see her sweat under all of that pressure.

But it's not just Oscar weekend - this publicized name-calling happens every day. Every minute of every day, millions of people are on the Internet writing nasty things because they feel like being extra opinionated at the expense of someone's feelings, and we are sick of this. We are of course grateful for free speech, but we are tired of people using that freedom to senselessly cut others down. This only teaches our children to fill themselves with negativity and then make themselves feel better by trying to make someone else feel even worse. And it teaches them that it's perfectly fine to judge someone strictly by the clothes they wear or the size they are.

We know that many people think it's okay to say mean things about celebrities because "they asked for it" by putting themselves in the public eye, but we think this is ridiculous. These people are actors. Sure, some deserve that title more than others, but none of them ever got on their pedestal and said, "I am perfect looking and I promise to be perfect looking for the rest of my life." That would be asking for it. What these people have done instead is work hard (for the most part) to achieve success in the film business and oftentimes work equally hard to live up to the public's expectations. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, which only proves one thing: these people are human. And being human means that they mess up from time to time - they pick the wrong dress or the wrong bra or smear their makeup, and it also means that it hurts them when we say malicious things about them just as much as it would hurt you.

We think that this weekend is the perfect time to try something new - let's all try not to judge these celebrities by how they look. Let's not care if they are too skinny or too fat or too wrinkled or too tired. Let's focus on the positives, instead - like who really deserves that award or whose speech makes you tear up (admit it). And then on Monday, let's try to let this new way of thinking seep into the rest of our lives. Let's not be so quick to say something brutal about someone just because we have a different opinion. Let's remember that no matter how rich or famous someone is, we are all human and we are all sensitive. It's not true that "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." Words hurt, and we will all benefit if we put a stop to the negativity and start making ourselves feel better by bettering ourselves.