For many, Instagram is about sharing the most wholesome moments of your life: good times with friends, dinners with family and the most filtered selfies. However, Kanye West has other plans for his profile.
For the past few weeks, West has been on the brink of madness on social media, beginning with attacking his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian and her equally famous partner, Pete Davidson. Since then, he has condemned artists like Kid Cudi and Billie Eilish for acts he deems disloyal.
West's posts have been spreading like wildfire; polarizing audiences of the most mainstream pop culture icons.
“I definitely think it's pretty funny," political science-prelaw freshman Maddie Alleman said. "I see people repost it a lot, and it's very chaotic. I like to read them, but I do think that someone should check in on him. He’s definitely not doing well.”
The nuances behind this possible joke are a bit more serious than what the internet is making it out to be: the internet interactions of a celebrity dealing with bipolar disorder. It seems as though West's mental health has suffered due to triggering events such as the divorce and the attention both he and Kim Kardashian have received.
“When you have mental illness like that … sometimes you don’t know how to handle it properly and sometimes burning bridges might feel like that’s what he needs to do,” Alleman said on his behavior.
However, others are concerned that this behavior — even if it is a mental breakdown — is not a defense for harassment of others online.
“Mental illness is a factor, but not an excuse,” journalism junior Norene Bassin said.
Similarly, English and women and gender studies sophomore Kattiah Richardson thinks that while his bipolar disorder needs help, he is creating a toxic environment for his children by airing out all of their drama publicly.
“It might have to do with his own self-esteem and self issues and I think he just needs to do the work alone and figure it out from there,” Richardson said.
Bassin said they want to see accountability being held from Kanye and the rest of the people backing his side. They believe that responsibility is not absolved just because West is going through it — also adding that West has refused treatment, making the problem even worse.
“Since all of his other stunts to win Kim back have not worked because she wants to get a divorce, and at this point, he’s starting to escalate to the point where its becoming stalking and harassment,” Bassin said. “I am baffled by how people support men in the music industry just because they have some bangers.”
Richardson said that while she knows it's just a way to get attention, it is a selfish way to get attention because it affects his audience of younger men who are seemingly impressionable and stand unconditionally by his side.
“It's just also going to have a lot of negative impacts on very impressionable people, like the boys that are seeing these and thinking that it's okay,” Richardson said. "They’re going to do the same thing to a girl they like.”
Richardson, like many others on social media, think that this is just another showcase of toxic masculinity being preached and idealized through the eyes of a celebrity idol.
While other celebrities have drama with others in the industry as well, most are not taken to this extent. Alleman believes that this could be because West has less of an overbearing management team or for publicity behind the scenes. With “Donda 2” and West's documentary coming out, there could be a reason to continue to post things that get people talking.
“It's also bringing some publicity, so if there are people behind the scenes that want to be able to profit off of what he's going through, then they might see this as a good … thing,” Alleman said.
However, the others in the drama could also be seen as part of this stunt, getting more of their name in the news by being even associated with this gigantic trauma dump on social media. Pete Davidson has begun doing SNL skits on the drama, bringing in more viewers. Others also believe that Julia Fox is trying to involve herself in the drama as well, talking about their relationship on her own blog and the “Call Her Daddy” podcast.
However, others believe celebrities are not capitalizing on this. They pointed out that those being pulled into the drama, such as Billie Eilish, are already in the press, not needing West for help. Pete Davidson has also tried to leave the drama by explaining he does not want to meet the Kardashian kids if it would upset West. This is allowing for some to choose sides.
“Kim has every right in the world to divorce whoever she wants to divorce, so I don't really think they’re in the wrong," Alleman said. "I wouldn’t say Kanye is necessarily in the wrong, besides how he's handling it. I would mostly say that I just want it to end.”
Meanwhile, fans seem to be polarized by what side of the argument to take.
“I feel like it's changing fans all around the board,” Alleman said. “Some people probably don’t even care. Some people are becoming fans. I’m sure some people are losing respect for him too.”
Social media has taken over the narrative of this story, only escalating the drama, egging West on, whether they are fans of his behavior or just finding it funny and sharing the posts as a meme.
“It's now to the point where we’re split down the middle,” Richardson said. “It reminded me of the (2020) primaries.”
However, many believe that this is more than a social media trend or topic to have debates over. Bassin thinks that these posts should be collected as evidence of stalking and nefarious behavior if things escalate between the ex-couple, looking like things in the divorce will only be getting worse.
“It has taken over as a topic,” Bassin said. “However, as an environment of a social media, it should be taken more seriously in terms of when people post dangerous stuff.”
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