Woman goes viral for breaking down TikTok’s ‘what about me’ effect

tiktoker-viral-what-about-me-effect-internetTikTok: sarahthebookfairy

A woman on TikTok is going viral across social media for breaking down the internet’s ‘what about me’ effect — and is bringing back up the ‘bean soup’ discourse.

Back in August 2023, a woman went viral on TikTok for creating a specialized ‘bean soup’ that was full of antioxidants and iron to help people on their periods.

However, a slew of commenters soon dove in, asking: “Can I substitute the beans with something else?” The incident took over TikTok, leaving many viewers disgruntled and appalled that so many viewers would demand the creator make exceptions for them regarding a recipe for simple bean soup.

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This issue is a good example of what TikToker ‘sarahthebookfairy’ calls the internet’s ‘what about me’ effect — where netizens will interact with something online and make it ‘all about them.’

What is the internet’s ‘what about me’ effect?

“The ‘what about me’ effect is when someone sees something that doesn’t really pertain to them, or they can’t fully relate to, and they find a way to make it about them,” she explained. “Or try to seek out certain accommodations for their very nuanced, personalized situation instead of recognizing that they’re just not the target audience for that thing.”

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She used the TikTok-famous ‘bean soup’ as an illustration for the ‘what about me’ effect, saying that it’s “very easy to write off as a lack of common sense, but… I think it’s this individualistic culture that we have created in the United States.”

In a follow-up video, Sarah explained that she doesn’t believe it’s only young netizens making these kinds of comments. She argues that it could be anyone of any age who deals with “immaturity, insecurity, or people-pleasing and a fear of being seen as a bad person.”

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Sarah’s spiel has gone viral on TikTok, racking up over one million views as commenters chime in agreeing with her stance on the subject.

However, her video has also taken X (formerly Twitter) by storm, as well, with plenty of netizens chiming in with their own thoughts on the subject.

“This video should be shown to everyone before having access to the internet,” one user wrote in response.

“I think it’s because this world has become so easy because of technology that people cannot critically think anymore,” another suggested.

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Yet another commenter brought up an issue where a woman got death threats for saying she wanted to have a ‘healthy baby,’ writing, “Someone said that wishing for a healthy baby at a gender reveal party was ableist. No one was saying anything about people with disabilities or health problems.”

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