What began as a lighthearted joke has become one of the most polarizing topics on campus: anonymous Instagram accounts.
Accounts like “Overheard @ AU” and “Anderson University Squirrels” have existed peacefully on the social media platform as a way of promoting community and humor on campus through anonymously submitted overheard quotes and photos of AU’s squirrels, but a new account, “AU Bad Fits,” began a chain reaction of new accounts due to its controversy among students.
After the first “AU Bad Fits” account was deleted, a different anonymous creator started a new “AU bad fits” account.
“Many people thought that the first account was funny and were frustrated that it was deleted, so we brought it back,” the anonymous account owner said.
The account owner was surprised at the student body’s reaction toward the account.
“The reaction was a bit different than we expected—it seemed to be relatively split,” they said. “Lots of people found our return funny and were happy, while others were pretty upset. Both sides seemed to feel pretty strongly about it.”
Some people felt strongly enough to begin their own account countering it, entitled “AU Great Fits.”
“We created AU Great Fits the same day that AU Bad Fits got taken down from Instagram,” the anonymous account owner, a part of a group that runs the account, said. “When we saw how a lot of the student body wasn’t okay with the negativity that was being spread on that account, we saw an opportunity to do the opposite of what they did and uplift the people in our community instead of putting them down.”
The owner expressed that their largest issue with AU Bad Fits is the kind of community it encourages.
“It gives a voice to those people that say cyberbullying is fake and it’s okay to pick on people because of their appearance,” they said. “We want to combat that and tell everyone that they matter and look great in whatever they want to wear.”
The accounts have polarized many students. Some believe “AU bad fits” is cyberbullying while others believe “AU Great Fits” is just as toxic to the AU student body.
“‘AU Great Fits’ proclaims that cyberbullying is bad and needs to be ended when all they do is bash and slander the opposing account instead of actually serving its purpose,” senior Melanie Marchena said. “We as a university should teach people that if something is happening that you don’t agree with, handle it in a mature manner by talking to the source instead of running to social media.”
Junior Dylan Gallagher agreed with Marchena, stating, “I don’t think [‘AU bad fits’] is bad because a bad outfit is always a matter of opinion and if those people like dressing like that, they shouldn’t care if they or anyone else ends up on the account.”
Gallagher added that the account covers the faces of the people in the pictures.
“I think it’s nice…so really only the person and their friends know who it is,” he said.
Others, like freshman Jacqueline Dechand, want to see “AU bad fits” taken down.
“I believe [‘AU bad fits’] is bullying people and that it’s unfair to call anyone’s outfit ‘bad,’” stated Dechand. “This is such a relative term and many people find pride in self-expression.”
She added that she sees “AU Good Fits” spreading positivity.
“They aren’t judging your outfit; they’re picking the best and sharing them. I think this account is much more wholesome and encouraging,” she said.
It didn’t take long for other students to create AU-themed accounts after the “AU bad fits” and “AU Great Fits” accounts started gaining traffic. Accounts like “AUGoodParking,” “Anderson U Bad parking,” “AU flush the toilet” and “Best Au Cars” have cropped up on Instagram posting exactly what their names suggest.
The anonymous owner of “AU flush the toilet” expressed their thoughts on the trend and controversy.
“I can’t tell if the ‘Great Fits’ account is being satirical with claiming ‘cyberbullying,’ or if they’re being serious,” they said. “I think at one point, I saw someone comment ‘bro, you’re either 12 steps ahead of everyone else, or 12 steps behind’ and I think that sums it up.”
No matter the intentions and content of the Instagram accounts, it appears the backlash and student division will continue as long as the accounts are around.