Is it just me, or is it starting to seem like everyone is offended all the time? People are offended by a Halloween costume based on Caitlyn Jenner. People are offended by the K-State marching band allegedly forming a penis during a performance. Everyone in the world is apparently offended by this video featuring the utterly adorable Nicole Arbour
You know the common thread that I find at the start of most “I’m offended” statements?
“Well, I’m not usually the kind of person who is easily offended, but this (nipple slip/drawing of a penis/cornrow hairstyle/possibly gay cartoon/insert ridiculous thing here) offends me.”
Based on my extensive studies of wearing a lab coat while watching YouTube videos, I can tell you that if you’ve ever started off a statement about something that offends you with “I’m not the kind of person who is easily offended but…” you are actually the kind of person who is easily offended. The fact that you feel the need to justify your opinion to people who might become offended by it indicates that you are already of a mindset that requires a proactive disclaimer because you know from past history that you are easily offended and social proof indicates others will be offended as well.
Don’t know if that last sentence was a bit too complicated, but breaking it down simply?
He who smelt it dealt it.
I’m easily offended. I’m absolutely easily offended. Hell, I’m writing an article about how offended I am that everyone is offended all the time. Social justice warriors offend the shit out of me, because they make it seem like I’m too dumb to think for myself.
Case in point? Video games. There was an issue called Gamergate awhile back that went way too far, with threats and doxing and all that other silly shit you find in online troll wars. And it all started because some people found video games misogynistic. The ladies featured in them were either fighting fuck toys (Lara Croft) or damsels in distress (Princess Peach) and people were offended.
Here’s the deal. I thought it was kind of stupid to be offended. I mean, look at the demographic of gamers. Men, ages 18 to 35. Of course you throw a bunch of chicks with big tits and pretty girls needing rescuing at them! I don’t call that misogyny. I call that good marketing. When you find an underserved niche in a market, you don’t get pissed and insult the people that came before you by bitching about it. You find a way to serve the underserved market.
It’s the basis of capitalism for Christ sakes.
Let me explain with the case of Nicole Arbour. In case you haven’t seen it, she did a video called “Dear Fat People.” Sure, the video was offensive, but it was also funny. I found Nicole endearing and amusing and wondered what the fuss was about.
Then, I looked at the comments. They were all from people who were pissed. They called Nicole names, talked about how offended they were, what a bitch she was, and got into ridiculous fights in the comments section with complete strangers over how offended they were.
And I had to say “we get it, you’re offended. But what are you hoping to accomplish by bitching about it?”
Do you want to get her page taken down because you’re personally offended? Ok, do that. But what happens next week when your favorite comic makes a joke about Vegans, and all the Vegans complain? What happens next month when people complain that Halloween offends them? What happens next year when someone at your work says they find a woman showing her hair offensive?
Censorship is a slippery slope and we can already see its effects. When I was a kid, my school had a Halloween parade every year, and we all wore our costumes while teachers would read us scary stories.
My kid’s Halloween party at school is now a ‘fall festival’ celebration where they go to school in their normal clothes, eat gluten free, soy based cookies, and color nice inoffensive pictures of fall leaves in harmless shades of muted orange and brown. No one is offended and everyone goes home miserable.
Because making sure no one is ever offended is a good way to ensure everyone has a terrible time.
Being offended is nothing more than a human reaction something that comes in exact opposition to your personal preferences. You can either choose to try to silence the offensive party or you can go on about your day and get over it, knowing that people won’t always agree and variety is what makes us interesting.
Now, I’m not the kind of person who is easily offended (see what I did there?), but when you try to silence others based on your own preferences, by demanding that everyone else follow your own very narrow world view, I find that offensive.
Based on the rules you’ve already set, that offensive thing must go away. So you offending me because you’re easily offended? Yeah, that needs to stop.
Now finish coloring your leaves.