Monday, July 7, 2014

Why Is Everyone So Offended These Days?

Recently, I read a blog post and found that I had an opposing view to not only the writer, but all of her commentators as well. I feel the need to respond because I think that as a nation, we need to lighten up and certainly have more empathy and respect for others.

Why on earth does everyone get offended so easily these days? You can read Lisa A. Kramer's post, Dear Man in the Cubicle Next to Me on the blog Woman Wielding Words, or take my short version at face value.

Summary
She goes to have blood drawn. Tough looking guy is put in cubicle next to her to have his blood drawn and she overhears him say, "I'm such a girl about this."

She takes offense and itches to say something to him in response, but ultimately does not and just blogs about it instead, wrestling with whether or not she should have spoken her mind.

One woman, quite incensed, wrote a 500+ word response, basically calling this poor guy a "chauvinist".
Another comment refers to him as a "jerk".
Then another pulls out "bigot."
"He was wrong," says another.

I must say that my heart just sank when I read the post and all of the subsequent comments. Why must anyone take such offense to this benign statement that a post be written about it and this man attacked?

Let's break this down. Lisa states that the man has tattoos and muscles and appears to be a tough guy. Her point is that women handle pain better than men in many cases (childbirth, anyone?) and that his comment was basically insulting to females.

I am female. Lisa is a female. Most of the commentators are female. Why are the general masses offended by his statement and I am not? I had to check myself for the answer. Am I weak? Am I too soft? Am I a bad judge of character? No, I don't think so. Because I did not agree with the masses, however, I felt that I was in some way wrong.

Rosie The Riveter Flexing Her Arm Muscles, We Can Do It! - Free Pictures at Historical Stock Photos.com

Let me be clear that I am not attacking Lisa here. She genuinely felt hurt by his statement. I am simply intrigued by the fact that she and I see the situation differently and I want further input from my readers on how you see this situation.

This subject was even addressed in a commercial recently which Lisa and I both found in subsequent conversation that we had both viewed. You can view the Always "Like a Girl" commercial here. I must say that I disagree with that commercial as well. When I heard that comment as a young girl, it just made me want to do my best to see if I could match the boys. As a grown woman, I've found that sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no, not ever... and I'm fine with that.

The last time I checked, ladies and gentlemen, there ARE differences between men and women and we women are still considered the fairer sex, aren't we? Has women's lib gone too far and we now believe any comment putting a female on a lower position on the totem pole is a negative one? I think that's silly and shallow. Men are designed by God to be physically stronger than women. They are designed to be hunters, gatherers, and protectors. Have we thrown this aside just because we can now perform many tasks that only men previously performed?

To call him a bigot is not even right by simple definition. A bigot is "a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)" according to Mirriam-Webster.

He didn't mean that he hates or refuses to accept women! He was making a comment about his own vulnerability and weakness. For this, he is attacked. None of these people even know this man. He might very well be the loveliest human being ever.

A jerk? Again, Mirriam-Webster defines a jerk as, "a stupid person or a person who is not well-liked or who treats other people badly."

And what does Webster define as a chauvinist? "an attitude that the members of your own sex are always better than those of the opposite sex."

This man didn't say anything to warrant any of that! What he truly said was that in this situation, he felt weak, afraid, and not at all like the image he projects to the world. His comment sought comfort. He was not trying to be insulting.

I do not in any way, shape or form take offense to what he said. I feel compassion for him. I feel that he was the one wronged in this situation.

I had a conversation recently with a respectable man who told me that he believes that women's liberation has ruined the relationship between men and women. He pointed out that when he attends his daughter's sporting events, he hears nothing but the women around him bashing their husbands and other men. I'm ashamed to say that I hear women do this also. He said their comments are so awful that he doesn't even understand why these women are still married to these men. They speak as though they hate them. Is this to appear dominant? Tough? Independent? What are we trying to say here with this deplorable behavior, women?

Now, what do you say? Am I wrong? I would love to hear your comments. I promise, I won't take offense to anything.

23 comments:

  1. As a strong feminist, I love that women (and men) are pointing out those little comments that tear women down intentionally or not. As someone who suffered from low self-esteem, I realized as I grew up that I was conditioned to think of myself as lesser -- lesser than all those around me, especially men. I distanced myself from other girls, depriving myself of potentially rich relationships because of this idea I had that girls were drama or trouble or whatever. I was a proud tomboy. And that's fine if that's who you are. But I am also a female with everything that comes with it and I have since learned not only to accept the flaws and the clichéd parts but to embrace them. Offhanded comments like his are reasons girls grow up thinking they are lesser than they are. No one would say, "Man, I'm such a Mexican about this." The fact that it's so natural and easy for people (especially men) to say is exactly why we have to speak up. HOWEVER, he clearly meant no offense and I strongly disagree with the angry comments toward him. Reactions like that are what spurs that "feminazi" stereotype. He was showing vulnerability and that should be commended. But if the author felt that strongly, perhaps the best approach is something more coaching and less accusatory. "You know, I so appreciate a man that can show a vulnerability like that, but calling yourself a girl just because you show a weakness really tears down the female identity. I know you don't mean offense, I just thought I'd point that out. Being a girl doesn't equal being weak. I'm a girl and I take blood drawings like a champ!"

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  2. CIndy asked-"Lynne, do you think a lot of it has to do with how a girl was raised and what she was exposed to as a child?" Heehee-like
    I couldn't go on and on and on too. What are you referring to? How she
    views herself, or the words men use? Like woman, men come in many colors
    and there's no one experience that defines them. You can only talk
    generalities when it comes to
    cultural influences since those are also informed by education,
    regional and culture mores. Take my husband, he's educated, smart,
    empathetic, kind, and thinks highly of women, he has two daughters he
    treats with respect. But, sometimes a word or phrase will pass his lips
    that I now find demeaning, but one I know he used with no intent to
    diminish women. And once pointed out to him, he'll never use again. I
    think most men are in that position. We have new standards, and
    everyone, men and women alike need to be sensitive-responsively
    sensitive- to helping each other become a society that is inclusive and
    open. Maybe rather than not saying anything to the tattoo guy or raging
    against him, she might have said something in a positive way. "You,
    know, I didn't used to notice this but since you just mentioned it, have
    you ever thought about how demeaning it is to women when you use words
    that describe them in a negative way. Like you just said, "you feel like
    a girl about this" and I'm thinking "you'd be lucky to be so strong."
    Because most of the woman I know aren't the least bothered a bit by a
    little prick." – But then again, I'm fresh like that.

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  3. Calling
    me out for a fight Cindy? LOL. First addressing the issue of everyone
    being so easily offended. Yes, we are, and we are being ever more
    conditioned to be so by social media/news/politicians. We are being
    baited into feeling our beliefs are threatened by opposing views and
    that we must deny others their right to have them. Instead of listening,
    understanding, and empathizing, we jump to defend to the death our own
    agenda without regard for anyone elses. Politicians used to understand
    that the point of their job was to compromise-now they've made that a
    dirty word. As for the issue of a woman being offended by the tattoo
    guy's misogynistic (not bigoted) comments. None of us is in the same
    frame of mind at all times. If that type of comment is on my radar then
    I'm going to hear it and be bothered by it. My radar is tuned to slights
    against those living in poverty. Today, someone made comments I found
    racist and hypocritical but I bit my tongue. I could tell they weren't
    being deliberately spiteful, just ignorant of their own prejudice. I
    call people out on it all the time-today I wasn't in the mood, it's hot,
    I'm still feeling good from my vacation-I'm just not spoiling for a
    fight. Like ,"Men are designed by God to be stronger than woman." Hell,
    that would usually send me in to a tizzy. Today, I laugh and SMH. The
    problem with the biker is he equated being weak and afraid with traits
    of a woman. Women are rightfully beginning to hear these things with a
    new perspective and take offense because they are offensive. Our
    language is ripe with derogatory and demeaning phrases that equate
    womanhood with being less than. Many of these words, euphemism, and
    phraseologies, give men permission to think of woman as weaker, and
    disregards their personhood as autonomous being.The harbinger of our
    rape culture. I love men, so this doesn't come from a place of
    negativity towards them but from one that sees how unfair it is to
    expect men to be respectful of woman when we don't tell them how to be.
    One way is insisting they not use us and words describing us in the
    negative.

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  4. Great to see you commenting, Bull. I was hoping for a man's perspective. Who knew you love Ryan Gosling? Come on, we all know you're talking about yourself in this comment. In seriousness, I feel that assumptions were made and that is what bothered me, I suppose. Nobody took the side of the man. And even in comments on other sites I've promoted this piece on, the opinion is heavily swayed to the side that I am wrong in my statements in this blog post and the man was wrong to make such a comment. I still disagree. And I still say that doing things "like a girl" is totally okay and it is obviously up to the individual receiving the comment as to how they react and treat that comment with whatever importance they give it in their lives. As for me, I now know why I prefer comedic pieces. One lady even yelled at me in all capital letters over this. Really? Lord....

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  5. Katie, thank you for weighing in on this. I am starting to think that the problem with my thinking is that I have been taught by several prominent MEN (and women) in my life that I am able to do what men can do, for the most part, with the exception of some feats of physical strength. Your grandpa only had me at home after all the kids were raised and gone and so he did all "guy" things with me. If I balked, he made me do it anyway, even if I felt I wasn't capable. I was always glad I did those things. What good it has done me in this life! He would always grunt jokingly and say, "You big strong farm boy!" I would grunt and laugh in reciprocation.


    Did I ever take offense? Hell no! It made me proud that he pointed out how strong and capable I was at helping him with man jobs. Perhaps my experience was rare, but in my opinion, men and women do have very distinct differences and we are obviously not created the same. Hence, the distinction between male and female is physical, mental, emotional, etc. and I feel that is fact, not opinion. I also had a very independent mother, a boss who pushed me to be a leader and challenge male upper management in one of my first "real" jobs, and a string of strong, calm, and accepting family members as examples to go before me.


    Being a girl is something I've always been proud of, whether I'm doing something in my realm of gender expectation or not. I fail miserably at some of the things normal women are expected to do, but nobody can tell me I'm a poor example of a woman because of it. There is more to me than one aspect. I just feel people are too nitpicky on others these days and it made me kind of sad.


    We'll have to have a conversation sometime about who made you feel lesser and why. I want to hit them for you ;0) LIKE A MAN! Haha.


    Oh, and I would have said something funny to the guy, but not demeaning.

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  6. Dang, that did not copy into the box correctly and I cannot edit for some reason anymore. I thought I used to be able to do that. I'm sure I did, but probably removed some extension or something. Anywho, a lady on another forum yelled at me in capital letters over this post! Eeek. People get that upset? I just don't understand it. She did not like my viewpoint or the structure of my post or the fact that I used definitions from the dictionary. She basically tore me a new a-hole over the post, thus nailing my point that people lash out unnecessarily about what I consider to be little things. I'm glad I'm me. I'm glad I think like me. I'm glad I can speak up and have intelligent conversations with people like you. I am shocked at all of the emotion this subject has drawn to the surface. I haven't even promoted it anywhere yet. Can't wait to hear more feedback! General consensus is that I am in the minority and I'm cool with that.

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  7. Yeah, I was confounded by it screwing up the formatting and couldn't fix it. But it the content that matters right? Ha.
    I understand your viewpoint about being raised to be a strong woman and how that has informed your idea about being a woman. I agree men and women are different but those differences have more to do with other aspects than the simple physical generalities of male and femaleness. We can go around and around on the subject picking and choosing subsets of data which I think in the end all mean one thing-we are all special snowflakes you can group into categories depending on which difference or similarity you want to showcase.

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  8. I don't know, Lynne, that comment would have been indirectly saying he was a prick, which would be eye-for-an-eye and probably not right to do, but would be fun to say ;0)


    I probably would have said something funny to him, but then I would do that instead of getting angry and thinking of a comeback because I didn't take offense to what he said. I would have just found it amusing. If you read my comment below in response to Katie, I talk about some influences in my early life who may have formed me into an unusual girl. I feel lucky to be so uniquely who I am and very accepting of others, but I don't run into people like me very often. That's why I asked what you thought. I wonder if the type of men (or women) a woman is exposed to in childhood makes a significant difference in her thought development in areas like this.


    By the way, your husband sounds a lot like mine. I could say almost the same exact words about mine! We switch traditional roles a lot. I hate to cook and he loves it. We balance each others' strengths and weaknesses and we both see each other as strong individuals. I never get demeaned for being "like a boy" although I do many boyish things. I shoot guns, do some of my own plumbing, know the most about technology in the house, etc. Why is it okay that this is something for a girl to be proud of but if a man cooks, he is made fun of? I just don't understand this.


    I just find the world a very interesting place with very interesting people and social media has opened me up to a new horizon of opinions I haven't been exposed to before. What a wonderful life! It's pretty neat, really.

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  9. Oh dang, you said "special snowflakes" and somehow that put an earworm of "Ice, Ice, Baby" in my head. Thanks. Thumbs up to your comment, by the way :)

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  10. I don't think it's constructive to get to so angry over something small like this. Get angry over the big stuff, education for the big stuff. That's what I think anyway.

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  11. I agree. I just have seen so many times lately different sets of people getting upset over small things said and reading WAAAAY too much into them. You can't enjoy life living like that, in my opinion. :)

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  12. Hi Cindy - I'm with you. I have heard men say, "I screamed like a girl" and I was not offended at all. (and I am a self-described feminist) You are right, they are demonstrating their own vulnerability and poking fun at themselves. In this day and age, you have to pick your battles.

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  13. First, great post and kudos to you for writing about a potentially, hot topic. I have to agree with you in that we as a society have become way too sensitive about every comment made by others. It doesn't sound to me like this man meant to offend anyone with his insights about how he was feeling. Unfortunately, I *think* there are those who wait in the wings for anyone to say anything, and then blow it way out of proportion. It's gotten to the point where we can't say a thing without having to put it through a filter first. Sad but true. I guess I am one of those folks who is not easily offended and perhaps I am in the minority but that's ok with me. Good stuff here.

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  14. I don't get easily offended either (that's probably one of the reasons we like each other - great minds think alike) and I see it as a positive attribute. From what I have observed, and some people will hate that I'm saying this, is that the people who are easily offended are perhaps insecure themselves and lashing out. I'm very comfortable with who I am. I like the female and male attributes I possess! Except the weird wiry chin hairs. I hate those. ;0)

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  15. I agree with you that she over-reacted, but I also agree with her that the man's comment was negative toward women. By saying he is being such a "girl" when he was acting weak or babyish is a negative comment, and when young girls hear this thousands of times I think it does end up having a negative effect. It would have been better for the blogger to call him out on it in a friendly way, and maybe that would have a small, positive impact on his habits.

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  16. Hey, Marcy, it's great to see you again! Hope you are doing well. I've always enjoyed your writing.

    I think that's what I would have done, called him out in a friendly way, and I think you're right in that it probably would have given him a giggle and a bit of pause to think about what was said. I really think that the comment is construed differently based on who you are, as the person hearing it. It didn't offend me or come across in a negative way to me at all. I rarely think like other people, though, and have found through interaction surrounding this post and hers that most people agree with you :)

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  18. Boy am I screwing up on trying to make a few comments. I agreed with Mr. Bull and it could be said many different ways. The tedium for comments is really over done. There are many adjectives that are offensive and down right irritating. Even many of those adjectives are said with stupidity or ignorance. This really was said without knowing he was offending anyone. Needless to say, no one has commented on the technician that was treating him. There was no counter by her in any way. He may have thought it was cute and was indirectly flirting with her by pulling her chain. If the technician was a guy, then that supports our associate, Mt. Bull. As for tattoos being a sign of a tough man, no way any more. I see as many on women as men these days. Small, big, all over the body.
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  20. Tom, how great to see you commenting here! I welcome your presence here at Everyday Underwear, of course. I am heading over to your site to check out the changes.

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  21. I agree with the article and many in the comment section. The guy having blood drawn did not make the most judicious comment, but certainly it was not a heinous offense. That should be the end of story.
    I probably can't add much more than has already been said, but I would like to point out that men are also "torn down" in a similar way quite often. For example, the stereotypical "sitcom dad" who doesn't think... and he does boneheaded things all the time... and is constantly kept in line by his ever-wiser sitcom wife is a regular source of humor in our society. It may be true in some cases, but there are also many thoughtful, wise men that are highly misrepresented here. Yet, I see most men laugh this stereotype off heartily. Bottom line, the author is right on here. Small "offenses" need to taken with a grain of salt, otherwise everyone will just stay mad at each other all the time.

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