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Are we all too easily offended these days?

(146 Posts)
Gigitree Tue 19-May-20 06:38:37

After calling someone out for their ’jokes’ full of chauvinistic bigotry, I was met with that oh so nuanced argument ‘oh everyone is so easily offended these days, you can’t say or do anything anymore’

What are your thoughts? Are we generally more easily offended these days? Should we just ignore ‘jokes’ like these or should we call people out for their casual racism, homophobia or anti-feminist attitude?

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Tue 19-May-20 07:06:08

I'd reply with "Well, you just got offended because I didn't like your joke, so yeah"

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Tue 19-May-20 07:18:15

I do find it amusing that the people who complain about others taking offense are usually so easily offended themselves.

But I don't think people are actually more offended, I think it's rather that it's easier than it once was for women or minorities to call out bullshit and if you're the one peddling the bullshit, then its going to feel like everyone is offended when it's more that you're just being offensive.

That said, it has become clear in recent years that some people get very excited at taking offence all the time and love the little power trip of being able to 'correct' people.

Gigitree Tue 19-May-20 07:18:23

I did respond with ‘ Sounds like you might be offended at the idea of people getting offended’ 😂😂

Gigitree Tue 19-May-20 07:20:26

@JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown yes I totally agree, I think people are just embarrassed sometimes when they are called out for their jokes being offensive so they just respond with the huffy ‘oh you can’t say anything anymore’
Yes I agree there’s a balance between calling out actual offensive behaviour and getting offended for the sake of being able to correct someone

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Tue 19-May-20 07:23:45

I don't think people are offended by people taking offence, they're irritated.

For me a lot of the problem is the hypocrisy.

RozaDiPoza Tue 19-May-20 07:25:33

Its always the dickheads that pull that card.

SarahProblem Tue 19-May-20 07:38:54

I've found that people are generally more hypersensitive to offence and can get great satisfaction from taking someone to task on what offended them

But equally the "people are so offended" and "snowflake" remarks used to downplay actual issues is not helpful either.

cantarina Tue 19-May-20 08:14:02

What @SarahProblem said. People are on the lookout for an opportunity to be offended these days and it creates a culture where people don't say what they think. In my opinion it has swung too far away from the bad old days where people just said what they liked to a situation where often, almost nothing is said. The difficulty is, it's still thought even if not said.

There is also an element of fear - you can be cancelled or made a pariah of for making an insensitive comment - the trans lobby are big on this aren't they?!

I would rather have a situation where people are expressing more of their views and we have the ability to call them out on it as you did OP. In answer to your question 'should we ignore these jokes' - absolutely not, I enjoy calling people out on their bullshit...try to offend if you like and I will tell you you're not funny if that's what I think.

Splillinteas Tue 19-May-20 08:17:06

Yeah my FIL tags ‘it’s a joke’ to shit when I challenge on him.

Last one was ‘when my father travelled here from Holland, British girls were easy so he had lots of affairs behind my mothers back’

He was genuinely gob smacked when I challenged him on it - said it was a ‘joke’ shock

redwoodmazza Tue 19-May-20 08:19:49

I feel that if something 'offends' you, then you need to be in better charge of your own emotions.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Tue 19-May-20 08:21:27

Last one was ‘when my father travelled here from Holland, British girls were easy so he had lots of affairs behind my mothers back’

Why did you feel you had the right to challenge him for recounting his father's lived experience?

IrmaFayLear Tue 19-May-20 08:26:31

I think in general people are less offensive in their interactions now (eg making personal remarks), but otoh I really hate the offence police, or the offence archaeologists, trawling through Twitter/Facebook/anything trying to find something to be offended about, usually on behalf of other people (who don't give a damn).

PaleBlueMoonlight Tue 19-May-20 08:51:46

I would like a situation where you can express your views and not be jumped on for using a word of phrase that someone somewhere has decided is (or might be) offensive, when it is not intended or generally known to be offensive. I would like language to change more organically as issues are addressed in the community, the media and at school. I would like a situation where people can analyse why someone regards something as offensive and reject that analysis without then automatically being regard as an -ist or -phobic. I would like conversation to flow without fear. I would like less challenging of language and more talking about it. I would like that talking to be more about generalities and not targeted at individuals.

Lordfrontpaw Tue 19-May-20 08:57:53

I find people looking much harder to find offence - but also that social media has created a space for extremely offensive dialogue. It has also created the language of ‘That’s xxx-phobic hate speech!’ which I thought we’d left behind in the student union bars of the 80s.

Aesopfable Tue 19-May-20 09:07:00

Why did you feel you had the right to challenge him for recounting his father's lived experience?

What is this ‘lived experience’? Why not just put ‘life’?

In any case a racists ‘lived experience’ as recounted would be the black people were in the wrong regardless of their actual actions. A misogynist would describe their lived experience of women being better in the home and under men’s control. A slave owner’s lived experience might be he treated his slaves fairly and they were all happy. If some recounted these peoples ‘lived experience’ uncritically then we would be right to challenge the racist, misogynistic and despicable views presented therein.

SantanaOhNaNa Tue 19-May-20 09:10:37

Tbh I don't really feel 'offended' by anything that people say - irritated at most, and clock that they're an arsehole, sometimes a moment of mild astonishment if they're really pushing it - so whenever I hear that someone is offended, similar to @redwoodmazza, I figure they're signalling that they can't cope with whatever interaction they're involved in. If they get offended a lot, I figure that there are multiple instances of interaction they can't cope with. Or that they're attention seeking. Either way, it diverts my attention to the offendee rather than offender so it's not useful discourse.

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 19-May-20 09:15:02

People are upset that their offensive comments and behaviour is now being called out, when in the past they could get away with it.

Aesopfable Tue 19-May-20 09:18:16

I don’t think we get offended too easily; for some things we are not offended easily enough or we are expected to show infinite tolerance of offensive behaviour.

The problem is the dictates about what we are ‘allowed‘ to be offended about. We are encouraged to be offended about difficulties men face or societal norms that protect us (isn’t that Queer theory). But we are not allowed to be offended by regressive sex stereotyping or exposure of children to inappropriate sexual content.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Tue 19-May-20 09:18:44

What is this ‘lived experience’? Why not just put ‘life’?

Because 'lived experience' is someone's experience of that life. It may or may not be accurate. After all, British women at that time weren't all 'easy' but it is the case that many that your husband's grandfather met were.

In this instance you didn't challenge the misogynist, you challenged the narrator. Why?

Aesopfable Tue 19-May-20 09:24:08

We do not know if the girls the father met were ‘easy’ or not we only know that is how he viewed them. And the narrator is upholding this view unquestionly and presenting it as correct.

Aesopfable Tue 19-May-20 09:26:24

‘Lived experience’ is an individual’s subjective view shaped by his prejudices and beliefs.

Lordfrontpaw Tue 19-May-20 09:26:42

Then it’s really personal experience rather than, say a child growing up in a household where the mum was treated badly by her in-laws - the kids may have been treated like little gods, so their direct experience is that grandpa is wonderful. But observation of how he insults mum or treats her like a skivvy is observed experience.

Not explaining that well - need more coffee.

I worked somewhere where a particular senior manager had a reputation for being just hideous. This was pre social media and I’d never met him but I knew him by reputation.

I was at a conference and was sat next to a man (yes you are ahead of me) and we got on very well - he came across as a nice guy, polite, interested in what I was saying, gave me good advice, pointed out some good bars, we talked about my mums cancer, he told me about his dodgy heart, etc. He wasn’t coming onto me, so it wasn’t a case of him trying to charm me.

I only realised at a break when someone shuffled up to me to commiserate that I was sat next to Mr Nasty. My experience was that he was a nice guy - his staff bloody well hated him and others in the business thought he was personally an insufferable gobshite.

PaleBlueMoonlight Tue 19-May-20 09:37:09

As for the OP, it is sometimes hard for people to see the difference between offensive jokes and clever jokes that use stereotypes. Definitely right to let someone know that you don't think the former are OK. Even then, though, I wouldn't necessarily assume first up they are an -ist. They might just not have given it any thought.

MockersxxxxxxxSocialDistancing Tue 19-May-20 09:39:05

I think we need to pay tribute to Rowan Atkinson who predicted this and was roundly mocked for it at the time.

The Search for Ayatollah Khomeni's contact lens continues.

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