I Am Personally Offended by This Thing That Has Nothing to Do With Me

Offense TakenFull Disclosure: Not everyone may agree with today’s post because it seems we live in a world where the PC thing to do is to get offended by anything possible.

I don’t agree with people when they look back at the 50’s and call it the “good ole’ days.” I’m so happy to be growing up in a time when people are not only encouraged to be themselves but celebrated for it. Sure, discrimination is still alive. Just look at the comments section of any article ever written on the internet and you’ll see that hate still prevails. You can’t erase ignorance and stupidity overnight. However, we have made so much progress. And I have a lot of faith in future generations to continue to become more and more accepting.

Unfortunately, some people have taken this way too far. I find myself on a daily basis reading an article and thinking, “Really? Who cares? Are we really getting this worked up over something so trivial?” Usually this happens when I read something on Buzzfeed, who likes to pull a few tweets from angry complainers and act like the whole world is outraged.

The cool thing at the moment is to be offended. If you’re not offended, then you’re an ignorant, privileged, asshole who is clearly out of touch with reality. But why wouldn’t you get offended these days? It’ll allow you to get your fifteen minutes of fame and you may even get a gift card out of it.

The latest story that has made me question if I’m genuinely missing something is the one about the girl in the Old Navy t-shirt. I’m sure by now you’ve heard about it, but if not, here it is.

As soon as I read the story, it struck me as someone making a mountain out of a molehill. A mother and a daughter made a statement about a tank top and this woman decides that she’s personally been victimized. So now we have to monitor the comments we make about clothing when we’re shopping because we may be viewed as insensitive? I feel bad for the woman in this story but not because of the comments made by the mother and daughter. I feel bad for her well-being if comments said by strangers about an article of clothing are going to send her over the edge.

If a tank top is big and someone calls it big, how is that offensive? I wonder how this story would have been perceived if it was about someone making comments about a size-small article of clothing. “This looks like it should be in Babies R Us.” “This wouldn’t go past my ankle.” Comments like these are made every day. People are allowed to make general observations about clothes while shopping.

I was once shopping at Forever 21 and overheard these girls make the following statement about leggings, “These are for those skinny bitches with no ass.” Well this skinny bitch with no ass was looking through those leggings so I can buy a pair. If I had known better, I should have taken a picture of myself in those leggings and posted a thesis about how I was personally victimized by the comments made by random strangers; comments that were not directed towards me but towards clothing. I probably could have gotten myself a lot more traffic to this blog and maybe a $50 gift card.

This woman being happy  and confident in her tank top is awesome. Women are bombarded with enough Photoshopped bodies that feeling comfortable in your own skin is an amazing thing. I applaud her for that. However, she could have done so without trying to bring down a mother and daughter who probably weren’t even aware of her presence in the store. I’ve seen comments calling the mother a horrible parent. Again, I have to ask, how does calling a big shirt big make someone a horrible mother? If I ever have a child, I’ll be sure to have them refrain from making comments about inanimate objects so I don’t accidentally offend someone.

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22 comments

  1. *CLAPS*

    Preach it, Liz! I agree. I read the story yesterday, and yes, I did feel for the woman who felt so bad about herself that she had to leave the store to have a good cry over it, but its not like the mother & daughter were pointing at her and calling her fat. Sure, I have my days when I’m shopping and I feel like I’m huge & I’ll never look nice in anything, but that’s MY problem, which I am working on for myself, by myself.

    It seems people nowadays don’t realize that the source of them being offended lies within themselves. If it offends us, it is something we need to work on. Of course, this isn’t the case for everything the media throws in our faces (and tells us we SHOULD be offended about) but if it offends us, most likely, it gets personal.

    1. Also, (I just remembered this and thought it was worth mentioning) a couple of years ago I was shopping with my mom at the big Forever 21 in Times Square. She somehow wandered into the plus-size section. Now my mom is a little bit of a thing, clearly not plus-sized, so I went up to her and told her she was looking in the plus-size section. This plus-sized couple were lurking nearby and overheard me. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone – just simply pointing out to my mom what she was looking at – and that couple, especially the husband, followed me around the store for at least 5 minutes hissing at me, treating me as if I was an abomination to society.

      First of all, this obviously offended him because he probably feels ashamed of his body. I get it. I deal with it too. We all do. Do plus-sized people walk around the entire store giving everyone crap for being thin? No. Nor was I giving him or his wife any crap for being plus-sized. It all lies within insecurities and the fact that people are feeling like they are entitled to be offended over every little shit just goes to show that society is sort of enabling this behavior to not let us work to better ourselves.

      OK I’m done..

      1. Yea sometimes when people get offended it really is just a problem with themselves. There are certain words and phrases that we should stop using because they are incredibly offensive. However, getting completely worked up over an offhand comment made by a stranger in a clothing store just shows that you have a lot of things to work on personally.

    2. Yeah I mostly agree with your point about it being within a person. I think obviously there are still statements that are themselves offensive, like–well I won’t even say one, you can imagine I’m sure. But there are situations like this in which no one is being put down, no one is being made fun of, nothing like that. Then it’s up to the woman to deal. I personally feel that I have a great amount of control over my emotions, and that is so empowering. So many people don’t think they have control over their feelings, and they just walk through life feeling like doodoo, thinking the worst of what other people are saying. I’m glad this woman eventually did decide to be happy (at least outwardly), but I’m sad that she let such an innocuous comment by a child make her cry.

      1. Yea, I didn’t want to come off as insensitive. A part of me does feel bad for this woman and how unhappy she felt. I’m glad that she decided to buy the shirt and felt good in it. I just wanted to make a point that the exchange between the mother and daughter was in no way actually offensive.

  2. “But why wouldn’t you get offended these days? It’ll allow you to get your fifteen minutes of fame and you may even get a gift card out of it.”

    What do I have to be offended by to get a Starbucks gift card? Or, better yet, my own personal open tab at a local bar for an evening?

    I agree with you about this story being a non-story, but I will say that I do feel bad for the woman because I think it was clear that she was pretty triggered by something that should be a fairly benign experience. It’s not fun to go through life that way, but it is something that can be addressed, which I really hope she takes the time to do.

    1. Maybe you can make a fuss the next time a Starbucks worker spells your name wrong on your drink. Let the world know how victimized you feel by the misspelling of your name.

      1. Oh that’s a good one. For maximum results I think I will have to make sure I can see it through a lens of either discrimination or shaming. Maybe misogyny since I’m female and they couldn’t bother to spell my name right because I’m female?

  3. Just sooooo much YES to this! Good gravy I can’t tell you how many times I have thought the very same thing. I think that we have become too PC, too worried about offending others that we almost have to walk around on egg shells afraid to stir the proverbial pot.

    There are of course lines that shouldn’t necessarily be crossed, but most of the time I think that by voicing our opinions and viewpoints, it gets a conversation going. It allows people to open their minds to things that they wouldn’t have thought of before.

    Just like the case with the woman from Old Navy. I do feel bad that she felt victimized, but I also think that we all have our triggers, our insecurities. I agree with AthenaC in that it isn’t fun to live a life with this self-conscious blanket over ourselves, but maybe this will get her to address the bigger issues she’s facing.

    1. And the thing with people being too quick to say that they are offended by something is that they aren’t open to discussion. I’ve seen it too many times. A person will get offended and since they are offended will automatically have the mindset that they are right. It’s like we’ve forgotten that people can have different opinions on things.

  4. I feel you. Personally I think this new online-I’m-offended-don’t-shame-me crap is just the new way that people fish for compliments. All you do is post a selfie with a sad story about how after being treated like crap for being fat or having stretch marks or a weird mole or something, you’ve actually decided that you love your fat or your stretch marks or your weird mole. Then the “you are a goddess,” and “you are gorgeous and courageous” and “I really needed to see this like omg thank u so much” comments come rolling in.

    Of course, a lot of time the person isn’t even being treated like crap in the first place…

    Oh well. I guess this is a symptom of people having such a high quality of life that they don’t have real problems to worry about? Maybe? I’m trying to make this positive. Haha.

  5. I’m sorry if that was an offensive comment btw. I don’t mean that feeling bullied or whatever isn’t a “real problem.” I just mean it isn’t a problem like severe poverty, malnutrition, being a refugee, stuff like that.

    I just wish more of my friends were talking about issues like THAT online instead of stuff like this. It’s just kind of pointless and depressing to me.

    1. I didn’t find your comment offensive. I get what you’re saying. I do think that bullying is a real issue. I mean you hear these stories all the time of young people killing themselves because of the way they are being treated in school. However, many of these online stories that become popular, like this one, just scream of an attention seeker shouting, “Look at me! Look at me!”

  6. Everybody is offended by everything these days. Being politically incorrect all the time is becoming a full time job, and the boundaries of what’s “politically correct” have gone a bit overboard.

  7. I think the lady at Old Navy posting the selfie was responding in a classy, confident way. Not classy would be suing Old Navy for letting fat-shamers shop there. But I agree with you otherwise.

  8. From the article, it sounded like the mother and daughter were standing to either side of her when they had the conversation. But that would mean they were doing that “have a conversation between two people that’s really about criticizing/manipulating a third party” thing, which I kind of doubt. I dunno. She does look good in the tank top. And it is a really big tank top. Was the teenager really young? Lots of teens (and grown-ups, for that matter) are pretty small. I mean, yes, you could fit thirteen chihuahuas in my pants. That doesn’t mean I’m fat. Chihuahuas are just really small. I know I had a point, somewhere.

  9. I graduated from college in 2009 and went on to do a Masters, work for a bit, and am now in medical school. I am turning 30 this year as well and let me tell you – you are spot on with your observations on life/culture/motivation in the US for twenty-something-year-olds! It is so refreshing to read something by a peer that I actually agree with and know that my “cynicism” is not uncalled for. In reality, I would consider us both realists – realists who have had to put aside the rose-colored glasses instead of denying the obvious truths! Please keep writing!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoy my writing. Your cynicism is definitely not uncalled for. I think it’s really hard to not be a little cynical being in your late twenties/early thirties right now unless you’re really naïve.

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