Trigger Warning

By Satyajeet Marar

Are people of today too sensitive? Too willing to feel offended? Satya tells us that minorities and the Politically Correct are causing trouble…

TRIGGER WARNING: The following article may induce heated feelings and furrowed eyebrows.

There’s a new disease permeating our public discourse these days and it’s spreading through our pop culture faster than a Jamaican S.T.I. In an era where my freedom of speech ends where your right not to be offended begins and where words have the power to trigger PTSD, we’ve got to watch what comes out of our mouths… or shirts.

Matt Taylor, a scientist with the European Space Agency, learned that lesson well. In November last year, his team successfully landed a spacecraft on a comet. But coverage of the achievement was overshadowed when interview footage became a focus of criticism from an extreme section of ‘feminists”. Their issue? Matt sported a shirt featuring female cartoon characters in sexy outfits.

Never mind that this man and his team had taken an unprecedented step for the forces of Science and Badassery. Never mind the sheer irony of people claiming to be for wom-en’s rights criticising someone for their aesthetic choice of clothing. And never even mind that the shirt was designed by his female friend, a self-made entrepreneur. It had ruffled their feelings and was therefore a part of a conspiracy by the “patriarchy” to oppress an entire gender by making them feel uncomfortable in the scientific field.

This might seem like a hilarious anecdote, but it is deeply worrying. Such ‘slacktivism’ insults feminism by infantilising women, turning them into beings who would be discouraged from pursuing their ambitions by a cheesy garment. It sends the message that sexuality can only be expressed in arbitrary terms deemed suitable by a minority of deeply insecure individuals. These hypersensitive snowflakes impute their own agenda and meanings of their mind’s own creation into anything they over-analyse.

This critique is no attack on feminism, far from it. In an era where women are fighting against the wage gap and asserting their place in industries once dominated by men, incidents like ‘shirtgate’ create division and distract us from issues that really matter to the lives of women and men.

But political correctness extends beyond gender relations. It is difficult to discuss legitimate issues like Islamist terrorism openly without a “not all Muslims” disclaimer that should go without saying.

Recent attacks on the Paris office of Charlie Hedbo magazine attracted a surprising number of armchair apologists who made statements like “it’s wrong to kill people but insulting religious figures is wrong too”. Replace the first part of the statement with ‘rape’ and the second part with ‘dress provocatively’ and it becomes clear where this mentality belongs – in the medieval ages.

It is a slap in the face of Ahmed Merabet, the brave Muslim policeman who died fighting against brainwashed loons attempting to impose political correctness through fear and terror.

So let’s look forward as a society; do some soul-searching and a little growing up. Let’s come to terms with a world permeated by “offensive” things we can’t always shield our kids from. Those who still find it difficult can sip a cup of concrete and harden the f**k up.

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