8 Reasons Everybody
is So “Oversensitive”
By Tim Henares
It isn’t uncommon to see an article that begins with the words “Netizens are outraged by…” anymore. Whether it be something as horrific as the disappearance of the cats of BGC, or something as mundane as the killing of Kian delos Santos, it seems that everyone is always offended by something nowadays. And if you think I have the horrificness and the mundaneness of those two things backwards, try asking yourself which issue you’re more familiar with at present. ‘Kian who?’ Yeah, that’s what we thought.
Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when we could just make casually homophobic jokes, casually racist jokes, casually misogynistic jokes, and get away with them? Why do we have to worry about telling raunchy jokes in the presence of our women co-workers when just a decade or two ago, we could slap our secretary on the butt for a job well done, and all she’d say is, “kayo ha, sir!”
That might be because those good ol’ days were only ever good for the people who weren’t on the receiving end of these daily transgressions, forced to put up with them quietly because they didn’t have a platform or a support group that would empower them to call this shit out. So here are the 8 reasons why people seem to get offended by everything now.
These things were always offensive
Did you think organizations like GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League came out only in 2015 or something? How about movements like Civil Rights and Women’s Lib? Heck, no. These issues that we trivialize have always been a big deal to some sectors of society, and these things we trivialize end up having a profound effect on these sectors over time, while the rest of us are completely oblivious to what they’re going through.
The only reason we didn’t think any of this stuff was offensive was because, more often than not, it wasn’t us who was on the receiving end of the offense. And if we were, a good bunch of us have been resigned to never having our issues addressed, so we just shrug it off as an inevitable part of daily life for the woman/black/PWD/person on the autism spectrum/LGBT/whatever person. Meanwhile, our oppressor doesn’t even think any of this behavior is oppressive, because why would they? To them, it’s just a joke, it’s not a big deal. To us, it’s every freaking day of our lives.
Now, these offended people can no longer be silenced
Social media is the great equalizer. Back then, if, say, people were outraged by a prenup photoshoot featuring a fair-skinned couple flanked by Ethiopians being turned into human props, the few people who realize this is at least problematic, if not outright wrong and dehumanizing, can only talk about it amongst their inner circles, and most likely only amongst like-minded people, at that.
This time, though? That stuff won’t just fly. Yeah, people can freely debate the merits or lack thereof of such behavior, but in the end, people need to understand that these people who are offended or feel that wrong has been done always existed. And just like the minorities and marginalized people we don’t think about when we make jokes at their expense, their existence discomforts us, because we don’t like being told we’re bad people for being so “insensitive.”
Because they’re done playing nice
People always insist that if we’re going to call out people for being insensitive and horrible, we should be “nice” about it, which is tone policing 101. Let’s face it: denying gay people the right to marry legally (obviously, not in church) is denying them the same rights that every other person enjoys: the right to mutually commit ourselves to each other as two consenting adults for a lifetime, and all because we don’t have matching genitals.
You know why they’re not so nice about it anymore? Because they’ve been nice about it for centuries. And it got them nowhere. If we were “nice” to our Spanish conquerors instead of engaging them in bloody revolution, do you really think we’d have declared independence from them in 1898? Heck, no. We’d probably still be a colony of Spain to this very day, all because we were being “nice” about it.
Whenever we insist people are taking their outrage “too far,” let’s remember that some of these things they’re outraged by happen to be murder, rape, or rampant corruption in the government. When that stuff reaches a critical mass, you know what used to happen before Twitter (and during Twitter, if the Arab Spring were any indication)? Freaking revolutions. And not kumbaya-hand-holding ones like EDSA I. The type that get people killed. Riots. Looting. And yes, maybe even beheading the former oppressors. Just ask Marie Antoinette.
We should all be so lucky to just get a Twitter callout for following in the footsteps of these people.
Because people do go overboard sometimes – but it doesn’t invalidate them when they’re right
Of course, not everything is cultural appropriation. Of course, expecting Bagani to live up to the lofty ideals of Black Panther is ridiculous (have you even seen Bagani? Sherlock Jr. suddenly seems much more tolerable, and you know we’re not even fans of that.). Sometimes, people do get too worked up over things that they’re passionate about. Sometimes, other people are just ambulance chasers, and they want to feel better about themselves by condemning something, because that sanctimony gives them an emotional high.
But you know what? That doesn’t make what they’re fighting for any less right, if it’s right. An overzealous LGBT advocate may be grating on one’s ears, and might even call out their own allies who still make Piolo and Sam jokes from time to time, but just because that seems to be overdoing it doesn’t mean that making Piolo and Sam jokes isn’t indicative of casual homophobia.