Remember that time your parent stopped on the street to intrude and question a stranger’s choice and you found it so embarrassing?
How many times have you said, “Oh my God. Why do you care? It’s their lives!” ?
Do you follow your own advice? Are you sure?
How many times have you stopped on someone’s status message or tweet and responded to it because it offended you and didn’t match your idea of what is right?
You don’t have to tell me. But answer to yourself with absolute honesty. Have you ever looked at something someone said, felt bothered by it and took it upon yourself to tell them about it?
Today, I rooted for Casey Affleck to win the Academy for Best Actor. Old classmates to new friends had a problem with the fact that I wanted a man who has been accused of sexual harassment to win what is known to be the most prestigious award in the film fraternity. He won. And I clapped really loud.
A few days ago, I put up a status message on my Facebook:
This bothered people. Now, my question could have been genuine, but so many people rushed to tell me how, “It’s her body, it’s her clothes, it’s her hair. Why do you care?”
So let me ask you, why do YOU care?
I asked this on my page and I ask this here again: Have we, as a generation, become more easily offended than the ones before?
Maybe you don’t see as many people on the street to be offended with as you do on a social media platform and so it seems to us like we’re more offended. But is that really it?
Or has the ability to hide behind a glass screen enabled us to become more entitled to our opinions?
We have more access to information than ever before. To different perspectives. Where there was one side of a story, we now see three. We hear things. We can evaluate it. We can choose our rights and our wrongs. But it also means we now have an opinion about absolutely EVERYTHING. Things I didn’t know. Things I couldn’t be bothered about are now within my attention.
I like Barack Obama. I was in the US when he was elected and I liked him. I didn’t care what he did in his first 100 days in office. I didn’t care what his healthcare bill was. I didn’t have access to that information and I didn’t care. But I follow Donald Trump. I know what he’s been doing in his first 30-40 days in office. I know what I don’t like about his policies, his behaviour, his tweets, his language, his manners and him. I have an opinion on who he is and what he does. It’s not a good opinion. I’m very vocal about it on my Facebook and occasionally, on my Twitter.
I find it offensive when someone says they voted for Trump. It’s so obvious to me why they shouldn’t have. But I know that they’d have their reasons and I never comment. I will never go to a person’s status or message and ask them why. It’s their choice. If they thought he was their President, it’s their personal choice.
I can be offended by him. But I can’t expect everyone else to be.
Yet, that’s what we’re doing as a generation.
We’re so up in everyone else’s business, we forget that we actually have the option of walking away.
Because, here’s the thing – Our comment, our opinion, our offense does not change who that person is. Not everyone is meant to think like you or I do. If you ask Trump, he’ll tell you a list of reasons why he acts the way he does. It’s offensive. It’s so morally wrong.
But he didn’t take the office. He was voted to be there. Clearly, there are people who agree with him. I can’t change their minds. I can try. But I will get nowhere with, “Oh my God, what’s wrong with you?!”
This world is filled with people who think and act differently. Walk into the four rooms in my house – You’ll find my father’s room in silence, my mother’s room filled with soap operas and drama, my sister’s room with regional music and mine with Ed Sheeran. This is just one house, in one city, in one country, in one continent on this massive planet.
We can’t all always agree with each other. ACCEPTING DIFFERENCES IS KEY TO A HAPPY WORLD – Isn’t this what we’re all fighting for? Whether it’s in gender, in political beliefs, in personal choices, in opinions – it’s okay for you to disagree with someone and IT’S OKAY TO WALK AWAY.
Manchester by the Sea made me feel guilt and grief when I had no reason for either. It made me mourn a man and a family I didn’t know and doesn’t exist. I sat glued to the screen wanting to reach out and hug a character who felt dead inside. A character portrayed by Casey Affleck. I don’t approve of sexual harassment. I don’t think “settling out of court” is a show of innocence. I don’t care who he is outside the screen. I can’t remember that last time I saw a movie of his before and I might never see one again.
But today, I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart wanted Casey Affleck to win that award and he did. And I’m happy about it.
Now, please, tell me – Why do you care?
Why does my choice of actor in a leading role offend you so much? Why does this become an example of who I am as a person? What about this entire ordeal tells you I support sexual harassment?
Why do you think you could question me about it?
Because here’s what you want to tell people who bring their person beliefs and try to thrust it upon you. Here’s what people who hear how offended you are about something that wasn’t sent directly to you want you to know.
Here’s what you told your parent as you dragged them by the hand from an awkward situation:
It’s none of your business.