I’m all for political correctness (when it comes to being respectful of other people – the rest of it I could easily do without), but have we gone too far? Like, way, way too far? I’m sick of walking on eggshells, aren’t you? Is it just me or are people way too easily offended these days, we are all so careful of not offending each other that I fear that nothing of any real importance is being said. What sort of communication is that? What sort of life is that?
Let me clarify before I go on, surely offending at least a few of you. I do not like offensive behaviour. I in no way condone name calling, discrimination or judgement towards cultures, religions, or individuals. But having an opinion, one that differs from the throngs of “yes” (wo)men out there? Yes, power to you lady! I have enough people in my life who go out of there way to say/do things just to be different/argumentative/sh!t stirrers, the last thing I need is more of them.
We all live as a part of various different communities. Online communities, family communities, school communities, neighbourhood communities (and on, and on), each of these communities requires that we conform to some extent to a certain level of behaviour and an often unwritten code of conduct. I’m OK with that, to an extent. Learning to conform enough to get through day to day tasks and function as a member of society is very important. But saying “yes” just because it’s the easiest answer and doesn’t ruffle any feathers, is not.
Long before I became a mama, I was a person with conviction. Now all of a sudden in this mama world it feels like we are all treading so carefully around each-other, so as not to offend anyone. There are all of these mama blogs that talk about clothes and nurseries and strollers… but not so many that talk about what’s underneath all of that. The things that run deep in the veins of the mother, not just the things that fill the diaper bag. Why is this? Are the thoughts of the individual mother not interesting to the reader? Or is the mother too worried that her views don’t conform? Scared to offend? Scared of tarnishing the beautiful polish that her online life depicts? Or is it something else entirely? There are countless articles out there which ask breastfeeding mothers to not harp on about how breast is best, so as not to make formula feeding mothers feel guilty. Gosh. I’m all about respecting a womans choice to parent their child the way they want to – but does that mean we don’t get to have opinions anymore? And, since when was being offended equal to the end of the world? Since when was offending someone the worst possible thing you could do? Aren’t we all just getting a little too precious?
I will be teaching my daughter that opinions are important. There is a big difference between being opinionated and having an informed opinion on a topic of interest. You can have an opinion that is different to someone elses and still be there friend (shocking, I know). You can stand up and say, hey, I don’t agree with that – I don’t think that’s OK – without being rude. The world is full of rules, I was told growing up, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And whilst I agree with the concept, which is being kind (being kind is the most IMPORTANT thing you can be), I don’t agree with keeping your mouth shut and not sharing an opinion, especially when it is an opinion that is not the social norm. Some rules, well, they need to be broken. Some people say to me, oh, well you’ll create a rod for your own back with that one. Much the same as they say this to me when I rock my baby to sleep, breastfeed exclusively or spend 99.9% of my time by her side. I have nothing much to say to that except that a rod is only a rod if you want it to be.
A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
– Mahatma Gandhi
I want to teach my daughter that you don’t have to become a social pariah because you rocked the boat a little. There is nothing wrong with rocking the boat sometimes, in fact a little bit of boat rocking is what get’s things changed. It helps us grow as people. It is what spurs education, development and drives us towards a more just world.
Be a kind, empathetic person Bo. Be good to other people, never be quick to judge and always forgive easily. Life’s too short for anger, regret and revenge. But never, ever be afraid to rock the boat baby…it’s (more than) OK to ruffle a few feathers every now and then.