Frustrated with talk of anxiety and trauma? Think that this generation is full of mewling pussies?
Have I got a rant for you!
If you have said the above sentence to yourself, I’d like to suggest that you’re coming at the sensitivity/politically-correct culture from the wrong direction.
(I offer as my context: I grew up in New York, and I now live in Norcal. My best friends and I say “go fuck yourself” instead of “I love you.”)
The primary goal of sensitivity, inclusion, unpacking, safe spaces, intentional communication, etc. is to to make the world less harsh and scary. In and of itself, that’s not a bad goal.
The process of unpacking all the horrible shit we’ve done to each other as a species is part of achieving that goal — looking personal and institutionalized cruelty (and the banality of evil) in the face and taking ownership of how those systems continue to screw people over.
So we’re looking at everything from considering natural African-American hair “unprofessional,” to quite literally beating each other to death over what… having to piss? Turning down a date? For fuck’s sake.
But sEtSu, everyone’s playing the victim! They use their “anxiety” and “trauma” to take up all the space in the room!
Well, I mean, lots of people have some form of social anxiety, ranging from, I’m a little nervous, I hope my peers like me, to full-blown can’t-go-outside-because-the-world-tried-to-kill-me agoraphobia. Acknowledging these things is usually meant as a way to show vulnerability — to bond — with the people around you. If the psychological vocabulary, or gender-studies vocabulary, or concepts relating to intersectionality are now widely available… why shouldn’t we use them to better understand ourselves and each other?
Especially in a world of social media, where it’s normal to not only air, but curate your thoughts and feelings. Our inner life is just as much on display as the clothes and cars of yesteryear. The thought police have nothing on social currency.
It’s also why you can’t really compare today’s struggles with the Victorian era, or WWII, because the stakes are so different. We can’t abstain from being online, from participating, because we’ll lose currency. On top of that, internet records are forever; and likely something your bosses and lovers (and now, possibly children?) will find.
Consider also the heightened insanity created by political echo chambers; pushing us further to one side or another in any game that has stakes… On top of terrorism, which is perpetuated somewhat by bombs, and much more by our media and government. There’s nowhere to run from any of this. We can’t avoid being online, and Syria is online. France is online. Nigeria is online. Radicals of all sorts are readily available 24/7, and we’re all watching each other.
I’m not saying the internet is the cause of our so-called fragility; but it’s been absolutely instrumental in changing the way we interact with each other as a people and as a species. The language is also changing and evolving incredibly fast. I’ve started seeing CW (content warnings) instead of TW (trigger warnings) to more accurately convey the purpose of the note.
As connective as this is, we could (and do) readily use that kind of information to exploit one another socially, emotionally, physically. We’re that much more on our guard for harm, because it can come from so many directions, with great intensity, at any time. We live in a world where you can get booed off stage by thousands of people from the comfort of your own living room.
It’s like that nude photo leak a few years ago. Some argue that the starlet shouldn’t have taken the photos, but they were stolen and distributed without her consent. Take a second to consider what you’re arguing in favor of. A kinder, gentler world wouldn’t slut-shame.
In my opinion, without shame, there’d be more orgasms for everyone. If they want them. No requirement either way. Consent. Vulnerability. Safety. It’s all good.
If someone cops to the fact that they feel off, and as such, are likely to do awkward things (like be insulting or draining, which is an honest mistake), surely you have as much ability to say, “it’s not my preference to shoulder that kind of vulnerability. Can we shift to a different topic?” Which lends itself to that kinder, gentler world folks are aiming for.
“Shut up and cope” is perfectly reasonable for some. Often, it’s exactly what I need to hear to pull myself out of a funk. For others, it leads to a sense of isolation, projecting, bad temper, alcoholism or other crutches, suicide, etc.
So I mean… it’s all about choice, spotlight or no, right?
Quit whining, whiner. Go for a walk or something, damn.