A few months ago, there was uproar on the internet because H&M featured a little black boy (am I allowed to call him that?!) in a sweater that said “Cheeky little monkey”. I didn’t get what the big deal was. I later learnt that people felt offended because in the past, people of colour (specifically black people) have often been referred to as “monkeys”. I am not insensitive to racism. When I moved to school in Ireland in 1997, I had my fair share of racist slurs thrown at me. But I see racism as another person’s lack of culture and ignorance, not as a reflection of me. The fact that the model was a minor and his mum signed off on it should be enough shouldn’t it?! Following the Twitter storm, there was a video of a group of kids who ran through an H&M store trashing it. This is the other bit I don’t understand. We want the world to see us in the best light even when we’re happy to be doing something that’s dark. There are ways to protest and ways to stand up for what you believe is wrong. Trashing a store because they put what many just saw as a little boy in a sweater that said “monkey”, something most of us call our kids, is not the way to go about it.
This is just one example, there are so many I notice on the internet on a daily basis. Someone just has to sneeze the wrong way and everyone’s criticising it. Just look at the amount of criticism the Duchess of Cambridge got earlier this week. I’m all for empowering women and supporting #thisgirlcan. I am a woman after all and women have been marginalised for far too long. However, I have a son and I recently saw an ad that left me quite surprised. Mainly because I don’t see anyone going on about it. It’s for Direct Line. The DL man tells a couple that a taxi is going to take them home after an accident. He then says to the wife…”Aren’t you forgetting your donkey?” The wife looks at her husband who’s shuffling over carrying ALL the luggage and holiday paraphernalia and the DL man goes “No, this one…” and hands her some sort of straw donkey she’s bought on holiday. So it’s okay to insinuate that a man is a donkey and no one has anything to say about it? Is it because men don’t take themselves so seriously? Or women think carrying of the bags is a man’s job? Or if it’s not about them then why bother protesting?
There are definitely things we need to be protesting about – sexual harassment, lack of gun laws in America, lack of flexible working options for mother’s who want a work/child balance, rape, war, LGBTQ rights, the list is endless. But I think we need to pick our battles because we could be doing so much more with our time than feeling bad about something that had no malicious intent.
This HILARIOUS video pretty much sums up how I feel about everyone being so PC – ridiculous!
What do you think? As a generation, have we become too sensitive? And is social media making us feel better or worse?