Has political correctness gone too far?
According to Wikipedia “Political correctness is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behaviour seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent.”
Although the term has been around for a couple of centuries, the meaning has changed. In 1990’s we began to see political correctness as the “correct” or “decent” way to conduct ourselves so as not to offend others. We could argue forever about the right or wrong of political correctness. I’m sure everyone out there has a view on the subject. I don’t intend to get into its affect on race, religion, ideologies etc but I do feel able to comment on gender matters as I am a member of approximately half of the world’s population and therefore able to offer a humble opinion.
Political correctness as it is generally being bandied about in 2013 is a farce. What was sorely needed thirty years ago to make us aware of hurts many inflicted on others (often without realising the pain we were causing) has now gone too far. We are forced to monitor every word for fear of offending someone. Suddenly a comment about appearance automatically suggests a lack of brainpower. We are being bombarded with useless, senseless rubbish in our news reports. An example in the New Zealand Herald yesterday has prompted me to burst into print.
We were subjected to a 500-odd word article entitled “President says sorry but “sexism” row persists” – it was surely an “interesting and world shattering” article. Doesn’t the poor man have enough to worry about with current events in North Korea and Syria, the fiscal problems facing USA, his fight for gun control, the growing poverty and homelessness in USA? Why has his remark that California’s attorney general was “the best looking attorney general in the country” raised enough momentum that it’s reported on the other side of the world? In my view it’s because we’ve gone crazy with political correctness.
Personally if a man made a similar comment to me (yeah – I’d be so lucky), I would take it as it was obviously intended, a compliment. I wouldn’t immediately decide a comment about my looks automatically derided my (lack of) intellect. What has happened to us? Why can a woman no longer accept such a compliment with dignity? Perhaps the said attorney general was actually chuffed to have the President of her country think she was attractive. Perhaps she has enough pride in herself as a woman to accept a compliment with aplomb and poise. I’d hope so. I hope every woman in public office has enough confidence in herself and the ability she must have to be in such a position not to be affected by a need for so-called political correctness.
Interestingly enough, this article I refer to was written by a man. Which leads me to wonder if his editor is a woman? Or is he just aware of what sells nowadays? Another writer (guess what, a woman) is quoted as saying her “stomach turned” when she read of the President’s words. OMIGOD! Surely this is a certain sign the world of journalism is going crazy. Is this journalist aware of the hunger and poverty around her? That one fifth of American children lives below the poverty line? Does she know someone dies of starvation every 3.5 seconds? That 9 million children under five die each year from not having food to eat? Does she watch news reports from Syria or some of the African nations eg. Mali, where terrible atrocities are happening right now? These are things that turn my stomach. But it appears this reporter has more crucial, pressing concerns.
Now before any of my readers burst into print to slay me and my views, please take a moment to remember the career I had prior to becoming a writer. I spent my ‘other’ working life in the Royal New Zealand Navy, then a totally male dominated world. I lived in this world and survived happily without political correctness.
I look forward to some discussion. Please take the time to comment whether you agree or disagree