Ironic Trigger Warning – If you’re easily offended by being described as easily offended this isn’t the blog post for you. So piss off. Also, if you’re the type of person on a blog/FB group who complains that there’s no Trigger Warnings on a piece of writing that offended you/hurt your feelings even though you had free choice whether to read it or not, this probably isn’t for you either.
This weekend a local bar in Bantry made the ‘headlines’ and radio today because of an old sign that adorns its walls. The sign which was hung by a previous owner over thirty years ago is from a bygone age. A different time. An old era. It’s an antique in a heritage pub. It so happens that the sign bans something close to my heart; Breast feeding. But am I offended. No.
As someone who exclusively breastfed her baby, I admit I struggled in the beginning. I used a cloak for a couple of weeks and I was very self-conscious. However, I understood my inherent right to feed my baby whenever and where ever he desired to be fed. Once we got into the swing of things I would feed at will, in a pub, standing in the queue for Santa, in a winery while drinking a glass of vino, in a church, on a park bench and while I can’t say I fed Toby in this specific bar at any point (I can say I have fed myself gin in there, often), that sign certainly wouldn’t have stopped me.
Why? Because I’m a rational human being who understands the context of an antique sign in a heritage pub. Ooohhh is it offensive of me to imply that the woman who highlighted the sign is not rational? Ooooohhh Take 2…. Is it unsupportive of me as a woman to say that another woman isn’t being rational? Oooohhh…. am I now single handedly setting back the feminist movement by a decade? If you answered yes to any of the ohhhhh questions than I fear we aren’t on the same page, but hey, I won’t take offence. I am someone who can appreciate it for what it is; a piece of the historical fabric of the place from a time when hippies landed in Bantry and the locals didn’t know what to do with themselves. It’s all very funny to be fair.
When did we become so PC? When did we become SO offended by everything around us? When did we become so entitled to be offended? While I appreciate that people may not agree with my stance on the sign and would see it removed, listening to the debate on the radio today triggered something else in me. The phrase “sure there’s things we said ten years ago you couldn’t say these days” was repeated a couple of times. To use the example Fiona O’Shea shared today, the woman’s outrage over this sign is akin to how AGAHST people were a few weeks back when 90s sitcom ‘Friends’ was loaded to Netflix. Thus resulting in a whole generation of us having our upbringing in Central Perk shattered by these new aged kids questioning and getting offended by the anti-women, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-straight, anti-the elderly, anti-ducks and chick, anti-noodle soup sentiments in the show. For a DECADE millions and millions of people, across all walks of life, in every corner of the world, watched weekly. And only now, in 2018, we are all suddenly horrified by the show and it’s anti-you name it ways. Should we all carry an internal shame and guilt for laughing at “Fat Monica” and for secretly wishing we were one of Joey’s one night stands he never called back because we know it would be totally worth it? I don’t buy it. The world has gone PC mad. Completely and utterly mad. What’s worse is that every offended person now has a public outlet to voice this offence.
I am all for the world evolving, changing and moving forward but there really is a point when the PC brigade needs to Piss Off and better understand the historical context of their offence. How we treat memory, and especially problematic memory, is vitally important. Wiping the world of every relic, statue, sign or monument that could potentially cause offence to someone is a dangerous policy which would mean an eradication of our history. A deletion of moments that shaped the path to where we are today. The foundation of this story, a relic sign, nailed to a wall in a heritage pub way back when, is one I will happily sit under and feed in the future I’m sure. And if the presence of my boobs in a pub offends you, well you can piss off and all.