There’s been a refreshing and, simultaneously, not-so-refreshing trend this last week or two on the Internet, and that is that people have stopped talking about the demise of American society and values as we knew them pre-Trump, and moved back to the ol’ getting offended at everything on the Internet.
I say it’s refreshing because – you know – it’s a break from this Trumpian shit show that none of us seem to be able to do a single thing about.
I say not-so-refreshing because we should still be standing up for ourselves within our American government and politics and, well, people getting offended by everything on the Internet is obnoxious.
Case #1 – Legging-Gate
If you didn’t know, earlier this week some people were heading out on a flight through United Airlines, free of charge by way of an employee friend and family benefit. To be clear: their tickets were free. *Free under the explicit condition that they follow the dress code and behave appropriately on the flight. Three of them (the kids) showed up wearing leggings (a violation of the dress code) and they were not allowed to board without changing into proper attire.
Completely understanding that they were breaking the rules, I hear the kids threw on dresses over the offending leggings, and just went about their business – being appreciative of their free tickets, I assume. Except some nosy nelly standing in line went crazy, snapped photos, went viral, and the world lost their fricken minds.
All jokes and arguments about the moral fortitude of dress codes aside, those free tickets have always come at a cost: a simple dress code and appropriate behavior, which, I will repeat, the flyers were aware of. Which they – in fact – had no problem with when reminded.
But not the Internet! The Internet had to lose its ever-loving collective mind over it, and instantly a new viral story, a variety of memes, and 200-comment-length debates were born.
Of course I engaged in one of those debates, because I am me. I was accused of being opposed to progress. Of being a robot. and a whole host of other things by someone who is at least ten years older than me, and yet is most known for posting photos of herself in her super hero underpants on Instagram.
The bottom lines to Legging-Gate are:
- Rules are rules. Get over it, unless you want to ruin that benefit for everyone; and,
- If you want to change the rules, showing up and being all “screw you I do what I want” is not the way to do it; finally,
- THE PEOPLE GUILTY OF SHOWING UP IN LEGGINGS FOR THEIR ENTIRELY FREE UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT DID NOT EVEN CARE.
Case #2 – The Prom Dress Good Girls
I don’t know all the facts of this case, but it’s another dress code thing that I think has been blown way out of proportion.
So prom season is coming, and some high school in somewhere – I don’t know – posted examples of what was acceptable attire and what was not acceptable attire. The acceptable said “good girl” over it, and I don’t know what the tone or connotation of that was, but it pissed people off.
Then it raised the whole dress code for young women thing, which I am in the minority (it seems) on these days, in that I believe dress codes are a good thing. I think they teach kids to respect authority (which will be important when they have jobs with dress codes they absolutely must follow as adults). They teach them how to dress for certain occasions. I also don’t always think that dress codes are about calling a girl/woman slutty or inappropriate or something to be ashamed of, but rather for their protection. And while I know that the real issue is teaching boys/young men the appropriate way to act, we just aren’t at that stage of the game yet. I wish we were, but we aren’t and thinking that pretending like we are will stop young men from acting poorly is irresponsible thinking.
Beyond that, I live in a town where the local high school has virtually no dress code that I am aware of. I have seen girls walking to the school in booty shorts and bikini tops – no jokes, and boys walking to the school with their pants around their ankles. Moreover, our old babysitter knew several kids her graduating year (just a couple years ago) that were suspended for having sex on the dance floor during homecoming. Let that sink in for a minute. In light of those incidences, alone, I’m all for dress codes for prom. And sex ed classes prior to prom. And open conversations with our kids about appropriate and inappropriate behavior. But dress codes too.
Side note: the school has since apologized for the dress code signs and good girl comment, so everyone seriously does need to calm down on this one. It’s over.
Case #3 – Kid With SPD Gets Rough TSA Pat-Down, Handles It Like A Champ, Mom Records It To Go Viral On Social Media, World Explodes With Anger
Did you guys hear about this kid with sensory processing disorder who triggered a red flag with the TSA and had to get a pat down? Instead of – oh I don’t know – standing there and helping him through it, Mom instead demanded the presence of two police officers, and broke out her video camera, posting it on social media instantly with the caption “we were treated like dogs.”
I presume she was opening her GoFundMe account for mental anguish immediately afterwards.
Of course if a kid got through with a bomb – a tactic often used by terrorists – the world would have wondered why the kid hadn’t been treated more doggedly.
Now even though the kid handled it like a champ, and there were police present so obviously no misconduct took place, the comment sections of the Internet went wild with people calling it molestation, calling for the firing of the TSA agent, and – my personal favorite – “no one could see what happened behind that TSA agent’s fat ass, he likely groped your son, sue the government NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Case #4 – Daddy-Daughter Dances
I guess it’s Daddy-Daughter Dance season. News to me, but I’ve seen all kinds of posts by friends and family taking their kids to them. (I think we may be too introverted of a family.)
This raised a whole issue, though, about eliminating gender-specific-themed events with kids altogether. Which I totally get – as a child that grew up in a single family home, my mother having left us when I was only 10, I was constantly left out of mother-daughter events because …well… I didn’t have a full time mother.
The issue was raised because a single mother apparently tried to take her daughter to a daddy-daughter dance and was turned away. Now, I get that the situation was a little weird – the woman dressed up as a man, she even colored on a beard. That’s just strange, even though she was clearly just trying to make a sad situation cool. Except it turned out to be completely uncool when she was turned away simply because she wasn’t actually a man.
Because. She. Was. Not. A Man.
And this was not the first time this kind of a thing has happened.
So some articles go around the Internet about eliminating gender-specific events in schools once and for all, and – big surprise – a debate breaks out. Is there anything on the Internet that doesn’t result in debate anymore?
The bottom line is that irrespective of the sanctity of your husband taking his daughter to some stupid dance every spring, or your son having a special mother-son school breakfast, this is 2017. It’s time to recognize that not everyone is living the same life as you, and sometimes those events hurt people’s feelings, especially the kids’. Go on dates with your kids on your own time.
Case #5 – Another Wardrobe Malfunction
Had enough of debates inspired by clothing yet? I sure as shit thought I had, and then I saw an article calling for an end to poking fun at dumb dads.
I guess it was inspired by a onesie that has instructions for a dumb dad printed on the face of it. For one, it was cute. For two, dumb dads do actually exist. For three, I want to know where I can get one for my husband, because really Nick – it isn’t funny anymore that you can’t figure out where the baby’s arm goes.
Boy did the trolls come out for that one, though – writing multi-paragraph dissertations in the comments section about patriarchy and sexism and reverse sexism and dads are perfectly capable of dressing their kids in fact they are more capable than moms and JESUS FUCKING CHRIST CAN PEOPLE SERIOUSLY NOT TAKE A JOKE ANYMORE?
I am going to say something quite shocking right now (apparently): there really does exist a subculture of male parents that could otherwise be described as dumb dads. They are given chance after chance after chance to be just as qualified of a parent at the little things as mom is, but no matter what they do, they always fuck it up. That’s just reality, really of the human condition because – newsflash – we are not all perfect at everything. Dumb dads are actually capable of being really good parents and at the same time too stupid about little things like putting on a onesie or throwing a pony tale in their daughter’s hair.
My husband is one of them. While he’s a great parent in certain ways, he just can’t in others. On more than one occasion he’s asked me for help getting the kids dressed, and today – ironically about ten minutes after I read that article – he put the baby’s diaper on (AGAIN) in such a way that it fell off and I was peed all over.
Being peed on sucks and it’s nice as a mom to be able to vent to the Internet about that. Except you can’t because then you are questioning the parental capabilities of all fathers (seriously, WHY?).
Honestly, the issue isn’t about sexism or patriarchy, but rather the inability to admit that we aren’t perfect at everything. More appealing than a man so effeminate and insecure in himself that he has to get defensive every time a woman questions his parenting abilities is – without a doubt – a man that owns his inadequacies and buys the onesie with instructions himself. Because it’s funny.
I assume this is only the beginning, you guys. Trump has been in office for a couple months now. America needs to get back to the important work of being offended by everything, believing everything we read on the Internet at face-value, and refusing to ever admit that we are ever in the wrong about anything. Ever.
I think we all just need to simmer the frick down, but then we would have to pay attention to what is going on around us again. So continue on, people of the Interwebs. Continue on.