In the cacophony of the modern world, there are increasing numbers of self-styled opinion meisters egregiously passing themselves off as experts.
Strident, sometimes screechy and more often than not grandstanding on a rickety metaphorical soapbox of their own fashioning. Axes to grind and all that.
And then social media came along and … well, we all know what happened there.
What many forget — amid all the din, most of it self-propagated — is that if you can dish it, you should be able to take it.
If you think you have the right to unfiltered candour, then you should have the backbone and the balls to take it when someone else exercises that right.
If you think you can say what you want under the banner of freedom of speech, then so does the hatemonger, gerrymanderer and xenophobic twat.
Freedom of speech is not the sole privilege of middle-class liberals.
Similarly, if you want to be understood for your quirks, crabbiness, mood swings so severe they cause whiplash and pig-headed single-mindedness, then you should — because the universe loves balance — step down from your pedestal of self-importance and make an effort to understand another person, too. You can’t simply expect all the time without extending the same effort, you muppet.
Sadly, many of us are not mind-readers, not even me with my cornucopia of talents or basket of feminine intuition. I cannot read a person’s mind — not even those I’ve shared a gene pool or space with for decades. So if I piss you off or offend you inadvertently or unintentionally, you should find the balls to tell me, if dredging up maturity is too much of a stretch for your wounded, fragile soul.
Because if you don’t tell me, I will never know.
And if I don’t know, then your festering cesspool of resentment or wounded pride remains just that — a cesspool.
But let’s back this up for a minute.
While you are retreating into your shell of twigs and bird spit, ask yourself this:
What was it that was so offensive?
Did I drive you out of your home with mortar shelling and force you to flee to some hostile halfway-refuge? Did I insult your child? Did I threaten to hire some thug to shoot your family on some random Tuesday while they’re idling in the car at a traffic light?
Or did someone, unimpressed by vanity and swagger, unintentionally ruffle the precious feathers of your ego, or did someone — gasp, shock horror — give you the gift of honesty as opposed to facile deception and manipulation?
How dare they.
This is the thing that amuses me sometimes, but mainly pisses me off no end other times.
In one context, many egos have become disproportionately inflated to the point where perceived transgressions are reacted to with the magnitude of a 7.3 on the Richter scale. Very few bother to examine the seriousness of the perceived ‘crime’ or offence and worse, most lose perspective of the grander scheme of things.
In another context, it’s worse if a woman commits some perceived ‘crime’ such as, say — ooh, I don’t know — speaking her mind.
Having an independent thought not dripping with unfounded sycophancy.
How dare she.
I won’t even indignify this thread by falling on that old tired chestnut about men being studs and women being sluts.
If a man has the audacity to be candid to the point where he doesn’t care about the fallout, he’s labelled perhaps brash, or opinionated, but it’s of little concern. The worst that could happen is people cross to the other side of the street when they see him walking towards them.
When a woman does it, however, she is a bitch, a bitter spinster, a sexually-unfulfilled hornet, on her period, who got up on the wrong side of bed.
It doesn’t matter that she has the right to think what she wants to think. It doesn’t matter that it is, in fact, 2016 and most women have cottoned on to the fact that their voices are not second-class voices (thanks, Suffragettes and Malala).
If a woman has the compunction to air a view that may be contrary, not quite in line with the adoring masses, she is — what’s that? — distasteful. Unfeminine. Butch. Unpalatable.
If she has the freedom to express affection, she is not viewed through the lens of simply exercising her right to do so; she is labelled, pre-judged and meant to sit quietly in her Victorian manor, corsetted and demure, waiting to be given permission from the object of her budding affection, to speak. Much less think.
It’s alright for a man to form his own unique — sorry, I meant crass and entitled — opinion about things or persons they’ve known for five seconds, but if a woman does it then she must be corrected, admonished, put in her place or given the freezing-cold shoulder and shunned by the insular mob of elites and voted off the fucking island.
No. Seems like there’s only one standard at play here.