If You Feel Offended, Maybe You Should Be
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There are many pros and cons to running a blog like this. Thankfully, there are mostly pros, but every now and then we are reminded that any time general criticism is focused in a specific direction, some people are going to be offended.
Many of my articles criticize men, because I am a man. I am part of the statement when a woman complains about “all men,” or “how men act.” The words that accompany this statement are affected by both good men, and bad men. Unfortunately, human nature is to complain more than it is to praise (if you don’t believe this, just visit any page on Yelp and read the reviews).
So, what we find typically is dissatisfaction with the modern man. We struggle to find our place in the world. We struggle to find meaning. We struggle to make friends. We struggle to find jobs and therefore self-fulfillment. But we also often struggle to make the ‘right’ choices when it comes to how we approach and treat others – particularly women.
I am not here to tell anyone what to do or how to live their life. I am here to write down my opinions based on my experiences and how I am striving to live my life. Some of that results in articles like ‘15 Signs You’re With A Good Man‘ or ‘How To: Compliment Women Without Being A Creep‘ which are often met with resistance…from, you guessed it, men. If you read an article with these titles and become offended, maybe it is because you don’t put in enough effort to meet the things that ‘good men’ do. Or maybe you do do the things that creep women out. And then you turn into one of those men…
Men who have clearly come on to my website for the first time and have drawn a conclusion from one article. Men who actually leave comments throughout the site complaining about the woman who wrote the article…
The woman who wrote the article? Apparently the million and a half places that my name and face appear on this website do not make it clear enough that I am a man, and yes I am criticizing men.
Yes, it is possible for a man to criticize other men. In fact, I don’t think it happens enough. I am criticizing men because nobody is holding us accountable. Nobody is holding us to standards of conduct. We are too distracted by the idea of accepting everyone the way they are to even notice how many people have just stopped trying because of it.
I am criticizing men because we can do better.
They leave comments like “What about women? Shouldn’t women do this too?” And by doing so they telegraph their complete lack of effort to do a little scrolling and understand that I have plenty of articles speaking about how I feel ‘good women’ do and don’t act as well. Such as this and this.
But this isn’t about me nor is it about defending my position. As they say, the best way to start an argument on the internet is to express an opinion, and then wait.
What this is about is the dodging of real issues by people who fall into the categories we are trying to discuss. If you comment on an article about how men can be better and all you ask is why women aren’t being criticized also, you are part of the problem.
You are part of the problem because you are refusing to admit your own shortcomings, which we all have – probably myself more than most, and all you want to know is why you are the only one being ‘attacked,’ when in reality that is not the case at all.
The question we need to start asking if we read a general article directed at no particular person, instead of ‘who else is being criticized?’ should be ‘why does this offend me?’ What is it about the article that makes it sting a little bit? Instead of dodging the issue like you are Neo in The Matrix, let’s examine the issue at hand and do a little bit of introspection.
Have these words made us realize some of our own shortcomings and things we need to work on? Have they made us understand areas of our lives we need to improve upon? I know that writing has helped me learn probably even more than it has helped me ‘teach.’ But, the only reason for that is because I have been open to it – and I look in the mirror before I point a finger back at the person who is making me do it.
So, let us work to become better, not to avoid the core issues. Let us take advantage of the countless opportunities living in this time of history has made available to us to improve ourselves. And let us accept positive, constructive criticism without being offended by it.
Because if you are offended, maybe you should be.
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