In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the trend of people being too easily offended in today’s society. This debate has arisen in the context of a much wider discussion about the changing norms around acceptable speech and behavior, as well as the impact of social media and the internet on public discourse.
From social media to political correctness, it seems that many things have the potential to offend. But, are people truly becoming more easily offended? Some argue that the increased sensitivity and outrage over seemingly innocuous comments and actions is stifling free speech and undermining our ability to engage in meaningful debate.
Others, however, hold the belief that this concern is misplaced and that the rise of social justice movements and increased awareness of issues related to discrimination and inequality are long overdue.
One Reddit user’s curiosity regarding this ongoing debate prompted them to take to the popular forum and ask the over 60 community, “do you think people are more easily offended nowadays?”
“I always question how much this problem is actually ‘nowadays’ vs people have always thrown tantrums over silly things,” they continued.
“I feel like people were definitely making a fuss over nothing in the 80s and the British tabloids made a living off it. But what about before that? What do you think?”
As fast as someone can take offence to an off-the-cuff remark nowadays the responses began to pour in from over 60s near and far just as quickly.
One user theorised that people aren’t any more easily offended than they were years ago but that there ability to convey such offence to a wider audience is more prevalent.
“I think just as many people are offended as before. But now, everyone has a means to broadcast their offendedness to the outside world,” they said.
Although one over 60 didn’t notice people feeling offended at an increased rate in their “daily interactions with people” they were aware of people taking their offence too far.
“I think it’s more accurate to say that there’s now a small but very vocal segment of the population which is into performative offense-taking, ‘back in the day’ that would have gotten you shunned as a whiner or a drama queen,” they shared.
“Now, in certain circumstances, it can gain you status, power, and/or money.”
One commenter was a little more blunt with their response.
“We’ve always had entitled asshats, but now everyone has a camera,” they claimed.
Another user did agree that there seems to be more instances nowadays of people being offended but that “what people are offended about has changed”.
“A lot of things that were offensive in the seventies when I grew have become normalised and things that were taken for granted and normal even are nowadays inappropriate,” they said.
“With the advent of social media it’s just that we can see the “twitter storm” brewing more easily. I don’t have or use Twitter but I still have to hear about what’s going on there.”
A “bigger sense of entitlement” was what one user put the increased rate of people being offended down to.
“I think people have a bigger sense of entitlement and if they don’t get what they want, they throw a tantrum,” they said.
“The offended piece to this is that they feel entitled to be the only one with an opinion that matters. It all leads back to entitlement.
“In days gone by, people didn’t get to feel entitled because they weren’t allowed. Everyone conducted themselves according to the status quo and went along with the majority. Today people feel more free to speak their minds.”
Another said there are some people who are “dying to be offended these days so that they can feel validated and heard”.
“It’s terribly sad. Younger generations seem to have lost the ability to be comfortable if 100% of everything and everyone doesn’t go their way. They lack resilience,” they said.
One user closed the argument with their thoughts that “people are a bunch of namby pambies these days”.
“Way too whiney. Easily offended,” they said.
While some feel that sensitivity has gone too far and that people need to toughen up, others believe that it’s important to be mindful of the impact of our words and actions on others.
Regardless of one’s position on the matter, it’s clear that conversations about the balance between free speech and respect for other people’s feelings are ongoing and necessary.