Today I received e-mail from a left-wing activist organization asking me to sign a petition in order to force clothing retailers like JC Penney’s and Forever 21 to stop the sale of t-shirts that contain “sexist slogans” like “allergic to algebra” or “I’m too pretty to do homework.” On the message, the organization stated that such slogans “play into and perpetuate the offensive stereotypes that women are innately bad at math or that being pretty is more important than being smart.”
I often support causes proposed by progressive organizations, but I feel that in this particular case they are pushing things a bit too far. In the last few decades, Americans have become more and more fearful of not being politically correct, and as a result we have entire groups dedicated to making sure that nobody is offended in any way, shape or form.
Though I am all for not offending anyone due to their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, shape or religion, I also think that the PC police is causing America to lose its sense of humor. I mean, in today’s oversensitive times, would talented comics like Don Rickles, George Burns or Richard Pryor stand a chance these days? They (and countless others) made a career out of insulting whoever crossed their paths. If they were starting out today, they would be spending lots of time on the talk-show apology circuit at every turn they made.
But back to the point: as an educator I honestly don’t feel like such slogans are demeaning in any way to women (or men, if there were a similar line like ‘I’m on the football team, I don’t get math’). It’s just a way to capitalize on the frustrations that kids face in school today. Sure, the humor is kind of crude, but nothing worse than the stuff I saw on my days as a high school and college student (“School is Enriching: Just ask their owners”).
Today’s kids have a much higher workload of study than previous generations do. Homework has become more and more demanding, and with the advent of online studies, teachers have required more and more from their students – which basically robs them from any free time to be what they are – kids. Sure, as the job market becomes more and more competitive, students today have to be way more prepared than their parents had to be. But if you don’t think this is a bit frustrating, I guess you pretty much forgot all about what it was to have been their age.
I feel that as a society, we have become way oversensitive and overprotective, and what I fear is that the next generation might just grow up without a spine. I say that we should take it easy a bit – a little sense of humor never caused anyone permanent damage.