Thursday 18 April 2019

If you look to be offended, you'll find something

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Isn't it odd how some people are only popular when they're victims?

Isn't it strange that some people now also seem to think that there's some sort of virtue in being a victim?

Jennifer Aniston (above) certainly fits the first assertion, if not necessarily the second, and she is in trouble with the sisterhood for some quotes she gave during an interview with InStyle magazine.

During the course of a perfectly pleasant conversation with the interviewer - who also happens to be her friend - Aniston lamented the fact that "in my personal experience I've been treated worse verbally and energetically by some women in this industry".

That's not a particularly popular thing to say in the current climate of #MeToo madness - like many movements, #MeToo started out with righteous intent and then became an insidiously nasty phenomenon - but it is surely something that most working women will recognise.

One of the great unspoken elements of the current, vengeful mood is that most blokes aren't resentful of our apparent 'privilege' being taken away. Most blokes aren't pissed off that they can no longer harass their female colleagues (that was always a smacking offence anyway). Most blokes certainly don't feel threatened by women bosses or women colleagues. If they can do the job they can do the job and that's the end of it - some of my best and most supportive bosses down the years were women. And some of the worst were women as well - they were just different people with different approaches.

Also, as it happens, the worst cases of workplace bullying I've ever witnessed involved women squabbling with other women while the sensible men just kept their head down and tried to sneak out early. Aniston's point is important because it goes against the current wisdom that women are always victims, and men are always bastards. Sometimes, of course, that's the case. But not always.

That it should take someone as, well... someone as utterly beige as Aniston to make a perfectly obvious point, a point which used to be taken for granted by people of both sexes, is interesting. That's because the show that made her famous is also in the wars.

Friends is currently being repeated ad nauseam on one of the comedy channels and it's fascinating to see how a sit-com that was derided at the time for being so bloody bland should have become controversial with younger viewers.

They see sexism where the rest of us see dialogue. They see discrimination and 'hate speech' where the rest of us see jokes. That's the problem with people who look to be offended - they will never be disappointed. But you know we're in strange days indeed when Rachel from Friends is controversial.

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