Dec 15

I’m Offended

Nowadays it appears so many people are eager to take offence about something or rather.

It almost appears as if some, not all, are on the constant lookout for anything to be offended by.

Now let me say this, it is of paramount importance we are respectful of one another’s feelings and wellbeing. We need to show due care for the welfare of people who may be the target of bigoted comments. Genuine grievances need to be addressed but let’s not see the seriousness of these grievances overshadowed by ones contrived by people who merely seek to find offence as some form of grouse attention seeking.

With the ever-present cloud of someone taking offence to something or a rather some of us may feel like we’re walking on eggshells most of the time. You don’t wish to cause offence, you don’t actively seek to offend and you do very everything possible to not offend but someone still manages to fault with something you do or say, no matter how you try.

Where am I leading with all of this? Recently, we received a notification via the Online Fight Club otherwise known as Instagram that our magazine had offended someone. It piqued my interest because we are particularly mindful of being an inclusive publication – a magazine that can be picked up by anyone, of any age, of any sex or sexuality and any ethnicity, and this very ethos applies to our editorial content within. How on earth could we offend someone? I pondered.

Our said offence was that Smorgasboarder was not inclusive enough because we featured an advertisement of a white lady in swimwear and the subsequent story that followed was about a white surfer. You’re joking, I thought. Through our thirteen years we have frequently featured stories of surfers of all ethnicities, both able bodied and not, male, female, old, young, accomplished surfers, ‘crap surfers’ and those starting out. The said person who publicly criticised us couldn’t be more wrong about our publication. Indeed, in the early days, when it was just Mark and I, we even produced a 116-page magazine with 100% of the editorial coverage dedicated to female surfers, surfboard shapers, glassers, photographers and artists – a Ladies Edition completely produced by two guys. I would be interested to know if there is another publication in the world that has done that.

But then I considered, maybe all of this isn’t enough. Whilst we have featured diverse content regularly, maybe to those who actively seek to be offended it just doesn’t cut it. Maybe that diversity HAS to be in every edition, or indeed on every page, or every picture and every sentence, otherwise we’re bigoted. Our free magazine that runs on the smell of an oily rag better quadruple our editorial budget to seek out all these specific stories.

Moving forward we need a considered and intelligent approach to being inclusive and mindful of all of those around us. As for this said person however, please read a couple of editions before you form an opinion. You offended me with your uniformed comments. Yep, there it is, I am offended by idiots. Those people who portray themselves as righteous and holier than thou but unfortunately don’t fully educate themselves on the subject matter of their interest before getting on their high horse to lecture us lesser individuals from a high. However, that statement is probably offensive to horses.