Friday, 23 January 2015

pathetic in print

Since this article pissed me off so much (pardon my French), I figured I’d write my 500 words on why I find it so mind-numbingly ridiculous.  (I just hope I can keep it to 500 words).

For anybody who doesn’t know – which I am quite confident is most everyone – the Northeast Avalon Times is “a regional community newspaper covering seven towns in one of the fastest growing regions in the province.”

Up until this point, I think it’s pretty fair to say that this newspaper flew under the radar of most Newfoundlanders. 

Earlier this week, Robin McGrath wrote an article for the Northeast Avalon Times entitled “Pathetic in pink”.  The point of the article, if I’m not mistaken, was that parents shouldn’t pigeonhole their daughters simply because of their gender, and should take a beat from the Barbie dolls and fairy wings and pink tu-tus.  While I understand her point, I think she could use a few pills of the “chill” variety.

In her article, McGrath writes, “I actually dislike little girls with princess wands and blonde hair, I react to them the same way I do when I turn over a log or a stone and find creepy albino bugs wriggling around underneath.”  She goes on to say, “I find little pink girls grating and irritating.  I want to puncture their balloons, rip their fairy wings off and squash their sense of superiority.  I have an instant aversion to them.”

In my opinion, McGrath could’ve chosen a much better approach to getting her message across – her statements seem to be attacking blonde-haired, blue-eyed toddlers in pink dresses rather than the parents who put their toddlers in the pink dresses.

In a CBC news article, the editor of the Northeast Avalon Times, Kathryn Welbourn, defends McGrath’s article stating that she “thinks people misunderstood the point of the column.”  During an interview, Welbourn described McGrath as “an acerbic writer” who “uses a lot of hyperbole.”  I don’t know about you, but that certainly seems like a copout to me.  There’s no hyperbole in “squash their sense of superiority.”

Naturally, the article ignited a lot of backlash from social media with some people even lobbying to get the paper shut down.

Welbourn said she’s shocked about how angry people got about the article and that this ordeal brings up the age-old question of free speech.

I think that’s the biggest problem I have with this whole situation.  Freedom of speech seems to be a term that is constantly thrown around by angsty teenagers, Internet trolls, and irritable journalists.  Freedom of speech is one’s right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.  It is not one’s right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint and then be subsequently shielded from any unfavourable reactions to one’s uncensored opinions.

Missus, you got to publish your article about how you “have a problem with blonde-haired, blue-eyed, little white girls.” You got your free speech.  You got the opportunity to publicly express your displeasure toward young girls who like to dress up as fairy princesses and play with dolls.  Now, give everyone else the same opportunity to express their displeasure toward your article and your harsh statements and we’ll call it a day.

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