Me after receiving a very painful bee sting: I hate bees!
Bees: *swarm of bees arrives*
Bees: NOT ALL BEES ARE LIKE THAT.
Bees: SOME OF THEM ARE PERFECTLY REASONABLE INSECTS.
Bees: BEES POLLINATE FLOWERS, YOU KNOW.
Bees: WELL, IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE ALL GENERALIZING, I GUESS I’LL STOP MAKING HONEY.
You know, this is a totally legit criticism of the whole “omg cisphobia!”/”reverse racism!” thing. I mean, if we’re in a car with someone, and they get cut off, and then make an offhanded remark about “ugh, women drivers!”, do we go off on some aggressive feminist diatribe? No, because it’s generally unhelpful, and tiresome for everyone involved.
But at the same time, I coincidentally saw a post not that long ago about a house with a massive bee infestation. It discussed how if you do get a bee infestation, you should call the local apiary and have them come relocate the bees, rather than calling an exterminator, who will just kill all of them.
One of the first responses was “fuck that, I’ll call the exterminator to kill them all, I hate bees, I’ll sleep better knowing there are less in the world!” The next couple of reblogs explained why bees are useful.
It is totally understandable and natural for people to react and lash out against the things that hurt them. For instance, I don’t think any of the people who reblogged about the benefits of bees would take issue with a person saying “I hate bees” in response to being stung. But the earlier poster seemed to have genuinely internalized their dislike of bees.
I think that we should try to be conscious and self-aware of the things we say and the way we behave, so that we don’t start making negative generalizations casually and constantly, rather than just in the heat of the moment. So that we don’t go from “damn bees!” to “I wish bees would all just die.” Or from “ugh, women drivers!” to “they need to stop giving women licenses, they’re a menace.”
But whatever, I’m taking a joke too seriously, and I need to give it a rest. There are few things more pedantic than using a wisecrack as an excuse to expound on some philosophical subtlety.