Why the Word Sheeple is So Damn Offensive

You’re Damned if You Do, and Damned if You Don’t

Everything has become so offensive to everyone in the past few years. If you say something slightly off putting to one person, it becomes “racist” “sexist” or some other new “ist” that our world uses as a moral compass.

I, for one, am getting pretty exhausted from watching literally every word I write or say, around mixed company. I am more fearful of offending someone than I am of contacting the COVID virus, at this point.

Recently the beloved Dr. Seuss has been targeted, as has our favorite childhood toy, Mr. Potato Head. Why? Because they don’t fit in the pocket of our new, strange world. Dr. Seuss had booked pulled off the shelves because he was deemed racist, in a few of his iconic stories. Mr. Potato Head will no longer be dubbed as “Mister” because that is gender biased. Our world is going mad.

The irony of our seemingly mutual offensiveness never ceases to boggle my mind. Rap music is full of racist slurs and rhyming offensive content, yet we all seem to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. TV shows, video games and movies are rarely edited to take out cuss words, nudity, violence and sexual content, even though they all come with “warnings”. But, because we are warned with a yellow announcement, we should be unoffended, when we make the choice to watch or play them.

Most TV shows have implanted people of color, or culture, as well as people of diverse sexual orientation, so it has now become normal and natural on our favorite shows and entertainment. This is a GOOD thing, and I applaud the world of Hollywood and other parts of the cinematic world in being cognizant of our planet’s diversities. I love that our screens are now complete with every type of gender, color, sexual orientation, and everything in between. It makes entertainment more realistic and gives everyone a fair opportunity. It’s a beautiful thing. I feel like since people have started to stand up and talk about their multifariousness, our society somehow feels less divided.

This brings me full circle to my point…

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Being Called Sheeple is Highly Offensive

The word Sheeple comes from the observation of how sheep follow in their own flock. Loosely defined, it describes compliant people who follow rules, obey authority and do as they are told to do. However, when it is used in an obviously scathing and condescending way that it has been used this past year, it is undeniably offensive.

If you consider, just for a moment, what that word is insinuating, it is meant to be shameful for those of us who simply want peace, organization and purpose in our lives. A world without rules and laws, is a world that we are not equipped for. If we didn’t follow rules and guidelines, we wouldn’t have jobs with managers and Unions. If we didn’t do as we were expected to do, we would be at risk of being in the street, homeless, or worse. If there were no guidelines to follow, many of us would be without direction, spinning in circles and lost within ourselves. Even managers have managers. There are leaders and followers for a reason, and being shamed because we abide by rules is beyond disgusting.

This pandemic has made most of us frustrated, sad, fearful, stressed out, and tearful, as we try to fight through it every single day, waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. It has divided our culture in those who believe in it, and follow the rules, and those who live in denial, even while people around us are diagnosed and sick, or dying in hospitals. I am not saying that I am on either of these teams, because that is not what my point is. What I don’t understand, however, is how we can be shamed for having worries and for following the rules that apply to our respective parts of the world.

Perhaps you believe in, and follow what your leaders tell you, or maybe you rebel and fight against it all, attending anti mask rallies or other mass retaliations. No matter which way you swing your proverbial bat, you are a follower. Sheeple aren’t just the people who follow the rules, they are also the folks who follow others who aren’t compliant.

The other day, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I observed at least 5 Anti COVID videos, articles and posts. Every single one of them made a reference to SHEEPLE. “Wake up Sheeple”. “Read this, you Sheeple.” Whether the posts they shared were accurate or not, I don’t truly know, but I found the irony in calling their readers Sheeple, while they themselves were being caught in their own web of sheep manure. It makes no sense. By being anti-compliant they are following their own flock of non believers. By not following the rules, they have built their own society of followers, who follow the rule of not following rules. Weird.

We are all doing our best right now, in this highly offended, mixed up world of diverse cultures, and frightened people. We can all find something that is offensive, around every corner of masked strangers, who say what they want and get hurt when they are called out for it. We all need to take accountability for ourselves, no matter what flock we live in.

Photo by Martin Bisof on Unsplash

What the Flock is Happening Here?

Each and everyone of us belongs to flocks-whether it’s our jobs and co-workers, our families, our race, our gender, our sexual orientation, or the color of our skin.

Being referred to as Sheeple, is a global metaphor for people who follow rules within their own flock. By those standards, every person on Earth could be considered a sheeple. Our churches, religions, our kids’ daycares and schools, clubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms, and everything else in our lives all have rules. Our communities and our cities, our parks and our roads all have regulations we have to follow. These rules are there so we all stay safe and orderly as a race. If we had no rules, society would run amok and become an Armageddon of chaos.

When the word sheeple is used as a shameful, derogatory word against those of use who need order in our life, it is highly offensive, not to mention sardonic. The word is also contradictory to the aggressive assault it’s intended for. If you pay attention to the people who throw the word around, they are sheep themselves, in the flock they are lashing out from.

Our societal universe finds offence in remarks, appearances, words, and body language. We have become easily hurt by inappropriate actions and objects that don’t fit within our individual flocks. We are shamed for following and shamed for leading. We ae called out for individuality and for being a member of our own flocks. Where does it stop? The term “Black Sheep” is no longer acceptable, as it is deemed as racist, yet it seems every flock has one sheep that is different from the others, who tends to become outed for being unstandardized. We cannot be carbon copies or clones of one another, yet, the beauty of each of us being unique, is critiqued. I don’t understand how we are all supposed to live in this kind of world.

Perhaps instead of shaming, criticizing, offending and being the narcissistic leaders of a world with too many flocks, we can all learn to accept, be kind, and show grace to things and people who make us feel slightly uncomfortable. Maybe, we can all try and find compromise within, and outside of our flocks to learn to understand and be compassionate with one another.

Photo by Catherine Hammond on Unsplash

Our Offended Life.

I am offended by the use of Sheeple and how its meant to be a derogatory shameful word. I do follow rules, in order to keep harmony and peace in my life. If that offends you, my apologies.

I understand, with my entire soul, that if you feel you are being mistreated because you are an individual, you need to take a stand, and speak out. I also understand advocating for members of your flock, especially if they are unable to voice their own feelings.

What I can’t comprehend is people who shame others for following others, who seem to know what’s best for us, while they stand on their soap box determining what is not. None of our flocks are superior or inferior. They are simply different and unique from one another.

Pinpointing subject matter, objects, or historical moments, and trying to replace them or delete them from our global lessons, seems dangerous. Taking books off of shelves, toys away from our children, and shaming us because we just want to try and be good humans, is what is becoming a fault in this generation. If we don’t have past lessons to learn from, how else will we learn?

By educating ourselves from role models and leaders, and following rules, we become decent people and good citizens within our flocks.

If that makes me a sheeple, so be it.

As people we all have our crosses to bear, our fears to face and our own set of beliefs. That is what makes us PEOPLE, not Sheeple. If you don’t like what’s happening outside of your flock, stay inside and let us follow where we need to, in order to stay sane.

Writer of relationships / early childhood and mental health . Poetry and fiction dabbler

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