Should Santa be gender-neutral? The question appeared last week across social media seemingly out of nowhere. Had anyone even expressed a desire for this change to take place? Had the fictional character Santa Claus himself (themself?) come down and declared that he would rather be referred to as she or they instead? Of course not.
However, in a time where members of the LGBTQ+ community are fighting for recognition and acceptance, a bogus idea such as this is successful in at least one way: by disqualifying the legitimate plights of truly oppressed people and making their concerns seem trivial and insignificant.
Similarly, the controversy surrounding the Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside," while slightly more justified (say, what's in this drink?), is ultimately detracting from the importance of the #MeToo movement and its fight against sexual assault and harassment.
While the song may be inappropriately interpreted based on our current sociopolitical climate, its historical context is actually one of feminine empowerment, about a young woman making up a lie to tell her parents to stay the night at a man's house in a time at which women weren't allowed to take control of their own sexuality, or even to spend time with a man without supervision.
If individual people are offended by the song, that is their personal belief that they are entitled to and that should be respected without justification but to claim that women or liberals find the song offensive is simply an excuse to dismiss violence against women as a trivial problem that has people hysterically up in arms.
It doesn't end here. The "War on Christmas", the NFL, everything Donald Trump says and does, GMO's, vaccines, the list is endless. Neither side of the political aisle is immune, and no one is right. It appears that sometimes the best approach is to avoid approaching these topics in the first place. "Just because our emotions are justified, that doesn't mean we're required to acquiesce. Rarely does acting out of rage—justified or not—lead to a desirable outcome."
There are certain situations that absolutely deserve our outrage: human rights violations, terminal illnesses, tragic accidents, acts of violence. However, our current habit of raising our blood pressure every time we open Facebook is unjustifiable, pointless, and ends up causing more harm than good.