ASHEVILLE, N.C.–– Concerned citizens are taking offense to satirical articles on behalf of the groups they think should be. One group, which styles its form of social justice “offended by proxy”, has recently targeted The Overheard Press.
“The Overheard Press has a history of publishing offensive articles” said activist Terri Lowry. “They consistently post articles that attempt to mock CrossFit athletes of all sizes, colors, religions, and fitness levels.”
The group’s strategy is to complain so loudly and emotionally on social media that it appears the words they don’t like are causing them physical, bodily harm. Lowry cited a number of article that the Overheard Press published, yet later retracted due to similar public backlash. In a Facebook group dedicated to surrogate offendedness, Lowry wrote: “The Overheard Press has a long history of succumbing to the demands of shrill, vocal minorities. This is something we need to leverage.”
While the group has had some success, others have characterized their outrage as “disingenuous” since it is on behalf of others. In one recent example, The Overheard Press published an article about the ubiquitous “gym dog.”
Instagram user Pat Milford wrote “I usually find your stuff funny, but this is just offensive. You are turning Dogs away from fitness and shaming them for being who they are.”
But Lowry, and others like her, believe that being offended by proxy is a genuine and important part of achieving social justice.
“Many of the Overheard Press’s articles are condescending toward people of specific genders, religions, or fitness levels,” She explained. “But these groups aren’t always able to tell when they should and shouldn’t be offended. We know what’s best for them, so we express outrage as their online surrogates.”