By Nancy Salam, Features Editor

It is truly an art to speak without saying anything, ask any United Nations member. To give a 10 minute speech without expressing a single opinion or stance is really a talent that hopefully one will never learn. We all enjoy listening to ourselves speak aimlessly and for hours, but it seems that others do not, and when you raise your hand in a debate to give a comment that sounds like it came from the Security Council’s press release, people tend to find it annoying. Contrary to popular belief, it is totally acceptable to hold an opinion, that for lack of a better word, will piss people off.

(If your opinions happen to be racist, or ever so slightly orientalist, you can always blame it on neocolonialism, its a real thing.) Every time we start our sentences with phrases like “I am not a feminist, but…”, “I don’t want to judge, but…”  “No offense, but…”,we weaken our arguments and cheapen our opinions. If you have researched and thoroughly thought out your opinion then you do have the right to be a feminist, the right to judge and the right to offend. Within reason of course, I am not advocating the right to be racist or sexist. I am however advocating the right to hold opinions that differ to mainstream discourse. We’ve all experienced the name calling, if you express an opinion that differentiates a women from a door mat, you must  be a man-hater, criticize the Muslim brotherhood and you are anti-Islam, criticize the West and you hate America. It might not be true, but we can all admit to have done it at some point. When someone criticizes you or something you believe in, it is far easier to question the person than the opinion. Offering an opinion is like falling into a trap, either you say nothing at all, which will lead to the questioning of your mental capabilities, or you say something that will inevitably disagree with someone. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it. This goes beyond freedom of speech, into freedom of thought.  Being called opinionated is never a compliment, but perhaps it should be.