The Case For (and Against) Abortion

Today, I saw this Tweet by Planned Parenthood in Kentucky:

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As always when you get a Tweet from Planned Parenthood, you get your usual cries of “baby-killers” etc.

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And then you get these:

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They are both narrow-minded and judgmental standpoints, and here’s why:

The idea that all abortion is “baby-killing” is ludicrous. That would be like saying that every sperm is sacred, because sperm carries the potential for millions of babies. Every egg that a woman walks around with without actively attempting to fertilise, oops! there goes another baby. And indeed, there are, and have been, people who see it that way:

 

 

The reason Monty Python mocked this standpoint is precisely because it is a stupid, ludicrous standpoint.

Likewise, the idea that babies conceived in incest, rape, or where the pregnant person is a minor, or with physical disabilities or mental disabilities that endanger them or the fetus, or with diseases or conditions that endanger them or the fetus etc…. The idea that those people should not have the right to abort is absolutely ridiculous. The idea that “saving the child” is actually saving the child is selfish and deluded. You would bring this child into a world they are not wanted, where they cannot be cared for properly, where from the get-go, they will have to fight with their every breath for joy, and a good life, and where their parent/parents face an equal struggle. The idea that there aren’t cases – plenty of cases – where abortion is the better option, is simply ridiculous, selfish, and narrow-minded. Please watch this video, and then tell me there aren’t cases:

I would also say (in my personal, non-medical opinion) there are some cases where abortion shouldn’t be an option: if the mother’s not a minor, and is of sound body and mind, and has originally wanted to keep the child, but suddenly changes her mind after week 24 (in the U.K at least, this is where they child might be able to be given a fighting chance outside the womb, with the proper medical support), then just carry that child for another 16 weeks, and give them up for adoption. You’ve already given it 24. If you really don’t want that child, and there is no medical reason for you to abort, then I think adoption is the way to go.

I have been incredibly lucky: I have never been faced with the choice. The one time I have been pregnant (that I know of) it has been through choice, and there wasn’t a second where I thought about not keeping that child. I hope to become pregnant again, and to get to keep that baby too. But not all people are so lucky. In the days after my daughter was born, we were seen by many midwives and health-visitors, to ensure the baby’s and my well-being. One of those midwives told me that she had had to abort: in week 20, they had discovered that she had cancer, which had spread to an alarming degree. Keeping the baby would have endangered her life, as she would not have been able to begin treatment. She already had a daughter at the time. The heart-break and disappointment was unimaginable, but what other choice did she have? If you tell me that she was a baby-killer and selfish, you are also telling me that our only responsibility is toward the gestating child, and once they come out, there is no responsibility. Because how could she choose her unborn child over her little girl? Risking her own life to bring another into the world, when they would both end up without a mother?

If you really care about saving children, save those that are already here, suffering from starvation, wars, trafficking, abuse, child labour and preventable diseases. Instead of fighting abortions, provide sexual education for young people, and there will be fewer abortions needed. Make sure contraceptives are freely available, and that people are educated on how to use them safely and efficiently (and how not to). Stop promoting abstinence: it just doesn’t work. “Hey, just don’t have sex!” really isn’t a solution: if it was, we would not have wide-spread STD’s, orphans, or indeed, abortions.

And to all those out there who say “no uterus, no opinion”: really? Really? So you think if we don’t have something, we don’t get to have a say? If you have no children, but you see someone hit their child in the street, you don’t get to intervene? If you have no pets, but you see someone feeding their dog chocolate, you don’t get to tell them it’s poisonous? If you don’t have a car, you don’t get to inform people about dangerous driving, or carbon emissions? I see plenty of women with strong opinions in the ongoing circumcision debate. But do I see the cry “no penis, no opinion”? No. So please stop. We are ALL entitled to opinions. You don’t have to listen. That’s what you’re entitled to. You can choose to ignore someone’s opinion based on their gender. It will make you sexist, so congrats, but you can choose to do that (men have done so for centuries, and now women are keen to reciprocate, apparently). But no, you don’t have to have a uterus to have an opinion about abortions. Aren’t roughly 50% of those fetuses male, anyway? So shouldn’t that in itself give men the go-ahead in the debate?

Abortion is difficult precisely because it isn’t a black-and-white issue. Humans appear to have big problems when there isn’t a clear line. We don’t like grey areas. But it is a grey area. I can’t at the moment see a point where it will stop being a grey area. But please try a little bit of empathy, a little bit of education, and a little bit of free speech. It will do you good.

 

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Beware these 10 Types of Feminist Women

Dear blogworld,

This made it across my facebook-feed this morning, and the subsequent frustration with the post was enough to wake me up entirely.

Never mind the constant tendency for gender feminists to attack men whether said men are for or against actual feminism (equity feminism). Never mind how gender feminists always add to the already vast gulf between “men” and “women”, trying to widen it and generate these two “factions” with their every contribution to the gender-discourse.

What made me truly angry was the unintentional irony of the piece. There was, for instance, the delightful paradox of the following:

7. Beware Male Feminists Who Resort to Toxic Communication Patterns Because It Benefits Them

Beware men who place a premium on sharing your feelings and thoughts – because that’s “communication” – but don’t share any of theirs.

Beware men who dump their emotions on you and pretend that their “vulnerability” (in asking you to bear their burden) is a feminist act.

Basically, beware men who try to be sympathetic and unselfish by listening to your feelings and thoughts, but if they DO share their feelings and thoughts, then that’s “dumping their emotions on you”. This is a classic example of

1. Beware Female Feminists who turn any male action into a negative action

Beware female feminists who interpret ANYTHING a man does as negative.

Are you complimenting her looks? You are trying to control her. In fact, you are trying to undermine her self-confidence, and indicating that she should care about your opinion of how she looks.

Are you not complimenting her looks? You are trying to control her. In fact, you are trying to undermine her self-confidence, and indicating that she should care about your opinion of how she looks.

2. Beware Female Feminists who disregard men’s emotions

Beware female feminists who feel that, while men should take women’s emotions and feelings very seriously – and somehow manage to not ask them about them and ask them about them at the same time, apparently – men’s emotions are irrelevant. They will quickly lodge an insult against a man/men in general as a “harmless joke”, and when pulled up on this, resort to “male privilege” or “years of oppression” as a reason why it is all right for a woman to be verbally/mentally abusive toward a man, but not the other way around. This type of feminist will generally hold all men responsible for the actions of any other man, or their ancestors. If all else fails, this feminist will excuse her insults and aggressions with how much worse women have it, as if that somehow makes anything happening to men less bad. So you lost your leg? Well that woman over there is dying of cancer. Stop whining.

3. Beware Female Feminists who express opinions about other women’s clothes/appearance

Beware female feminists who express ANY opinion about the way other women look. This wonderful cartoon sums it up. This also applies to female feminists who comment, positively or negatively, on other women’s makeup choices, whether they choose to wear heels or not, how they wear their hair etc. If men do not get to comment on women’s appearance without it being oppression, women do not get to comment on women’s appearance without it being oppression.

(OR men’s appearance, for that matter. Can you imagine men commenting on a gender-swapped version of the facebook-post below along the lines of: “Women with glitter-roots: yes or no?” Yeah, talk about oppression. But not when women do it to men.)

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4. Beware Female Feminists who try to control you sexually

Beware female feminists who feel that a relationship is all about the man pleasing the woman sexually, them only having sex when the woman wants it, and that the man more or less has to get a consent-form signed from the woman to ensure that he hasn’t misinterpreted her interest, while a woman having sex with a man in his sleep is funny, or a woman stopping a burglar and then raping him is hilarious.

These female feminists always consider pornography to be oppressive/derogatory toward women, but in their world only men watch pornography/pornography is only made for men, so if you enjoy watching pornography you are a) a man, and b) contributing to female oppression. If you are, against all odds, a WOMAN watching pornography, that’s because you are liberating yourself and anyway, men have done it for thousands of years, so that excuses everything. Good for you, girl.

Oh, and did I mention that though the sex is all about the woman/when the woman wants it, the man should somehow know what/when this is? And whilst it is perfectly fine for a woman not to want to have sex, if a man doesn’t want to have sex, it is an insult to the woman’s physique, and another attempt to undermine her self-confidence.

5. Beware Female Feminists who try to dictate what you should do with your life

Beware female feminists who indicate that it’s not all right to be a stay-at-home mum, as in their world, all women should want a career. Beware female feminists who at the same time expect you to be a stay-at-home mum, as sending your children to day-care “too soon” or getting a nanny will apparently destroy your children’s lives forever. Often, these same female feminists will fight for the right to breast-feed in public, and confuse it with some unspoken obligation to breast-feed, making women who choose to formula-feed, or NOT to breast-feed in public, feel like bad mothers. Beware female feminists who fight for girls and women to get better education, but do not care about boys suffering in education. Beware female feminists who consider girls wearing blue, playing with cars, or wanting to become scientists as something positive, but pink, dolls, and ballet as something negative, and who do not care what boys wear/play with/want to become.

6. Beware Female Feminists who make fun of men’s intelligence/appearance

Beware female feminists who happily make fun of their male friends’, relatives’, or other halves’ appearance or intelligence,  but would consider the same comment made by a man to a woman as incredibly sexist and oppressive. Beware female feminists who laughingly insult the men around them, but consider any comment made by a man regarding a woman’s intelligence or appearance to be an insult, no matter how it is worded or meant.

7. Beware Female Feminists who say every societal problem is caused by “the patriarchy” or men in general

Beware female feminists who blame any evil in the world on men, even those that affect men negatively. If women have eating disorders, that’s because men have made them feel obsessed with their looks. If male suicide is way higher than female suicide, that’s because the patriarchy make men feel inadequate as men. If there aren’t as many female leaders/directors in the world as male, it’s because the patriarchy stops women from getting these positions. If men fail at work or in school, it’s because other men are creating a competitive environment and not being supportive.

8. Beware Female Feminists who work with/endorse what they claim to hate

Beware female feminists who work within pornography, stripping, modelling, fashion, makeup, or other sectors which are generally perceived to embody the male oppression/objectification of the female body. These female feminists will often portray their own part in these trades as “liberating, taking back our space, changing the system from the inside” etc., while men who work in these industries are always attempting to oppress or objectify women. While the big evil corporations, always owned by the patriarchy, attempt to make girls feel bad about themselves through unrealistically thin models, that same female model on the billboard can be a powerful icon and role-model for those girls. It’s never women’s fault for perpetuating these stereotypes, as women are actually being controlled by “society and advertising”.

 

9. Beware Female Feminists who always defend women, and criticise men

Beware female feminists who will immediately jump to a lengthy defense of other women’s opinions, even if those are violent and negative toward men, but would find the same opinions expressed by a man internet abuse. Tasteless jokes which would never have been acceptable from a man are perfectly fine if they’re about men, from a woman. If a woman dumps a man, it’s because he’s an a**hole. If a man dumps a woman, it’s because he’s an a**hole. If a woman has a full-time job and sees her children a few hours a week, she’s strong, and going against “societal norms”, which is a good thing. If a man does it, he’s a selfish pig, forcing his poor wife to stay at home, and distancing himself from his children, who will “grow up without a father”. If a man calls himself a feminist, he probably has ulterior motives, and still just wants to oppress women, same as other men. If a woman does, it’s because she’s a good person who believes in fighting for women’s rights.

10. Beware Female Feminists who turn rational discussions into personal attacks

Beware female feminists who will turn healthy debates where you disagree with their views into personal attacks, where you are called out for oppressing them, silencing them, misrepresenting feminism, verbally raping them, or any number of terms that can be used to shut down an argument. These same female feminists will often start attacking you personally, saying your opinions are invalid because you are a man/white/cis, and things along the lines of how this is “typical” for men, how men “feel threatened” by empowered women, how the phrase “not all men” is somehow offensive rather than true, and in the end, anything you say that is not in complete agreement with these female feminists views will be portrayed as you supporting rape or female oppression etc.

 

To sum it up: beware female feminists who constantly uphold double standards for men and women; who believe that the evils of the world are all because of men and none because of women; who attempt to control the men and women around them but claim that men are constantly trying to control women; and who write long posts like “Beware These 10 Types of Feminist Men”. 

Creationism vs. Reason

Dear readers,

I found this doing the rounds on facebook the other day.

And it really is that simple. You see, we often hear creationists or other Christians/people of various religious backgrounds snidely remark that evolution is “just a theory.” Oh, no. No, it’s a fact. A fact is something that you can see all around you, that has the same result every time you test it, that anyone can test and arrive at the same conclusion if they have the same instruments and means. That is why no-one has disproved the theory of evolution since Darwin came along and made it famous. It’s not like we haven’t had some time to disprove it by now. It’s not like people wouldn’t want to disprove it. Can you imagine – considering how big Darwin is, how when someone says “mention a famous scientist” he’s probably one of the top 5 that people think of – can you imagine how enormously huge anyone would be that came along  with a better theory? That person could be like “yeah, I proved Darwin wrong. Me. Take that, biathces.” Just like when David Tennant… I mean, Arthur Eddington showed that Newton had been wrong about something. Darwin and Eddington were both believers in God, but they simply could not deny what their eyes, their senses, and most of all, their rationality, clearly demonstrated to them. They were people who didn’t want to be right, but who could not deny simple reason and logic.

Unlike the gentlemen in the video below. They demonstrate the one creationist argument that always makes me grit my teeth. Please try to watch it all the way through; it is short, even though the presenters are so horrendously stupid it feels like everything is happening in slow motion.

Behold, the atheist’s worst nightmare: unbelievably dense arguments for the existence of God, and the people who make them.

Take the banana. It’s so perfect it must have intelligent design behind it. And you know what? It does! It has been cultivated for thousands of years by humans, and domesticated so as to develop its specific shape, its enjoyable level of sweetness, and its tiny seeds, so small that I’m sure many people don’t realise bananas actually have seeds in them.

 

Now behold the banana as it is in the wild.

 

 

See how perfect God made it? All hand-shaped and delicious looking, with those itty bitty seeds and the sweet flavour?

So that argument didn’t take much more than a few seconds of Googling. I think the sad and insulting thing is that these people have never taken those seconds of Googling out of their lives to find out that bananas are indeed a counterargument for God, and certainly an argument for actual intelligent design: humans manipulating nature to yield products more suitable for humans. We do it a lot, but we’ve done it for so long with the banana that Creationists, some of whom really don’t think we’ve been here all that long anyway, seem to think the banana has always been like this. Oops.

(Also, check this video where Richard Dawkins attempts to explain the evolution behind the eye to yet another creationist who has misquoted Darwin regarding the eye. Oh, there goes another creationist argument.)

The most baffling thing to me about creationism is that there is a simple logic behind the “intelligent design” of evolution: that everything became the way it is over hundreds of thousands of years, that everything is adapted to its environment because it had to be or it died, that there are thousands of similar yet unique species because animals move around, plants spread, climates change, and time passes. There is nothing confusing or daunting about it. The many imperfections in any species, the leftovers from previous stages of evolution, they are all there precisely because there was no chirpy God dude going “Hmm, this would probably be better that way.”

(Also, if God was such a fan of Adam, why would he have made his balls so squishy? Why would he go “here’s your most valuable asset, your only way to procreate and keep your species from dying out” and then add with a snicker “but Imma make sure that if someone kicks you real hard that won’t happen.” I thought women were the ones that were supposed to suffer for Eve’s sin? Oops.)

It is of course even more depressing that some schools teach creationism instead of real science. These children will grow up even more ignorant of how the world works than most children, and then turn into the kind of adults who vote for Donald Trump*. I mean, I’m sure it makes Trump happy – he does love the poorly educated – but it doesn’t make the rest of us very happy. I’d prefer a world where everyone was given a good education so they have a chance to make good decisions in life.

Either way, there are so many arguments for evolution and against creationism that this post could continue in eternity. In the end, it is simple: if you actually look at the world around you as it is, and use your mental faculties to the best of your abilities, and stop all that self-denial, you will see that evolution, my friends, is a fact, not “just a theory.”

 

 

*I think it’s because Donald Trump reminds Creationists of someone: he enjoys blind obedience and confused followers, he speaks in vague sentences that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, he says everything with complete conviction even when he contradicts himself, he’s racist and bigoted, he’s into violence, he’s an older male figure with a strong personality… Yeah, seems quite a bit like that God dude.

 

Flip it over

Dear readers,

I promise my next post I’ll change it up and focus on pseudoscience or religion, or maybe a bit of both. But I saw something on social media today that reminded me how badly I’ve wanted to write this post, and how important I think it is.

With one simple exercise, you can find out whether something you’ve just heard/read/witnessed is sexist: flip it over.

To use my experience from earlier today as an example, I saw a post on social media that roughly* said this:

“Two Asian women in the 50s-60s are walking around Old Town in Stockholm, Sweden, wearing t-shirts that say ‘I ❤ Swedish Boys’. 😀 :)”

Did I think about this? Nope. Did I look at it twice before I scrolled by? Uh-uh. But a moment later, another person’s comment made me stop and stare.

“I was about to like on this, and then I thought: if this had said “I just saw two Swedish men in the 50s-60s walking around Bangkok wearing t-shirts that said ‘I ❤ Asian Girls’,” would I have liked on it? :)”

I kicked myself a bit: why didn’t I think of that? So I agreed, and the original poster responded saying that would have been entirely different, as one example would have been oppression, and the other was just two female tourists having a good time. But I disagree, wholeheartedly. If this behaviour is perceived as creepy and sexist when a man does it, why is it fine for a woman to do it?

It made me relate an anecdote that stuck in my brain: a few years back, Måns Zelmerlöv, who won the Eurovision Song Contest two years ago, but back then was but a Swedish Idol participant who’d ended up performing on cruise-ships, spoke in an article about how common it was for middle-aged women to come up to him on the cruises and squeeze his butt. He said how awkward and uncomfortable it was. Now, if we flipped it over here, we would immediately see how sexist and creepy this is. But when we excuse women for this behaviour, we do two things:

 

  1. We create a double standard. We say that while some behaviour is unacceptable from a man, it’s perfectly fine if a woman does it. Say, hitting someone else. Or grabbing their behind. Or criticising the looks of someone of the opposite sex. These are things that, when women do them, get shrugged off, but when men do them are horrendous and unbelievably sexist. These are double standards that would perhaps be expected in the outdated world where men were allowed to behave like d*cks and women weren’t. But if we’re actually attempting to create a world where men and women are treated equally, we should not allow one sex to get away with the behaviour that we don’t allow the other sex to get away with.
  2. We are derogatory toward women. We say that when women do something it’s cute, it’s funny, it’s not to be taken seriously. “They’re probably kidding. They don’t mean it. They’re harmless. It’s not as if they could do anything anyway.” We say that we don’t think women are capable of violence, of sexual dominance or abuse, or of inappropriate and insulting behaviour toward the opposite sex. We dismiss women. And I am a woman who never wants to be dismissed as “harmless” or “not to be taken seriously”. I get really angry when people disregard my opinions or actions because of my gender. So why do so many women seem to enjoy this form of positive discrimination when it comes to women behaving like d*icks?

 

A few years ago, my husband had his behind grabbed by a lady  who was chatting to him in the post-office queue. In England, the land of politeness. It’s not the first time he’s had his behind pinched by a woman, but he remembers it better than the others as it’s the most recent one. I happen to be lucky enough that no stranger has ever grabbed my ass, or touched me inappropriately at all. Not on the street, or in a bar, or a night-club, and certainly not in the post-office. But where my husband’s only action against this was to tell me about it years later, and tell facebook about it at the time, a woman in the same situation might have screamed, she could probably have called for security, she could at least have stepped away from the man, slapped him, even been defended by other men or women in the queue. What does a man do in this situation? It was only a woman. It’s not like a big strong man can’t defend himself. Of course, men aren’t allowed to hit women, but you know, it was harmless fun, come on, he should just let it go.

I would have been appalled, disgusted, outraged, if some man tried to grab my ass in the post-office queue, or anywhere else for that matter. But that’s the difference, that’s what we’re perpetuating.

I was reminded today of just how often we let these things pass us by, how often we don’t see what’s wrong before someone goes “There. Look. Right there.” The important thing to remember is: next time you read/hear/witness an event, whether it pertains to race or gender, hit the pause button and ask yourself

Would this be okay if I flipped it over?

 

 

 

*The original social media post and comments were in Swedish, and so this is a translation of my recollection of the post. It has the same content and wording, but in a different language, and not verbatim.

 

Why gender feminism is not about equality

I often tell people off for saying “oh, I hate feminists.” “Feminists really ruin feminism.” “I don’t call myself a feminist, I’m a humanist.” I am a feminist. I am definitely a feminist. I believe that all humans should have equal rights and opportunities. Therefore, I am a feminist.

But there is a reason for comments such a those above. There is a large group of feminists today who do not care about equality, but who only care about making things better for women. So much so that they feel giving men and women in the UK the same retirement age is unfair to women. Even though men have had a higher retirement age for as long as there has been retirement. There are now groups protesting in the name of equality to stop what is a change toward equality.

This may seem ridiculous, but it is so often the case. Allow me to demonstrate with an example that is, to me, a horrendous example of the disregard that gender feminists show toward men. The World Economic Forum is often quoted by serious papers and journalists as a reliable, statistical source. In 2014 a Swedish newspaper reported that it would be another 81 years till women in Sweden reached equality. Of course they gloriously misquoted the whole report, stating that it applied to Sweden when it in fact applied to the world. What study can reliably tell us that it will take 81 years for equality to be reached in a country, or the world? If we choose to ignore that great changes in civil rights movements occur at unpredictable times (see Martin Luther King Jr., or the legalising of same sex marriage in the U.S. and Ireland last year) we can pretend for a moment that such things are predictable events. This Swedish paper did just that, and quoted the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report, compiled and published by the WEF. That sounds really good and reliable, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s the World Economic Forum. So I went to have a look at the report.

Here’s a direct quote form the report: “While no single measure can capture the complete situation, the Global Gender Gap Index presented in this Report seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.” That sounds good. That might give us a bit of an overall picture of what things look like at the moment. And the WEF report talks a lot about progress in closing the gender gap, which is slow in some areas and faster in others, and about how “…governments must align their efforts with those of business and civil society to foster growth that includes both men and women. ” So both men and women. This sounds great to me. So many gender feminist approaches only focus on helping women. So this report should be pretty reliable then.

But then you get to this little clause, and I beg you to read it carefully.

Gender equality vs. women’s empowerment

The third distinguishing feature of the Global Gender Gap Index is that it ranks countries according to their proximity to gender equality rather than to women’s empowerment. Our aim is to focus on whether the gap between women and men in the chosen indicators has declined, rather than whether women are “winning” the “battle of the sexes”. Hence, the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men in particular indicators in some countries. Thus a country that has higher enrolment for girls rather than boys in secondary school will score equal to a country where boys’ and girls’ enrolment is the same.”

So just read that last part again for me.

Hence, the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men in particular indicators in some countries. Thus a country that has higher enrolment for girls rather than boys in secondary school will score equal to a country where boys’ and girls’ enrolment is the same.

So this report is saying that in cases where women are outperforming men, it will be counted as equal. As equal. So by the time this report indicates that equality has been reached, it either means that it’s equal, or that women are doing better than men.

So how is that actually about equality? How can cases where women are doing worse than men be counted as negative, but cases where men are doing worse than women be counted as equal? How are we going to reach equality if we ignore when the scales tip in the other direction?

In my workplace, there’s a minority of men. There are three toilets, two for women, and one for men. In the first toilet, for women, there are two cubicles, a sink, and a mirror. In the second toilet for women, there is a cubicle, a sink, and a mirror. In the one toilet for men, there is no cubicle, no mirror, but thankfully a sink. Did I mention the one toilet for men is also the only disabled toilet in the school, so has to be accessed by disabled people of both genders? Oh, and also, it has a sanitary bin in it, for disposal of women’s hygiene items? So in reality, it’s kind of also for women?

 

Did I also mention that it is actually called a “hygiene room,” which means that cleaning ladies store their hoovers in there, and have to access it at the beginning and end of the workday to fill their mop buckets and take their hoovers out/put them away? Do you have any idea how awkward it is when a male teacher has to ask permission to use the only toilet available to them, while the cleaning ladies are waiting outside, pretending they don’t need to fill their mop buckets? I do. I’m a cleaning lady, and I see this issue on an almost daily basis.

 

So it occurred to me early on that this was strange. Very strange. I thought for the longest time that that second female toilet was actually for both genders, but had a female sign on it. After all, it’s the only toilet close to the other end of the workplace, and so it made sense that men and women could both use it, so that neither gender had to walk from one end of the workplace to the other. I only discovered this was not the case when a male teacher sincerely apologised for using that toilet.

 

It baffled me. Why had they not complained? Why did everyone think it was all right for the men to have a toilet without a mirror, without a lid on the seat, without a cubicle so someone could enter to wash their hands or check their face, while someone else was using the actual WC? It hadn’t occurred to the men to complain. And it hadn’t occurred to the women that the men might have something to complain about. So I brought it up, and with some encouragement, the only male in a remotely administrative position wrote an email to his two female line managers, asking if we could perhaps turn that third toilet into a unisex toilet. This would be the only thing that made sense. Then both genders would have an alternate toilet to use if the other was being cleaned or occupied, and the men working in one half of the building wouldn’t have to walk so far to use the toilet. Since there’s a cubicle and a separate sink, there is no risk of walking in on anyone doing anything unfortunate.

After a week or so, the male employee received hedging replies from both female managers, saying how they didn’t quite know how one would go about turning that third toilet into a unisex toilet.

I know.

Change the sign on the door.

 

Had this been a workplace with a minority of female employees, and their toilet facility was this poor, it would have been a case of discrimination, brought up within months, if not weeks, of women beginning work there. But these men are afraid. They are worried that they will receive a negative response if they push too hard for their rights. And I am afraid. I am worried that I will be seen as a trouble-maker, a traitor, for standing up for men’s rights in my workplace, and pointing out discrimination where my managers do not see it.

 

And this is why it is so important that we ensure feminism is always about equal rights and opportunities for both genders. Because I don’t want to be afraid to stand up for men’s rights, and be attacked by women acting as if I’m some sort of apologist for men, who are all somehow rapists and misogynist a**holes; and even though there are many who aren’t, we’re not supposed to care about that, but focus on all the poor women who are being oppressed. I will not have a world where the scales start tipping in the opposite direction. Women have been treated atrociously in the past, and in many countries, they still are. It was right to fight for that, and it is right to fight for that now. But I will not have a world where men end up being the 50’s house-wives of today; afraid to ask for anything, afraid to point out situations where they are being treated unfairly, afraid to embrace their masculinity, no matter how they choose to express it. This is why I’m an equity feminist. I am a feminist. I hope you are too. A real feminist.

 

To Vaccinate? Yes!

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is, to many, the question. For several years a successively more well-educated Western world has become successively less educated when it comes to vaccines and their risks and benefits. This is a Western world which is happily governed by media, where phrases like “Big Pharma,” “corporate giants,” and “autism” are often enough to keep children far out of reach of anything vaccines.  I am such a child. Born in 1988, I have as of today still not had a single vaccine. Not one, ever. I will naturally immunise myself now as an adult, since I do not want to be responsible for spreading serious diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. And they are serious diseases. I quote from the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control):

Myth

It is a common misperception that measles is a harmless disease. Some people also believe that the healthcare system in developed countries has sufficient resources for good care when someone is infected with measles.

Correction of the myth

This misperception probably occurs due to the vaccination’s success: many people have never seen a person with measles infection and consider measles a relatively harmless disease. In fact, measles can be a very severe infection, which cannot be directly treated with antivirals.”

This is just one of many diseases we have the opportunity to immunise ourselves and our children against, which also helps our community and those children who are unable to vaccinate because they are allergic to some component of the vaccine. These allergies do in no way mean that vaccines are generally dangerous; humans can die from ingesting nuts or being stung by a bee, things which occur naturally and have in no way been modified by humans. It seems as if this anti-vaccination wave that has been spreading for years has several different sources. The greatest is perhaps our fear of the unknown. The many different components of a vaccine, and how it works, is complicated and therefore difficult to understand. If something is difficult to understand it also becomes scary to adults and children.  Instead of reading the long texts with medical terminology – or even the publications which have been specifically designed for parents – which explain why vaccines are vital, and are not a threat to your child, it’s easier to read the 30-word fear-mongering texts being shared on social media.

Beyond the difficulty in understanding and ignorance creating fear, media has created an almost insurmountable myth regarding serious side-effects that vaccines supposedly have. To this day I have not seen a single vaccination-negative study which didn’t turn out to be paid for by anti-vaccination groups, or unscientifically and unprofessionally carried out on a small group of subjects. There is no link between vaccinations and autism. None.
And yet there I was a year ago, about to move to England. “Mum, could you scan and email anything you’ve got on my health as a child? I want to be able to tell the doctors in England what I’ve had or not.” “Well, you’ve had chickenpox it says here, but you haven’t had rubella, I’d be glad if you could contract that before you try to get pregnant.” Thanks mum, that’s so sweet. I translate information about Rubella from folkhälsomyndigheten.se:  “if the disease is contracted within the first 14-16 weeks of pregnancy, there is a risk for so-called congenital rubella syndrome. During this early embryonic stage the cellular division is rapid, and if a rubella infection was to disturb the foundation of various organs the risks for stillbirth, spontaneous abortion or long-term means for the child are great.” But what if any of those unfounded studies were true; better to risk the death of your unborn grandchild, or severely impairing it for life, rather than immunising your child.

When it’s time for my husband and I, we are going to vaccinate. For our sake, for the child’s sake, for the sake of the world. If we all vaccinate against these diseases we have the power to eradicate them. If we all spread information we can eradicate ignorance and fear. If we all just read a little and decide that perhaps it isn’t that hard to understand, then perhaps we can step into the 21st century a little bit wiser, a little bit better equipped, and with safer, healthier children.

Everyday Sexism

Sexism, unlike chivalry¹, is not dead. Too often am I met by some astoundingly stupid statements and double standards; I overhear some of these things from friends and relatives, from colleagues at work, from complete strangers on social media, or while gaming on my PC. I know that when the word “sexism” is used many of us are sexist enough to assume that we’re only talking about men. And while men are sometimes sexist, women are very often sexist as well, and it more often goes unnoticed. In this post, I’ll share some sexist things I’ve overheard/experienced, and why I think they are problematic. I hope that you’ll respond with your experiences of everyday sexism in the comments below.

“Are you really going to have that second cinnamon-bun? You need to run more, you’re getting fat.” Female relative about male spouse.

Why is this a problem? Well, let’s do a little something I like to call “flip the coin”. This is an exercise in which we find out whether a statement/action is sexist by seeing if it would work if the sexes were switched. Can you imagine a man saying this to his female spouse in front of her family without immediate outrage and cries of “how can you live with a chauvinist pig like that?”? I don’t think so (I HOPE not, otherwise whoa, your family sucks). And yet…

“She puts on all this special gear as if she was going to the gym or something, and then gets on the treadmill at home for half an hour.” Male relative about female spouse.

Here, the man – who was not in great shape himself – was mocking his female spouse for her work-out habits. How is that constructive? Just like Phoebe in Friends should get to run as she pleases, people should never be mocked for attempting to lead a healthier life.

“I’m going to see some male strippers this weekend. My mother is coming with, though she said she wanted to call my father and see if he was OK with it first. I laughed; I just called my husband and said ‘I’m going to see some male strippers’. I don’t ask.” Female co-worker.

This one stunned me into silence. I’m just picturing a “flip-the-coin” scenario wherein a husband calls his wife to inform her that he’s going to see some female strippers and she doesn’t have a say about it. Wow. Double standards much?

“She’s started wearing skirts now. She never liked wearing skirts, she always used to wear trousers. She’s a bit of a tomboy like that.” Mother about teenage daughter.

Hello??? Since when is wearing trousers “being a tomboy”? And how dare you use derogatory terms like that about your own child? But wait, there’s more…

“He looks like such a nerd! Have you seen Hollyoaks? He looks just like the teenage nerd boy in that!” Other mother about her young son now needing glasses.

Again… Hello??? Why on earth would you a) still be old-fashioned enough to think that glasses are a sign of nerdiness, b) consider nerdiness (i.e. being very passionate about some intellectual pursuit) to be something negative, and c) keep perpetuating this idea that if a boy is smart it’s mockworthy, but if he shows athletic prowess it’s praiseworthy? Step into the 21st century, people.

“Do any of you guys have wives? Because then you know that logic isn’t always logical.” Man on online game.

This one makes me grit my teeth no end, and I’ve heard it twice just in the last few months. Firstly, this one makes me laugh because LOGIC is ALWAYS LOGICAL! So congrats on that little fallacy, you idiot. Secondly, I know plenty of rational women. I WILL give you that I know a lot more irrational women than I know irrational men, but I also know a lot more men who’d be likely to cheat on their other halves if they were given the opportunity than I know women who would. Does that mean I’m going to perpetuate a negative myth by running around and shouting about how “All men are cheating bastards!”? Of course not! (Btw., I get really angry when I hear that one, most often said by women). Because these negative over-generalisations only contribute to the sexist problems we face right now.

“Women are better at multitasking, and men can’t do interior decorating.” Teenage girl.

Firstly it’s a myth that women are better at multitasking. Go look it up. It’s a myth that I myself believed in until I recently saw it debunked by the Factual Feminist (Christina Hoff Sommers), who by the way has a really good youtube channel you should go check out. Also, saying how men can’t do interior decorating a) presumes that men have no style or taste, and b) that all women do. How ridiculously sexist is that? I am not very good when it comes to interior decorating, and I’m sure I know a lot of men who would do a better job than me.

“Do you know where so-and-so is? I need to tell his skinny ass off for leaving his room in such a state!” Female employer about male employee.

Eherm, *cough flip-the-coin cough*… Can you IMAGINE a male employer making similarly insulting remarks about their female employee’s physique? It was remarked in the same work-place by another male employee that his female boss talks differently to him as he is a man, using a more direct, insulting, and less polite manner. If we want men to be more sensitive, empathetic and caring, women are going to have to start treating them with the same sensitivity and empathy that they treat other women.

Holding door every single time. Even when I was holding it, they had to take the handle and hold it for me. Older man in my university study-group.

See I usually like it when people hold doors for me, and I like holding doors for people. I tend to think that whoever gets to the door first should hold it for the people behind them. But when I get to the door first, and a man refuses to walk through it, but steps behind me to hold it for me? It’s more of an inconvenience, as I then have to let go the door awkwardly and then say “thanks” even though I was very happy to hold the door for them. Once again, it’s the 21st century. Women can hold doors, men can hold doors. Let’s all hold doors.

“Glitter beards: yes or no?” Post by Bored Panda shared on Facebook.

On an almost daily basis I see new hairstyles for women being raved about. I see talk about nail-trends and make-up trends, and for the most part I silently think to myself “huh, that looks a bit stupid” or “who would have the time/money to maintain that?” Firstly, I think that all the beauty-trends being posted for women all the time are sexist because they say that a) women have to care about what they look like to be considered feminine and b) if men care about what they look like they are not being masculine. But when I saw the Bored Panda post, and the subsequent comments from women saying how they thought men should/shouldn’t have glitter-beards, I was reminded by how very often I hear “Men shouldn’t get to have a say in what women should look like, they don’t own us, we dress however we want, it’s so sexist and misogynistic whenever a man says he likes a woman in a skirt” etc. Why is it so OK for women to constantly remark on how men dress, cut their hair, work out or not and so forth? Double standards.

I could probably think of a few hundred more, but this post has run on for long enough. Please comment with your everyday sexist statements/experiences, and why we need to highlight the hidden sexism in our lives if we want to make it GO AWAY.

 

¹P.S. Personally, I don’t think chivalry is dead. I know plenty of men and women who are polite and considerate, hold doors, carry things, exchange niceties, and generally do their best not to be a d!ck.

 

‘Tis the Season Not to Be a D!ck

Dear Readers,

 

I have long been enamoured with  Wheaton’s Law: Don’t be a d!ck¹. In its eloquent simplicity it sums up something I want to say to so many people so often, but refrain from it, since I myself don’t want to be a d!ck. It strikes me how very often people choose to be d!cks, rather than be nice and polite to one another. Being nice mostly takes less effort (remember that thing about how many more muscles you have to use to frown, as opposed to how many you use when you smile? Honestly takes less effort), and comes with the added bonus of most people being nice to you in return. In this never-ending circle of niceness, people become more productive and healthy, as they spend fewer of their waking hours fuming over what complete d!cks other people are being.

Before I launch into my tirade on how not to be a d!ck, I perhaps need to clarify what I mean by being a d!ck. I am not referring to the water-fowl, nor the actual male genitalia. If you’re a duck you can’t really stop being a duck, nor should you, and there is no way in which you could literally be a penis and be reading this. (As for ducks, if you’re reading this, wow, I had no idea ducks could read. Sorry about my ignorant human presumptions. Please write me a comment, I’d love to be the first person to ever receive a comment from a duck.)

No, when I say d!ck I am referring to a person who is unnecessarily rude, inconsiderate, nasty, childish, selfish etc. It’s those people we see around us every day. We’ve probably been one at some point. You might be being one right now. But don’t be. Nobody likes a d!ck. If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time doing your best to avoid being a d!ck. So what now follows is advice on how not to be a d!ck in various situations.

 

At Home

If you happen to be living with other people, try to be considerate of them. If you create a mess, clean it up. If they’re attempting to sleep, don’t make so much noise. If you’re a child, realise that your parents are also human beings with feelings and potential for exhaustion. Try to be tidy and help out around the house, and don’t talk to them in a way you would feel would be rude if you were talking to a friend’s parents. If you’re a parent, don’t yell so much at your children, it really isn’t productive.

If you have people over, try to at least make them something to drink and clear a space for them to sit down. If you have room-mates, don’t take their food or bathroom products without asking. If you went to have a shower and all your shampoo was gone, wouldn’t that annoy you? Or if you were starving and just wanted to grab a quick snack when you get home after a 12-hour workday, but someone ate the last of your bread? If you have neighbours, don’t force yourself upon them unless they explicitly express a wish to be forced themselves upon, and once again, try to be tidy and keep the noise down.

 

On the Street

Don’t catcall. Some people may simply feel appreciated, but most people will feel a bit annoyed, or even creeped out. If you’re in a car, try to remember that there are people getting places by foot or on bikes. Don’t block sidewalks or driveways when you’re parking somewhere. Don’t honk your horn, you’re really not supposed to unless it’s imperative that you get someone’s attention to avoid an accident. Don’t play really loud music with your windows down, someone in a house you’re passing may be trying to work from home or just got their tiny child to – finally – go to sleep. If you’re a pedestrian, try to remember that there are people trying to get places in cars or on bikes. Will it really save you that much time to cross the street and stop that long line of cars, or could you wait a few more seconds for them to pass before you cross?

If you’re walking a dog, do pick up after them. If you have the time, health and money to own a dog and take it for a walk, you can also afford those little white bags, and the few seconds it takes to bend down, pick the dog-poo up, and dispose of it in any of the numerous red bins that they have along the pavement (in at least England and Sweden) for that express purpose. If you have litter, put it in your pockets until you reach the next litter-bin, then dispose of it in the bin, not on the pavement or someone’s back-yard. If you’re on a bike, try to remember that people are also trying to get places on foot or in a car. Use that bell when you’re passing someone on the pavement. When the law says to get off your bike at a crossing if you wish to cross as a pedestrian, get off the bike.

 

In the Grocery-store

When you’re shopping, there will most likely be several other people attempting to shop around you. You may be in a hurry (which doesn’t mean the store is any more yours than anyone else’s, and it also doesn’t mean you can talk to the staff as if they’re stupid or hearing-impaired). You may not be in a hurry (which doesn’t mean you can hold other people up who are in a hurry. If you have a lot of items, you might even ask people with few items to get ahead of you in the queue at the check-out.) It means that you may need to get to items that other people need to get to. Try to not put your full trolley in front of any popular items, or if you do, watch for people attempting to get to the shelf where you’re stood and move a little so they don’t have to bend like Hermes Conrad doing the limbo in order to get around you.

When walking down the aisle, try to keep to one side with your trolley. There may be a stressed person who needs something down the other end, but they’re being held up by you ambling down the middle, wondering which of the 50 different flavours of ice-cream you’re walking by you’d most like to get, if you were actually getting ice-cream. When you get to the check-out, try to put your items on the conveyor in such a way that the cashier can scan them more easily. If you have coupons and club-cards, get them out in good time rather than 5 minutes after all your items have been scanned and you’re still looking for them in your pockets or handbag. When you’ve put the groceries away in the car, put the trolley away. Do not leave it in the space next to your car. That space is for another person who also needs to shop for groceries.

 

When Visiting/Staying at a Friend’s/Relative’s Home

Start off with “do unto others.” If there’s something you wouldn’t like people to do in your home (wear shoes on carpet, leave the lid up on the toilet, put wet glasses on tables etc.) just don’t do it in other people’s homes. Try to ask whether you can take something/use something, or offer to help with something. Some people will actually mean it when they say “mi casa es su casa” but for the most part we just want guests to stay in certain well-cleaned, well-lit areas as we make sure they’re comfortable. If you’re staying the night, don’t leave a mess for your hosts to clean up the next day. They’ve just expended a bunch of effort on feeding you, being polite, entertaining, and adjusting to having someone else in their home – which is usually the only place they can be themselves – for a period of time. Do they really need to remove your dirty sheets from that bed, or clean your hair out of the shower-drain, or pick up the 10 odd plates and glasses scattered around the room you slept in? Once again, you’re staying in someone else’s home, so try to be tidy and watch your noise-levels.

 

At Work

If there is a common space here – a staff room of some form – it is everyone’s job to keep it clean. If you leave cups and dishes on the side they do not magically clean themselves, someone else has to do it. If there’s a shared microwave at work, cover your food, or that same someone else is going to have to scrape gunky, disgusting, semi-dried food off the inside of that microwave. Don’t talk about colleagues while you’re at work, unless you intend to say something nice. No-one needs work-place drama in their lives. The place where you spend so much of your day is generally stressful enough without extra backstabbing and gossip. If you go to get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, offer to bring some to the person you’re talking to/working next to. Don’t play music in such a way that other people can’t avoid hearing it. You may love that music, but they may not, and might even have a hard time concentrating on their tasks while music is playing. If you have employees, don’t yell at them, or talk to them in a manner you would feel was rude if you were talking to a superior or a friend. If you have a manager or employer, don’t talk about them as if they’re some sort of Vogon, or make fun of them behind their back.

 

In General

Be considerate. Try to notice what people around you are doing and see if they need help; try to notice how they’re feeling and see if they want to talk about it, or be left alone; try to listen to what they’re saying and not just think of what you want to say next. If you’re sick, try to stay home. If you can’t stay home, wash your hands often, don’t stand too close to other people, and don’t sneeze without covering your mouth with a tissue or similar item. If you tell someone you’re going to be somewhere by a certain time, be there by that time. If you have to be late, apologise properly so they understand you don’t think they’re unimportant. Wait for people. Stop for people. Get out of other people’s way. Hold doors. Smile. Smile at people. ‘Tis the season not to be a d!ck. So don’t be one.

 

 

 

¹ The word consistently spelled as “d!ck” in this text is meant to be spelled with an “i”, but in the curious and misplaced interest of propriety the author has chosen to replace this character with a suitably similar symbol. Also, please comment below with further suggestions on how not to be a d!ck.

New Year, New Ways

So it’s been a little over two years since I last wrote. Since then I’ve gotten a BA in English and moved from Sweden to England. The only thing familiar about the place I’m now writing, as compared to the place I used to write my blog, is my trusty old laptop Collin. He’s a massive HP “Dragon” from 2008, and he’s now lived with me in 3 countries, and throughout the life-time of this blog. He’s seen me write about random things, attempt to find some sort of topic, and eventually quit writing for two years. He’s used to me changing things around by now. He doesn’t care. He’s got his quirks, and I’ve got mine. He doesn’t care about the new things in my life, as long as he gets to develop wholly new and interesting issues that I have to work my way around if I want to use him. What do I want? He’s getting on a bit, after all.

The newest thing in my life is Twitter. My husband has been quite a bit more active on Twitter for quite a bit longer than me, but I have this tendency to obsess about something when I’ve just found out about it, only to completely neglect it and forget about it a few months later. (This does not apply to my husband, or salt-liquorice). The problem with Twitter, and the wonderful thing about it, is how very little you get to say in response to people. I find myself constantly itching to say enough, to say what I really want to say, to explain, but there is just no way, and I’m not going to write 6 tweets in succession, I’m just not!  So instead I thought; let’s breathe some life into the old blog, and then I can just link people to what I want to say.

Another thing my husband has introduced me to is speaking my mind when I disagree with people. I used to be that one person in the room who’d just stay silent and hope no-one looked my way if I didn’t completely agree with what was being said. I hate confrontation. I have stressful dreams where people refuse to talk to me because we have fallen out. I have stressful waking moments when people refuse to talk to me because we have fallen out. When two people I love are fighting I want to throw myself on top of pointy things. But my husband can also tell just how much it’s killing me to hold those opinions and thoughts in. And over time, this has cultivated a tiny warrior in me, about as scary as a chihuahua with a limp, but just as ferocious. She comes out when people are sexist. When people are racist. When people are trying to be religious at me. When people explain how this pseudo-scientific cr*p they believe in actually works. When people are being hypocritical, and using religion, feminism, or anti-racism as an excuse for being sexist and racist themselves. She barks and hops about on her three legs until I just have to say something, in the politest way possible, but still something.

So thanks to my husband, and Twitter, I now finally have a topic (or three). Collin, sorry if I don’t stick to these in the future. Not that you care.

 

Feminism

To me, feminism is a very exciting minefield. I get outraged by chauvinist a**holes, that according to me create exactly the kind of radical, regressive feminism there is so much of on social media forums nowadays. And in turn, these radical, regressive feminists create more chauvinist a**holes. Somewhere in the middle we have people like David Rubin and Christina Hoff Sommers, who just want everybody to be treated equally, and to have a good time while we’re at it. Problem is, when you hold that middle-ground, you end up being fired at from both sides. So I’ll be fired at from both sides. I’m an equity feminist: it means I believe that all people, men, women, transgender, anything else that I can’t think of, should be treated equally. It means I think we’re all different, and we should celebrate those differences rather than try to erase them. It means that I think radical, regressive feminists are feminism’s own worst enemy. It means that I will write about what I do, and what I think, in the struggle for equality.

 

Religion

It was only a few years ago that I gave up that last shred of superstition, the Chinese Horoscope, and became what I generally label as “atheist.” Thanks to a well-put question from my (then-to-be)husband: “Why do you believe in the Eastern Horoscope, when you think the Western Horoscope is ridiculous?”, and later watching Derren Brown’s “Trick of the Mind” in which he demonstrates how generalised horoscopes really are, I finally let that go. (If you still believe in horoscopes or tarot-cards or things like that, here’s the first half of that demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDlkl78Yf-8). I still tell myself off when I catch myself going “So what would that make them, a Tiger…” but I am getting better at catching myself out whenever I’m about to submit to a superstitious belief again. I think religion is never a good thing. Ever. I think anything that can cause people to kill other people, or specifically, parents to let their own children die because they believe in “the power of prayer” is an awful, destructive thing. Which leads me to my third topic.

 

Pseudoscience

I grew up with parents who subscribe to various pseudo-scientific, alternative, “medical” theories. I’ve been subjected to acupuncture, kinesiology, homeopathy, chiropractors, something weird to do with brain-scans and past lives, I was never vaccinated against anything, I’ve had to eat müsli with tea made from bark, take 10 pills a day, have a gluten-free diet… The list goes on and on. I think what still weirds me out the most is how my parents took me to a homeopathic clinic when I had double-sided pneumonia at 9, and then took me back home and put wraps full of yoghurt on my chest for a month. Instead of antibiotics, which would actually have done something. I remember watching the very thin, frail version of myself in the mirror, and being afraid I would die. I don’t understand why anyone would make the 9-year-old daughter suffer through a month of coughing and fevers and fear when there are alternatives. But to people who believe in pseudoscience, they were doing the right thing. Conventional medicine is evil. Well, here are two – of the many – things I’d like to say to you: it wouldn’t be called “alternative” medicine if it worked, it would be called medicine. Also, read Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science.” Before you say how he’s being paid off by the evil, mythological “Big Pharma”, he has also written “Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients,” so brrrrlllffft.

Radical, regressive feminism, religion, and pseudoscience are things I’m constantly bombarded with on my Facebook feed. I’m also confronted with a lot of narrow-mindedness in the opposite direction, at work, or at various social gatherings. But I want to finally talk about it, and talk about the issues I see, and what happens when I dare to confront them. Join me for the ride in my next blog-post.

Generational Shame

It’s a sad moment, when you realise just what your generation will leave behind for the after-world to say “aaaahhhh” over. What kind of “aaahhh” this is is completely dependant on what the people born in your decade can all nod and smile about, with this deeper understanding, this secret handshake, that anyone born after you will never quite be able to get to the same level. My husband can say “I love the Star Wars movies” without having to explain which ‘generation’ of Star Wars he was referring to. My oldest brother played the original Super Mario games before it became hipster-chique to play them. And I… I bonded over the Little Mermaid with a girl my age in Shakespeare class today.

This is very sad. I am simply wondering if the people growing up during the 90s have something to be proud of? What did we have that has become… cool? Hip? Trendy, because the geek-chique of today approve of it? I missed the wave of Barbie-Dolls, Spice Girls and Take That which swept over a world of pink and glitter, in a strange 90s which idealised the extremely girly or the extremely grungy. Mostly, people my age and I have little to bond over, but that it has to be Disney Movies is no consolation. I DID manage to snag a small corner of the ‘white but still cool and not completely bonkers Michael Jackson’ era, but everyone agrees that Thriller and Bad were his hay-days. I could not have told you who Nirvana were before the later part of the first decade of this millennium… but I actually still can’t. Though I have understood it has something to do with Kurt Cobain (oh look, I spelled that right before I looked it up!) and him shooting himself even though he swore he didn’t have a gun in the song. I also caught up with the other guys way after it was cool to listen to them: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Cake, Pearl Jam, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day… I started listening to them when it was cool to listen to them AGAIN. (I’m referring to the bulging mass of Indie-kids of today, who think that a band is only worth listening to if they played alternative rock in the 90s, or even better, you don’t know who they are, have never heard of them, and “don’t get their sound” when you’re made to listen to them.)

One good reason I missed out on plenty of 90s music is because when Silence of the Lambs came out I was only 3, and around the same age with the other “people will never forget about them and keep quoting them to death” movies: Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Matrix (first one) etc. I did get in on most of the Disney Action: The Lion King was enormous, as was Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. I did miss out on Toy Story. I wonder why my parents decided that one in particular wasn’t anything for us. Would it make us want toys? Are the cowboy and the astronaut too stereotypical to be good heroes for hippie-kids? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Because I never saw Pocahontas either.

Anyway, I just hope that something from my time will become cool again. Not Indie-kid cool, or hipster cool, and definitely not american football-player cool. No. I hope something from the 90s will be cool to the new ruling class: the geeks and nerds of the world. In case no-one else noticed, being geeky and nerdy has magically become the new sexy (more on that in some later blog-post). I just hope that when my children grow up, I can tell them better things than “when I lived in Canada, Justin Bieber became famous” or “Miley Cirus actually went from bad to fucking crazily nutty seriously what are you doing? Seriously” or “Well, at least Britney Spears isn’t popular anymore…”. We have one hero from the 90s, though I don’t think he is to the geeks: a man who managed to leave a sad boy-band and instead of failing completely, turned out some pretty good music, because he actually had a voice, and a personality. Yes, I think we all know that we’re talking about Robbie here. So there was always something good that the 90s left behind (though it took till the new millennium for that transformation to finish).

If you would like to point out something positive the 90s gave us which is cool/useful/nice/edible/acceptable to geeks, please chime in, and make me feel a bit better about being… a 90s kid.

I leave you with this sad and hopeful tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D35vfQ7eZg