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clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

i've never been a fan of "political correctness". in fact, when i was more actively involved in social causes, i used to get a bit of a cheap thrill by baiting the sort of people who insisted that all evils in the world could be eliminated if we simply imposed restrictions on acceptable language and shamed anyone who didn't share our views.

i worked in an atmosphere that had a lot of that element to it and was routinely put down, sadly by other women, as a "bad feminist" because of the fact that i wore dresses and make-up and didn't apologise for it (feminist don't wear fishnets...), ignoring a lot of the more meaningful parts of my life and personality in favour of what they could see on the surface. so i know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a politically correct diatribe and i don't have a lot of patience for it.

that said, now that i'm out in the "real" world (as opposed to an overly academic, self-reflecting dream-world), i am starting to notice a lot of the things that got these people so riled up to begin with. i was speaking to a couple of co-workers today and both of them, one of them a pretty senior person, were going on at some length about how they only wanted to have men as bosses, not women. i was pretty clear that i thought it was stupid to make assumptions based on gender either way (i've had bad bosses of both sexes), which immediately gets me branded as some political correct language cop cracking down on them for expressing opinions (it's amazing how many people equate challenging an opinion with challenging their right to hold that opinion).

how did i end up on the wrong end of both sides of this debate? i don't care what anyone says, it is asinine in this day and age to talk about women and men as somehow homogeneous groups (whether you're judging them from the left or the right). although this is common sense to me, it's apparently heresy to most individuals, who are afraid to disturb the convenient little compartments into which they place everybody. (i will also add that i think this is especially an issue with gender. i don't believe that it would have been considered acceptable for a co-worker to say she didn't want to work for anyone who was black, for instance, although i'm sure there are people who do say such things.)

although this has been in my mind today, it's something i've noticed a lot and on an ongoing basis. on the one hand, i detest it when anyone cries out that they're a victim every time someone says something that hurts their feelings. on the other hand, i hear enough stupid statements about others based on broad stereotypes, mostly from people who should know better, that i also understand the urge to yell.

and here i am, arguing with both sides and wondering why people are so hung up on maintaining their preconceived notions, even in the face of evidence that those notions have lost whatever marginal usefulness they might have had. i believe it was shaw who said that common sense was the least common of all senses. it's a statement that unfortunately seems to gain currency over time.


Andrew Evans said…
This is a great blog! I suggest you read Daphne Patei's book "Heterophobia" She is a gender studies professer in the states who seams to have a similair perspective to you when it comes to "identity politics". I am a straight, white male who performs stand up comedy. Challenging opinions held by women on stage is death to someone like me. I am not allowed to have opinions about women, unless they are positive, or men are ultimately to blame. I do not go out of my way to make fun of women, but if I see a hypocrisy withing the feminist movement or something that just doesn't make sense to me, I would like to voice it. Keep challenging those opinions, the world needs you to do it!
Andrew Evans
flora_mundi said…
haven't ever been shy about the opinions, so please drop by any time...

i can't help but notice that a disproportionate number of us common sense types seem to come from or have lived in halifax... must be all the extra fluoride in the water down there.

as long as you're here, why not read more?


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …

making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rĂªve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…