Initially, the title was a spontaneous “for fuck’s sake”, changed only to avoid click-baiting.
Remember that sitcom, Married With Children, in the 90’s, when the mere concept of MRAs as a reaction to feminism was a funny exaggeration? If I recall correctly, there was an episode subjecting viewers to feminist poetry, in which a woman recited an ode to her ovaries. Today, such obsessions are not an eccentricity, but journalism and social activism.
This is the link to a surreal article describing how the vacuous “period-positivity movement” (yes, there is such a thing) reinforces the “myth” that menstruation pertains only to women. Apparently, this is oppressive and offensive to trans men (men with a functioning uterus), as well as non-binary people, aka special confused snowflakes with no real indication of even being serious.
For most people, maintaining their bodies is not something they spend hours a day thinking about; yes, everyone is aware of what bathrooms are for, but few come out of there talking about it. Recently, a group of feminists decided that whatever is not publicly discussed must be an oppressive tabu worth exposing, even if their tabu is a banal hygiene issue not worth anybody’s time or interest.
The article reads like a parody yet was apparently written in earnest. Some people really must have nothing better to do than dream up these potty analyses around bodily fluids, glorifying, if anything, their animal nature – the most basic aspect of the human condition.I wonder what will happen when they discover that their bodies walk upright, that they have two feet and two hands they can use for a great number of things aside from typing and scratching their back orifice (watch out for the discovery of that one as well, and the celebration of everything associated).
With no further ado, here are some quotes from one of the best pieces of unintended comedy to arise from that lot so far. Comedy is the only thing you can use this for, honestly.
As a society, it’s absolutely imperative that we work towards destigmatizing menstruation. …The period-positive movement is incredibly important.
Right. Imperative. Incredibly important. It should be among our main concerns to be able to talk about that in public without making anyone feel uncomfortable. We have run out of social and economical problems and now have to make them up.
The period-positive movement aims to do that through discussion and education…It usually aims to get people to see menstruation as normal, and even beautiful.
Not everything that is normal is beautiful. Scatology aside, there are many unpleasant, unsightly aspects to the human body. And generally, people do not consider soiling themselves to be beautiful in any circumstance.
Often, menstruation is equated with femininity and womanhood.
When we’re taught sex education and biology in school, we are told that menstruation is something that cis women – and only cis women – experience. Menstruation is portrayed as a “woman’s issue” in the most cissexist way possible.
I trust you will never hear the made-up word “cis” in a biology class, which by the way, does not refer to one’s anatomy but to one’s perception regarding their gender. Science and pseudo-science should not cross paths. Not even in the hall, by mistake. The fact that people who were born with functioning female genitalia are the only ones to experience it is just that – an undeniable fact.
Unfortunately, period-positive people often make the mistake of being cissexist too, especially when efforts to destigmatize periods often frame menstruating as “celebrating womanhood” and “embracing femininity.” This might sound inviting to the ordinary, menstruating, healthy cisgender woman, but it’s actually incredibly exclusionary.
How thoughtless of “cis” women to confiscate this joyous monthly celebration for themselves, wanting a monopoly on cramps and moodiness and all else, and wanting to deny others the privilege of celebrating with them. You make it sound like it’s actually a privilege.
The problem with equating menstruation with womanhood is that it conflates biology with gender, which marginalizes trans and non-binary people.
Marginalises, how exactly? Again, are we talking about a festival here? A right, a privilege, a party? What exactly are they excluded from that they would otherwise find beneficial or important? If they are excluded from the public recognition of what their sanitary bin contains, allow me to argue they’re not missing out on that much.
May I ask why a so-called trans man, still (inconveniently) the owner of a functioning uterus, would want to be included in aspects of the female biology, as opposed to – call me naive – hide them in order to pretend to be an actual man, to the best possible extent? Regarding non-binary people and their fucked up pronoun demands, they tend to be unreasonable and offended by any type of inclusion.
This idea also implies that trans women who don’t menstruate aren’t “real” women, which is really transmisogynistic. This means that it’s specifically oppressive towards trans women… It also negates the experiences of people who don’t menstruate for other reasons – for example, because they’ve had a hysterectomy.
Yes, I’m sure trans women would absolutely love to be able to do that, as it’s such a delightful experience. Just as I’m sure women who have had a hysterectomy actually miss that part of their lives. I’m sure they want public acknowledgement of the fact that they no longer bleed from their vaginas; they must think about it all the time.
Even as a cisgender woman, it bothers me because it feels so gender-essentialist: Reducing womanhood to biology is inherently misogynistic because we are so much more than our bodies.
Then why is it that feminists seem to focus so much on the female body and every last cell it produces, instead of expanding on more significant issues? On second thought, no one would want you lot to even try to comprehend, let alone offer solutions to complicated issues, if you’re still stuck at the potty level of understanding your own nature.
It’s imperative that our period-positivity includes trans and non-binary people. Trans and non-binary people are marginalized enough. They should not, in any way, be further marginalized by our activist movements….Trans and non-binary people should feel safe discussing any period-related issues openly….They shouldn’t have their identity invalidated by whether or not they menstruate.
I have a rhetorical question: isn’t it a bit presumptuous to say that if they are marginalised in general, they would benefit from/ be thankful for their inclusion into just any kind of crap, such as the glorification of bathroom stains? Plus, you are simply assuming they don’t feel safe discussing that and desperately need your activism. Regarding trans women, why are you assuming that? If their identity is often not invalidated by having a penis, will it be by lacking this wonderful ability?
If we need to speak about those who menstruate, instead of referring to “women and girls,” we can simply refer to “people” or “people who menstruate.”
She actually uses this as a personal identifier further into the article. Go on and put that on your CV as well, and make sure that on your next job interview you describe yourself as a “person who menstruates”.
There are numerous period-positive articles that imply (or straight-up say) that avoiding interacting with your menstrual blood is anti-feminist. There’s an assumption that people only ever dislike menstruating because they’re consciously ashamed of their periods.
First of all, what does that interaction consist of (I’m almost afraid to ask)? And why in the world should feminism invade people’s minds to the point of dictating how they clean themselves? Since when is wiping your ass a political act? What kind of uncanny cult is this? Wait – are you saying people have a duty, as a political statement, to like menstruating? Now I’ve heard everything.
But this idea ignores the experiences a great deal of people, and ends up perpetuating ableism….I want to be a part of the period-positive movement, but I don’t want to be shamed for hating my period sometimes… Many other people are in the same boat as me. They want to be a part of the movement, but they feel excluded by the pressure to be 100% cheery about menstruation all of the time.
So we’ve moved from squeamish hypocrites shaming women for discussing periods, to feminists shaming women – pardon me, *people who menstruate*- for hating them. As you put it, they have to choose between one type of shaming and another. There’s no getting around it altogether.
Let’s pause for a second and recap – here is someone describing how she aspires to be part, wholeheartedly, of a movement celebrating menstruation. The veneration of bathroom stains is an aspiration now, worthy of internal struggles in order to rise to the moral purity required. There is actual pressure to be cheery about it all the time. How exactly does that manifest? Who are these women accountable to for how they feel about their biological waste? Are they actually questioned by the leaders of the movement? Try to imagine that type of interrogation and shaming – if it actually is a thing.
Ending the stigma around menstruation shouldn’t involve shaming those who are upset or triggered by menstruating. We can – and should – destigmatize menstruation without pretending that periods are always fantastic for everybody.
Menstruation can be lovely and awesome for many people – and that’s wonderful! But we’re not truly being inclusive unless we acknowledge the pain and discomfort that many others feel around periods.
Always fantastic for everybody? Lovely and awesome? What were you smoking? And what planet is this again?
Discussing menstruation should include discussing all the parts of menstruation that are awful. This includes having frank, open discussions about health issues that affect menstruation….Once again, people with these issues shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed for not enjoying their periods….
OK, so enjoying your period is definitely mandated by this movement. Not only discussing it openly and removing the stigma, but actually enjoying it. These people are not joking. Regardless, how magnanimous of them, to give dispensation to those who suffer from physical ailments during this time. They are pardoned – for health reasons only -from the normal shaming of not paying tribute to the holy tampon with all their devotion.
The awesome Kiran Ghandi, who famously ran the London Marathon while free-bleeding earlier this year, did so to raise awareness of the fact that many low-income people can’t access menstrual products and to break the stigma around menstruating.
That must be why some people engage in free-peeing on the bus around here; they must be doing it to raise awareness about the lack of public toilets in the city. What an awesome thing to do. Unless you sit on it, of course.
But we need to be doing more. Way more.
On you go, Sisters of the Sanitary Bin. Spread your pad wings and take over the world.
As someone who menstruates, I love and need the period-positive movement…But there are plenty of people who the movement leaves out – and they need the movement, too!… If we’re aiming for real change and destigmatization, we need to make sure our period-positivity is as accessible and inclusive as possible. We need to think deeply about who our period-positivity is for, and if it’s not for everyone who menstruates, we need to change that immediately.
I think anyone with the ability to think deeply would not embark on such an adventure. And I think you’re way off line when claiming to speak for all those who are affected by this inconvenience and don’t feel the need to talk about it, assuming they need your movement to tell them how to wipe their behinds.
Reductionism is “the practice of simplifying a complex idea, issue, condition, or the like,especially to the point of minimizing, obscuring, or distorting it.” (Source)
This post is a bid to analyse a few of the reasons why people needlessly preserve their contempt for each other over long periods of time (even years or decades). It also seeks to explain why some develop this contempt in the first place.
Akin to ideas, people can end up being reduced (only in someone else’s perception) to the one aspect which has stood out the most about them, in a subjective manner.
A good example is “I hate/ dislike/ avoid this person because of something they said.” This basically reduces an individual to a few words uttered at one point in time (probably triggering to those who take offence).
A few useful questions when trying to reevaluate one’s attitude towards such antipathies:
• -How long ago was this? Is it possible for them to have changed their mind?
• -Were they intoxicated or going through a difficult time (not thinking clearly)?
• -Were they perhaps joking?
• -Were they saying it out of ignorance and might change their minds if exposed to more information?
• -Were they saying it due to a creed which influences their general view of the world?
• -Do they seem decent in general, aside from this one objectionable remark? How would I get on with this person if they hadn’t said this?
• -Is this something they only said once or is it definitely their opinion?
• -Is it really something I can never, ever get over?
Unfortunately, the very popular SJW trend seems to be based on reductionism, urging or coercing people through emotional blackmail to embrace limited views about others in order to side with the “virtuous”. Not only do they want those who disagree with them disapproved of and ostracised over an opinion; they want them bankrupted “in the name of diversity”.
To reiterate the fact that conflicting views are not the end of the world, there are a few more points to consider.
1. Peer pressure
People feel pressured today to issue an opinion regarding matters they are not familiar enough with. On social media, you just might be persecuting some poor fucker for a “like” button they clicked on or a few random words written in order to not seem uninformed, compared to their many peers, some of them equally ignorant yet claiming they are passionate about their chosen subject. Everyone seems to be involved in a campaign nowadays – or more – compared to a few years ago, when activism was reserved for those who could bother their asses with it, scorned by cynics, who were comfortable enough to just live their lives.
Everything is different now. One is made to feel guilty for not taking a stand, for not signing and sharing petitions, as if they were more than a handy database for authoritarian types (who are in power or might be) to use down the line, amounting to comprehensive lists of dissenters’ names. Whilst communist states had to use informants to compile such lists, people now sign their names and hand them over willingly.
To some it sounds better to class themselves as activists for so-and-so, especially when siding with trendy causes. Perhaps the do it as an investment – if something is achieved with all the noise, they can proudly say they were part of the movement. If not, they can move on to the next cause and hope for the best.
2. Exploitation by the media
Quoting people out of context is a technique of choice for those who simply want to agitate; random bite-size quotes in general, when adjoined, seem to paint a larger picture, which is not necessarily accurate.
How many of us have laughed at compilations of random people in the street being caught off guard with a question and recorded for the world to marvel at their level of stupidity? Whilst I admit some seemed a bit uninterested in history or current affairs, their failure is momentary and very limited. One knows nothing about them aside from the fact that they didn’t answer something correctly, were tricked into signing a false (ridiculous) petition etc. Is the consecration of a silly moment in order to demonstrate the general stupidity of a nation/ group really fair? To me it obviously isn’t.
Also, it might be conditioning us to reduce others to the smallest stupid things they might say. A memory fail, lack of paying attention, genuinely not knowing etc – these are not crimes. General ridicule is not warranted. One is not doing the world a service by ”exposing” the amount of knowledge or interest in important issues; instead, they’re likely to stigmatise the people they record and cause real trouble in their lives through this shaming.
Also, the media often peppers a biased report with a few opinions given by ordinary people in the street, carefully selected, of course. They think they can convince a whole country to adopt a “majority opinion” based on the words of four or five people and a poll which may or may not be true (no one can ever verify the accuracy of polls; trusting them is basically blind faith). There must be some well-studied technique behind the success of such reports, some boxes it ticks in people’s minds in order to persuade them.
3. Discrimination and labels
Prejudice breeds prejudice, unless someone puts an end to this chain by simply saying they’re willing to accept a different view.
All types of genuine discrimination are based on reducing a category of people to sketchy stereotypes, ignoring the individuality of everyone comprising it; the infinity of possibilities within each person.
The same applies to self-identified but not homogeneous categories based on political preference, religion, ideology in general, and by extrapolation, to any number of people with a common trait. Assumptions are automatically made about them, according to random experiences one has had with a few of them, even very few.
Whatever a person adheres to in life, they are more than a label and should be treated as such. However, in our days of interacting quickly with as many people as possible, labels have become the way we relate to each other, as it’s difficult to get to know everyone we communicate with.
To conclude, it’s useful noting that people are more than:
• -Something they once did (extreme deeds such cold-blooded murder excluded);
• -Something they once said (whatever it was);
• -Their degree or lack thereof;
• -What they do for a living;
• -The amount of information they possess (which can always change);
• -How they see the world at the moment or how they have in the past;
• -Any crisis they went through or are going through (breakdowns, addictions, suicide attempts, jail time etc.);
• -Any successes or failures they’ve had;
• -Their social circle, past or present; how popular they are;
• -Their health, physical and mental, past or present;
• -Their financial situation and assets;
Etc. The list is a very long one, I’m sure.
(No, this has nothing to do with recovery forums, although they have hijacked the powerful symbol of the phoenix and turned it into a cliche.)
Most of all, this post is an attempt to reach out to those who embrace (like I once did) the fight to preserve normality as it was understood in past decades in western societies – revolving mostly around the concept of meritocracy, a free market, family values (including libertarian parenting), local traditions, prosperity and freedom (including the freedom to express one’s religion).
In the face of cultural Marxism, it’s easy for people who oppose it to be drawn towards conservative causes and groups; religion greatly strengthens this stance as well, defying militant secularism.
If previous years allowed a degree of doubt regarding the direction the west was headed in, (some considering the information regarding social engineering a conspiracy theory), now it’s plain to see that the moral foundation of past generations is energetically being cremated so a new one can be put in its place.
Traditionalism has lost the fight; it was lost before we were even born, as the agenda predates us. The question is if we really have to mentally go down with this ship, or if the ship itself is an illusion, a Fata Morgana.
Majority versus counterculture
Normality basically encompasses a set of conditions, principles, laws and values a generation is used to; by the time that generation is gone, things are radically different already – hence it is fluid and will continue to change throughout time. The majority embracing it at one point in time is seen as rigid, whilst the counterculture is meant to be innovative and progressive.
When clinging to this notion, we fail to see that traditionalist ideology has already been replaced with a completely different one and thus ceases to be normality; on the contrary, it is now the subversive way of the opposition. The word itself therefore becomes inadequate and irrelevant.
Of course, many of us associate it with what is logical and what has been proven to work best so far. An example is the nuclear family; monogamy makes sense from a biological point of view, as each individual benefits from knowing their lineage. A great warning against procreating randomly consists of the few -but very disturbing – cases of involuntary incest, when siblings who were unaware of being related met in adulthood to form couples and even had children of their own. Reality beats fiction sometimes.
Logic aside, conservatives are now the opposition – which is a paradox in itself.
Normality and law
In past centuries, states didn’t have to simulate democracy and could pass any wacky idea into law, such as taxing people for the sunlight entering their homes according to the number of windows they had (London, 1696). Anything went.
Nowadays they tend to be more subtle about it and familiarise people with the issues they ultimately impose, in order to prevent unrest. Before being formalised, culture is planned and diffused through education, through the media, through art and any influential aspect in a community. It does not belong to the masses; it never has.
Expecting to hold on to certain legal provisions is like expecting the powers that be to actually act in the best interest of the people they are meant to represent. That probably hasn’t happened since tribal communities. Worshiping man-made law (whether it’s something simple or a country’s own constitution) is a waste of energy – laws come and go; there’s nothing carved in stone or sacred about them. It also does not help to imagine one can use them in a corrupt system, before those who have never cared about them and never will.
The best generation
When people stand for this notion today, they usually rely on the image they had of the world while growing up, their familiarity and their emotional attachment to that image, providing a feeling of safety, which is human nature I suppose.
However, if we look at the whole picture history paints, can we really be so sure our generation has reached the ideal concept of living, surpassing all previous ones and any that may come in the future? It’s like stopping the clock and wanting to hold it still, with a bit of entitlement or arrogance. Obviously, I’m not arguing the currently proposed model (some type of socialism) is appealing in the slightest; however; I have to wonder if it’s wise to assume we have it all figured out. After all, every age has its nostalgic aspects, whilst others hardly ever evoke that feeling (drafts, workhouses, pandemics).
Life is relatively short. Whereas to us what we’re familiar with and want to maintain within our lifetime is a major issue, when compared to the endless chain of changes in history, this temporary concurrence of circumstances that we call OUR NORMALITY is a drop in the ocean.
What doesn’t change
Seeing we have no control over where our world is heading, it makes sense to try to establish what is within our grasp, and that is our own nature.
It’s fascinating to think that although living conditions and mentalities were so different hundreds or thousands of years ago, human nature has largely remained the same, psychologically and spiritually, as attested by historical records. Our normality doesn’t have to depend on others; it can consist simply of the values we will never change, regardless of how regimes and paradigms evolve around us.
The search for those timeless elements within us, for the continuity and regeneration, away from the mental constraints of any artificially imposed culture, is what makes life worth living (or so I think anyway). This search is individual, not collective, and does not rely on maintaining the status quo.
In conclusion, it’s obviously worth getting worked up about matters which affect us or will affect us down the line, and try to stop them if possible. But that doesn’t mean emotionally suffering when seeing another bit of our old reality chipped away. The same mechanisms which have operated before us will keep operating throughout our lives and after we die. It’s just a matter of remaining human in the process.
For many, picking sides in this debate needs no hesitation, particularly when finding factual arguments against the concept of body positivity (and there are quite a few, where health is concerned). When looking deeper into the issue however, matters are complicated, as proponents have different attitudes and aspirations, from benign to utterly toxic.
Although generally seen as reality distortion, this movement has become a refuge for those who seek acknowledgement for the very real suffering they have been put through pointlessly, sometimes for decades.
Their argument is in fact very logical – namely that people have no claims of entitlement to how others look, except for sexual situations, which involve (on average), for each person, one to a few individuals on this entire planet. Hence there is no reason to analyse every person we come across in terms of sexual desirability, since no sexual encounter is possible or likely. Many disagree, saying the analysis is a built-in mechanism; however, the point of voicing one’s conclusions abut the desirability of people they will never actually sleep with is lost to me. Especially voicing it to the world and to those they target.
There should be boundaries established by decency, but unfortunately, we live in times when boundaries are increasingly unclear. The world is a fiercely competitive place; since any aspect can be used as a means to stand out – including the size and shape of one’s genitalia – no part of a human being, physical or not, is excluded from appraisal.
It is true that society at large does not understand the difference between body shaming and other types of bullying. By instilling the idea that one is reprehensible to look at/ be in the presence of, the person is made to feel they will never be accepted by others in any situation, causing them to become very isolated and depressed. Whereas other defects, perceived or real, can be hidden with a bit of effort, there is no way to hide one’s size in a real life situation, hence a person feels targeted whenever they step outside their home, sometimes inside it as well. Also, this is not an issue one can fix from one day to the next, so there is no immediate relief in sight from the shame of being bullied; in fact there is no guarantee the bullying will ever stop.
Bullying also demonstrates the cruelty of the human jungle, as one’s chances in the world are reduced to the quick”eye test”, the failure of which obliterates any true qualities one might have. You can be intelligent, caring, well read, emotionally available 24/7 and have so much to give, yet if you don’t pass the one second ”eye test”, no one will even attempt to know you better. Whilst this type of judgement is rooted, especially for men, in the way their brains are wired and is a fact of life, it also seems very unfair.
The question I believe every bullied individual asks himself/ herself is why. Why can’t they peacefully go about their daily business, perform their role in society, have goals and dreams and not bother anyone, receiving the same respect from others. It seems reasonable enough, right? I will detail the answer to this question below, when describing the mentality of the bully, as I perceive it, and the reasons why campaigns such as ”fat acceptance” will never work.
2. Empathetic progressives in general
Many of them are sincerely well-meaning, while their intentions are merely to reduce the discord with regards to physical appearance (and not to enforce an ideology). Supporters of this campaign include therapists who have heard the stories of so many bullied patients they are aware of the harm done by everyday remarks to those who already feel down.
3. Ostracised people turned toxic
Moving on from harmless individuals who simply want to live without being insulted by strangers, one notices those who start making moral judgements regarding the weight-related decisions of others. Just browsing the web I came across opinions criticising those who make a point of losing weight or helping their children do so.
You can see toxicity creep in as soon as envy of others’ physical condition reels its ugly head, along with disapproval of those who want to improve theirs. This is obvious in cases involving feminists protesting the use of models in ads and campaigns of all sorts. While they see themselves as brave and revolutionary, to the rest of the world it spreads a potent fragrance of sour grapes. Quite clearly the fact that other women are attractive in the commonly accepted (biologically driven) sense bothers them; it interferes with their body positivity.
This shows that a certain category of people are only peaceful as long as they remain ”the underdog”. The moment they secure some influence on society, they start a battle with anyone who disagrees, going from ”I want a kind world where people live and let live” to ”if everyone thought the way I do the world would be a better place”.
Whereas benign supporters of the campaign just want the same respect as all other human beings, these types deem themselves morally superior and are passive-aggressive during debates, identifying with their appearance to the point of turning its promotion into a crusade. For this purpose they will dump ingenuity, adopting manipulation and fact distortion, especially in terms of health issues, in order to make a point.
Others write they are triggered when their peers lose weight and are commanded for it. The moment one resents the fact that a peer is succeeding towards a goal and becoming healthier, turning the focus inward, something is amiss – it shows this person perceives reality as revolving around them and their feelings, disregarding everyone else. Unfortunately, this is quite common nowadays, especially for young people.
4. Social Justice Warriors (mainly feminists)
Bullies are all about dictating, shaming and cornering, until complete acquiescence is is achieved. This lot, although subjected to bullying due to their weight, have become bullies in their own right.
To start with, ardent promoters of this movement demand to be considered attractive by a large number of people, as if anyone could mentally program their attraction to others. Their intention is not to be left alone, but rather to draw attention and praise, often by being lewd and expecting applause. I do not understand why presumed promoters of dignity would pose nude, if their purpose was to stop the objectification of women’s bodies.
In truth, they have no problem with objectification, but with the fact that other women’s bodies are being admired whilst theirs are not.
Those who advocate real dignity have a worthy cause. After all, every woman, regardless of her looks, is someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, someone’s mother, being turned by our culture into cheap masturbation material found in public toilets beside the bog roll; a consumption good for all to use. And the same goes for men; their objectification and imposition of the metrosexual image is a very sad phenomenon.
One of the biggest clues you’re dealing with a toxic attitude from a ”social justice” campaigner is their hatred of dissenters within the category they are advocating for. Although they claim to respect and support all members of said category, the minute someone disagrees with their approach they become a pariah, the bond of brotherhood/ sisterhood/ common experience suddenly ending. There is nothing they hate more than the odd voice not singing in tune and disrupting the choir.
Here is a relevant example from someone who participated in such a community. The militant, cult-like behaviours sound very familiar:
It’s strange how so many advocacy groups for oppressed people end up behaving like Nazis, wanting to control and censor others until no view but theirs is heard in their midst. They call for a collective identity and a collective mind, as scary as that sounds.
Regardless, when pondering the arguments on the other side of the debate, a few misconceptions come up quite often; here’s my attempt to address a few of them, hopefully in a funny enough way.
There is a terrible idea out there, reinforced by popular culture, that all you have to do to be happy in a social environment is mould yourself to the exact specifications of the insensitive fuckers who are aggressive to you on a daily basis. Once you manage, you will forget their words and everything will be rosy in your world of pink unicorns.
Except it won’t.
People assume that a demeaned person automatically integrates – mind and heart – into the social environment they’ve been rejected from once the object of the demeaning disappears, namely their defect. Once you’ve been targeted, especially for long periods of time, trust is very shaky; you are always aware that they can turn on you at any time. You know that when you step even slightly out of line they will notice and react. They might not know who you are anymore (they might apply different labels than in the past), but you know full well who they are and how they really think.
Motivation which actually works has to be rooted in something positive, such as one’s desire to be healthier or to have a certain image for their own enjoyment, and not seeking to pacify the hounds, who will – surprise, surprise – find something else to hate them for as soon as their image is no longer prime pecking material. That’s how the larger pack of vultures – also known as society – works.
There is no empowerment in conforming to the standards your bullies impose. Hence, pleasing the fuckers or impressing them – never mind aspiring to their respect or affection – is not likely to bring you happiness in itself.
Which is not to say that enhancing your image is not a powerful shield against their nastiness. But you do it out of self-preservation, in order to survive. It is not a matter of making your life excellent by appealing to others, but rather to keep them from making your life hell by reducing your vulnerability in front them. There is no Kumbaya at the end of this film.
Some might find these arguments contradictory; my point is that whilst it’s good to use your image as a shield, you should not be emotionally invested in what others think of you. You should not let them into your mind.
2. ”It’s easier to make excuses than to bust your ass at the gym…”
Whenever I hear people boast about ”working so hard”, as if expecting a medal, I start to giggle; it sounds almost infantile. The praise they expect for managing to look good – in terms of general usefulness – is just as unjustified as that of fat activists.
What you do with your body benefits you and (presumably) the person you engage with intimately. Unless of course you sell your image (or body) and more people suddenly become involved. It’s ridiculous to demand public acknowledgement for something that is not of public use, elevating yourself to an example others should follow. Others should not need excuses to not follow this example as they might not have the same goals in life.
I’m glad their self-esteem is well established and I’m happy for them, but cannot admire them in the same way I admire an astrophysicist, a gifted artist or a historian working very hard, giving their time to shed light on what is less known about the past. I can’t compare the result of their work to someone’s butt cheeks. When I see the righteous indignation in their eyes about how hard they work, all I can do is smile, if not laugh. I’m sorry.
3. ” I’m giving you a kick up the ass for your own good!”
Anyone who is emotionally invested in your well-being, physicians included, would not refer to the advice they give you as a ”kick up the ass”; even harsh realities are expressed in non-hurtful ways.
Those who claim their mockery has the best intentions are either of low emotional intelligence (unaware of how humans react to their attitude) or deceitful. For many, I have noticed, the fierce attitude towards people they claim disgust them is meant to create an obvious opposition, highlighting their own qualities.
Think of it this way – if all risky behaviour was worthy of the same vehement criticism, they would go for those who are into extreme sports, unsafe sex, hard drugs etc. But some deliberately pick those whose defects are at the opposite end of their best valued qualities, such as physical appearance. Which is often connected to how ”hard they work” to achieve those looks and potentially a felling of frustration for their effort not being appreciated enough.
4. Everyone agrees facades are more important than what’s behind them.
Of course, we associate one’s ability to maintain a good image with intelligence and tact, overlooking known defects manifested in private and admiring someone for carrying themselves around in a dignified manner. However, good observers with a capacity to analyse human behaviour are well aware there is an infinity of possibilities within each individual and thus are not necessarily fooled by appearances. Older people in particular have seen many instances of impeccable facades crumbling to dust or hidden gems being discovered.
Hence, although they might pay lip service to currently held views in order to avoid attracting negative attention, the way people handle their lives and relationships is a whole other world than what the media portrays. Most families nowadays include or closely relate to people with an addiction, people who have been to prison, people who take recreational drugs, people with a very visible physical defect, disability or major illness and so forth. And when faced with stereotypes labelling thousands or millions with the same behavioural patterns, most have stories to tell which disprove their validity.
I can go as far as saying it’s very common to know individuals who are excellently seen in their communities and are a handful at home, or ostracised folks who are actually very decent, trustworthy and easygoing. They are not exceptions by far.
Unfortunately, many use those around them in order to feel better by comparison, which in turn creates acrimony. The irony is that by doing so they feed the culture of competition which brings them all unneeded misery and frustration, feeling the urge to exaggerate a quality in order to compensate for defects, often putting others down in this process. If they stopped the comparisons and constant one-upmanship, they could direct their energy to more positive endeavours.
People will always be cunts. They will form prejudices, circulate them and at times accept them as absolute truths, out of the need for tribalism, for the ”us vs them”, as well as the need to feel superior to others in any way they can.
Sorry to say, as a hippie type who has roamed the planet for almost three decades, hoping to find many who are willing to meet others with an open heart. It’s time to grow up and give up. Flowers wither. And like flowers, ideas wither as well; more so, they receive regular golden showers from passersby.
I honestly get where some SJW’s are coming from. For instance, I get the fact that one might sometimes find themselves reading The Guardian, just to get away from that visceral feeling of doom awakened by far right publications ( a feeling derived not from alarming predictions but from the sheer waves of hatred and toxicity people express there, making one feel like the world will soon end – or better yet, that it should). Not that one should seek the depressant on purpose – yet one is sometimes directed there by others, when important events are covered, demoralised by 2500 possible co-nationals voting up extremism and vitriol.
Also, I get the fact that whoever has experienced bullying knows exactly what impact some public statements will have on ordinary people, targeted in one way or another. Targeted categories change over the years, but every age has its idols, its hate figures, its circus clowns and its puppeteers. At the end of the day, it’s business as usual; life carries on.
I know many people genuinely want the world to be a less acrimonious place, yet have no idea how to go about it; so far every mass attempt has failed, from the naive to the grotesque, zombie-fied version of ”equality” promotion we see nowadays. My humble conclusion in that one’s sole guaranteed contribution to that ideal is simply being a decent person, as opposed to joining groups, participating in their events, going to lengths never before considered as well as being vilified along with them for attitudes you don’t truly share. One’s individuality can be lost so easily in a choir of voices, mechanically chanting along to someone else’s words.
Firstly, I believe that the only way to reduce superficial judgement of others is continuous self-awareness, and self-awareness is no easy task – it certainly can’t be learned by memorising a few emotion-inducing memes circulated through Facebook. On the contrary, one needs to be on the lookout for political manipulation whenever emotion is being used to further a cause. Being truly aware of the world around us does require empathy and imagination (being able to see ourselves in someone else’s shoes) but also logic, observation and life experience.
Human nature is far too complex and fucked up to try to enforce social harmony on a mass scale, through political correctness; sometimes it feels certain lefties would like to see lobotomies performed to obliterate parts of it. The comforting phrase ”you can’t please everyone” is the understatement of the century.
”What strikes me most about…”
People usually identify you with your most visible deviation from what they see as the norm. Unless you’re a personality of such respectability that your appearance, disabilities, speech defects etc become unnoticeable, but even then they mention them second to your achievements. That fat writer who walks funny, that famous professor with a lisp, that scientist who wears funny hats, that politician with a bad hairpiece. Simply put, they say what they see, no matter how unnecessary for the discussion or how rude. Overtime they might forget your achievements but the bloody hairpiece or ill-fitting suit will stick in their minds.
They also tend to identify you with the most shocking bit of information they have on your life. That actress who had a meltdown, that singer who checked into rehab, that guy from across the road who got a DUI last year. Say you’re a perfectly normal neighbour and never bother anyone for ten years, but one night you get wasted and people see you running around singing loudly in your underwear. Your neighbours will not remember you as Bob who was a perfectly normal guy for a decade but as Karaoke Bob, who gave them ten minutes of entertainment. And I hate it but that’s how things are; the ugly and the embarrassing, that one would rather forget, is the first thing on many people’s minds. I’m not making this up; new acquaintances were sometimes described to me in such ways, without any relevance to their situation at the time or my prospective interaction with them. The hope that one’s personality comes first is an illusion. It always will be.
Recipe for backstabbing
It’s better to know who is fond of you and who isn’t, even if the latter is a rude awakening, rather than have others be pleasant to your face and mock you behind your back. That’s how political correctness will never, ever educate anyone on not judging or not assuming. Naively mingling with those who covertly dislike us leaves us very vulnerable. Political correctness, even when normalised, creates a hypocritical society, where no one knows who to really trust. I personally find that far more dangerous than being offended. I’d rather someone was racist, xenophobic or whatever to my face, even in public, than to speak to them for five years and later find out they had despised me all along.
Political correctness is likely to create a paradise for backstabbers, hypocrites and suck-ups, as well as a medium for festering hatred.
We all have our days
Decent people can be cunts as well. They can be arrogant and insensitive – which doesn’t mean the ”sensitive” side should become self-righteous and embark on a crusade against anyone who behaves in such ways at some point. In fact, I trust no one on this planet goes through life without having (had) a prejudice, having misjudged or offended others. For instance, there’s no point labelling someone a racist for life, based on a mere few words. A huge deal is being made today over trivial matters, when others are far more pressing.
Subjectivity on steroids
The fear of offending can become an unhealthy obsession, to the point of endangering whole societies, when very different cultures are thrown together without a viable plan of integration. One has to be able to keep a straight head, without mutilating reality to suit their narrative. Just as the far right picks on everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to demonising targets, anti-discrimination groups sweep harsh realities under the rug, thinking it’s for the greater good (and denial never is).
A quick list of criteria according to which people might/ are likely to judge you, in no order of importance:
From the diploma hanging on your wall to the size of your knickers, everything matters. Someone somewhere will find a reason to hate you when they become aware of your existence.
And someone somewhere is ardently expanding on how people like you should be hanged, for one or more of the aforementioned reasons, particularly beliefs, sexual habits and vices.
The world really isn’t a friendly place at all.
For a few years now, my goal has been to find the values which have transcended time and will remain the rock of genuine human interaction, through ever-changing societal structures, moral norms etc. I firmly believe these values can only be found individually, by looking at social dynamics from a certain distance and not being drawn to a militant stance by any ideology. Unlike those who think they have these answers and are trying to force them on others, I am aware the search will take a lifetime to complete.