Please explain.

Maybe my radar is just up – it seems everything I read lately is about women in the media, how we are portrayed, belittled and judged. It was the topic of our own Prime Ministers speech in parliament, just this week. And other bloggers are talking left, right and centre about these issues, it seems.

Topics range from weight (both ours and our children’s), the fact that women are ‘destroying the joint’, and misogynyΒ and racism.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is some media attention on these topics. These are discussions we need to have as a society, as people and as families.

I say we need to have them, but I am actually wondering why these things are even up for discussion at all.

Why do we notice people’s weight, and then, invariably judge them for it?

Why is gender even taken into account as a qualifier of comments or job description?

Why do we notice the colour of skin?

These are not rhetorical questions. I really don’t understand.

To me, judging someone based on skin colour, gender or size is as ridiculous as judging someone because they have a big nose, or a beard, or always wear their hair in a ponytail.

It simply makes no sense to me.

When I was in school, being a kid of skin and bones, my weight was always, and I mean, always, commented on by the other girls at school. Maybe they thought they were being nice when they said “you’re so lucky you’re a skinny bitch”, but you tell me…how do you think that makes a 12 year old girl feel?

And you know what else it does? It makes everyone suddenly very conscious of their weight. Girls think they are complimenting a friend when they say she is skinny, when, in fact, all that is happening is that the notion that size matters is being reinforced, yet again. When that is said to one girl, all the other girls wonder why it wasn’t said to them. Does that mean they are fat? And the girl who received the ‘compliment’ feels more pressure to stay skinny.

I really just don’t know why these things are even worthy of comment.Β When I really stop and think about ‘why?’, I am no closer to an answer.

Oh, I know the standard reasons of prejudice, fear, insecurity but those don’t cut it for me. It is purely and simply unfathomable to me. Judging someone based on country of origin, or skin colour, is like judging someone because they live in a different house from you, eat dinner at a different time and eat different food. Ridiculous.

Maybe I’m oversimplifying it. Maybe I’m just a bit thick. Maybe I don’t understand the issues thoroughly enough.

So if someone can explain it to me, please, feel free.

8 thoughts on “Please explain.

  1. I’m not sure I understand it all either. Children are TAUGHT to hate, or judge, or not like someone because of color or origins – they are certainly not born that way. I was raised to respect all people and base my opinions on them as to what type of person they were (nice or not), how they treated other people, how they behaved with loved ones or friends or on the job. Diversity is the spice of life! I know and love people – black and white and every shade in between, gay and straight, religious or not, born here or not – none of it makes no never mind to me! Treat me with respect, compassion, kindness – you get the same back from me.

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    • Yes, you are so right, most of it is taught but it had to start somewhere. I find it crazy that bad behaviour can be overlooked if you are the ‘right’ size, gender or race…none of it makes any sense to me at all.
      I was raised to celebrate differences, and I hope we are teaching our kids to do the same. It might make them in the minority but I would rather that than them being part of collective bigotry.

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  2. I know it must bother me pretty deeply, because the issues of prejudgement, racism and sexism surfaced in my work. And, speaking of which, it’s all very old. As with all storytelling, it’s probably rooted in safety and survival. Shared experience gets amplified with repeated telling (i.e. “Those people over the hill always misuderstand us, and they may be hostile,” turns into “Those people over the hill will kill you if you set foot over there,” and then, “You can tell those killers by their big noses and pony tails – and their women are skinny bitches.” πŸ˜‰ ).

    Not by way of excusing it but, like storytelling, its deeply rooted in our psyche. I think progress has been made, but we’ve obviously got a long way to go. You always get me thinking, Susannah! Blog looks great, btw. πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, you are quite right (and I liked your example too, by the way πŸ™‚ ) it is deeply imbedded in us. I guess for me, I can understand other things like murder, stealing, lies and such because there is usually a solid, if flawed, reason behind it but judgments based on weight, skin colour and the like seem so flimsy and so trivial to base opinions on.
      Glad you like the look!
      And one day, one day, you and I and our respective partners need to spend some time together over a couple of bottles of good red πŸ™‚

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