Tuesday, 15 November 2016

A New Series of Posts: Let's Talk

let's talk

Enough with the shitstorm

When I started this blog, I made a conscious choice that it would be a light-hearted hobby, a distraction to get me out of my own head. I would focus on style and travel, maybe spicing things up with an occasional witty little piece on something equally trivial. This was all in keeping with my long-term personal goal of reducing stress by becoming a more shallow, less analytical person: to worry less, and focus on the wonderful things in life...

But the shitstorm that this year has been has made it very clear to me that I can't fight my true nature, nor do I want to. Not anymore. I don't want to retreat into an artificial, cushy little bubble and trick myself into believing that if I just stick my fingers into my ears and sing 'la-la-laa' loudly enough the outside world can't get to me. Because it can.

For most of my life, I've been at the mercy of circumstances beyond my control and other people's whims (divorced parents, bereavement, getting downsized, the economic uncertainties of a freelancer etc. take your pick), being told to get on with it, suck it up, grow up, or just stop whining. And I've had enough. I'm done being the 'good girl', calmly watching as the shit hits the fan, again and again. 

So, now what?

The thing is, I'm not a fighter. I'm not an activist or an organiser; actually doing something has never been my strong suit. I'm a thinker, and I'm a worrier. I analyse, or over-analyse, everything, and my glass is always half-empty. I see it as preparing for the worst. And when the worst happens, I want to understand why and how and what next

So, I'm going to get back to what I do best: putting my thoughts into words, offering sarcastic commentary on all the nasty stuff we see around us. And this is why I'm starting a new series of posts where I plan to discuss all the topics sensible, polite bloggers usually prefer to avoid (yes: politics, religion, sex...).  

But I need to warn you: I don't plan to mince my words. I'm opinionated, and I don't believe in political correctness or sugar-coating. So, expect the kind of political incorrectness you've only ever heard from populists and raving lunatics (isn't that one and the same thing? Anyway, I'm neither, I assure you), sprinkled with plenty of sarcasm and common sense. I'm quite well aware of my own biases, prejudices and limitations and will point these out frequently. You may view these posts as my way of venting my frustrations, or as more serious commentary on the topics. Both views are equally valid and true.

But rest assured, even though I'm going to be a nasty, opinionated bitch, I'm going to be a well-dressed bitch.

So, to get started, I thought you might want to know where I stand on these issues:

Politics

Politics is not something abstract, taking place in a  galaxy far, far away, with no connection to real people. No, it's about everyday problems and how to deal with them. For example, as a taxpayer I want to know how the tax revenue is going to be spent: whether there's going to be enough money for quality education and health care, and whether I can feel safe in the streets. I'm happy to pay taxes, but I want something in return. No, let's rephrase that: I want to get my money's worth.

But politics is also about the values we share and the kind of society we want to have: do we divide the world into winners and losers, or do we want to give everyone a chance.

And now (this is for you, my British or American readers), if you're wondering where I might stand in the left-right continuum (Tory or Labour? Republican or Democrat?), please do not read my comments in the light of your own political system; it isn't mine. I live in a country with a far less polarised, more compromise-oriented multi-party system. To explain it briefly, this means that elections are much more boring, and there's always a coalition government. Yes, we have populists, too, even in the government. But theirs isn't the only voice that can be heard. And with the exception of the extremes (whether left or right), I've probably voted for most parties.

I'm vary of ideologies; I don't like a one-size-fits-all solutions or rehashed opinions. Politics, for me, is more like a buffet table: I pick and choose what I like and ignore the rest. And then there's the stuff I'm allergic to: then I get very vocal and demand it to be removed from the table. But I'm sure we all have issues we're passionate about, one way or the other. Anyway, this quote by Edmund Burke more or less summarises how I feel about political discussion and activism, and explains why I feel compelled to write this post:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Religion

I think religion (of any variety) is like alcohol. No, I'm not saying it's bad for you. I'm saying that a little bit every now and then might be just what you need to relax, to celebrate or to just make an ordinary day a bit special. That is, when it (alcohol or religion) is consumed in moderation. Too much might be addictive, or even downright dangerous. After all, there are people who turn into raving maniacs if they drink. Similarly, too much religion can mess some people up so badly they start chopping off other people's heads... Frankly, I think religion should come with a warning label.

And where do I stand on this issue? I was baptised Lutheran, but grew up in a secular family. The only time we ever went to church was for weddings or funerals. And I formally dissociated myself from the church in my late teens in the 80's, as a political protest when the church refused to ordain women. But times change: the Lutheran Church in Finland has been ordaining women for quite a while now (although, as far as I know, there is only one female bishop, and one transgender minister). However, religion only interests me as a cultural concept: as something that shapes our values and societies. But I do my best to respect other people's religious beliefs. However, this does not mean I want to learn from them, and I get annoyed if I detect any attempt at giving me the hardsell.

Sex

Yawn. 

Why is the Internet full of bloggers, models and teenage girls copying poses straight out of soft porn? Why do women feel pressure to compete with porn stars? What the hell happened to the sexual revolution??? Maybe there never was a sexual revolution. We just went from women being expected to have no sexual partners to women being expected to sleep with any man they encounter... When do we get to the point when we can finally ask what women actually want to, or don't want to, do?

And the fuss with the number of sexual partners, what's up with that? Seriously, as far as consenting adults are concerned, can't we just agree to a don't ask-don't tell policy? I won't ask, and you won't tell. I don't need to know what you do and with whom, that's your business. 

No, I'm not being a prude; I just hate clich├ęs.

Feminism

Yes, I'm a feminist. No ifs, no buts. 

Yes, I'm aware of the linguistic appropriation this word is subject to these days, but I don't give a damn what misogynistic idiots think feminists do. I'm a traditionalist: for me a feminist is a person who wants to promote gender equality.

And no, I don't hate men. And I don't 'need a man like a fish needs a bicycle' (to borrow an old feminist slogan). I don't know about fish, but I might want to ride a 'bicycle' every once in a while...

No, I don't want to see myself as a 'victim', and I think it is dangerous for feminists to promote victim mentality, especially now. We need feminism to empower women, so that we can teach young women to fight back.

I come from a long line of very strong, independent women. And my father was a miserable male chauvinist. You know, the kind that tells you crude 'jokes' about women, belittles their intellect, criticises their looks. And lives off his mother. I'm sure you know the type...


So, I  hope you're looking forward to some pull-no-punches talk on controversial issues. I sure am. And please let me know in the comments if there are any topics you would like me to discuss.
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13 comments

  1. I love you, Tiina. I really do. I want to be a member of your kick-ass, intelligent, empowered women's club, if you'll have me. Your opinions, to a large degree, mirror my own, and where we differ, I foresee many a titillated exchange of thoughts, tempered with some dry wit, doses of flippancy, and loads of mutually respectful chuckles :) XOXO

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    1. Thanks, Sheela. Yes, I think we need a club for kick-ass, feisty women. With all the shit going on in the world, we need to toughen up and fight back. I see myself more as the chief strategist, or the propaganda department, and I'm sure we need to harness all the skills and talents of strong women everywhere in the days to come.

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  2. You know I love your style, but my favourite blogpost by far, which still has me thinking, was your Brexit one. I am totally looking forward to some thoughtful, no holds barred, insightful, funny, stylish posts! Who wouldn't? I find an exclusive fashion diet boring. Yay you! xo JJ

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that. I was so hesitant to post that one, but in the end I decided I just had to. I just had to speak up, even if it might upset some of my readers. So, your words mean a lot to me, and encourage me to speak my mind.

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  3. Wow! You covered so much. : )

    It is odd how I align with you on every subject you broached. Hooray for having the guts to "put it all out there".

    I never talk about religion but I feel exactly the same way. It is a very touchy subject for many people. I just wish we had less religion and more people thinking for themselves. The world would be a happier place.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I think we all should talk more, about stuff that we care about, without fear of rejection. The fact is, you can't please everyone, but you don't want to hide behind a mask, either. So, you can take the risk and just be yourself. Some people will like it, others won't. But that would happen anyway, so at least the people who like you do so for the right reasons.

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  4. Ooooh, Tiina. I already admire your style but I certainly look forward to this new direction as well.

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    1. Thanks, Melanie, I'm so glad to hear that!

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  5. Hah!! Great. I am with you all the way. I just had a nicer father. I am looking forward to these posts. Can you dish out digital buttons for club members? Of course only the ones you feel are worthy of it. (Now that will get you friends AND enemies.)
    Greetje

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    1. Thanks Greetje. Yes, buttons, that would be a great idea. I'll have to think about that (when I get less busy with work, that is).

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  6. I love the way you express your feelings! And I am certainly looking forward to more posts. I also have thought many times about your Brexit posts. Because things have changed in the UK! At first I thought, ah well it wo t be so bad, but things have changed. I felt it the last time...

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. This is actually the subdued, toned.down version of me expressing my feelings... Anyway, yes, things have certainly changed in the UK, and not for the better.

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