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 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.
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.
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 clichés.
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.
Linking up with:
Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Garay Treasures, High Latitude Style, Sydney Fashion Hunter, The Pleated Poppy, Style Elixir, Get Your Pretty On, Happiness at Mid-Life, A Labour of Life, Doused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom, Fashion Should Be Fun, Rachel the Hat, Sincerely Jenna Marie, More Pieces of Me, Color and Grace, The Wardrobe Stylist, Not Dressed As Lamb, Style Nudge, Coco et La Vie en Rose, Fashionably Employed,The Fabulous Journey, Living on Cloud Nine, A Well Styled Life, Elegance and Mommyhood. Posh Classy Mom, Nancy's Fashion Style, Sheela Writes, Shelbee on the Edge Over 50 Feeling 40 A Pocketful of Polka Dots