Friday, October 18, 2013

Problematic Things

http://paulclarke.com
I'm in a mad juggle between work and school at the moment so this is going to be a fairly brief post. However, it's also a short ad-on to Tuesday's post and I don't have a lot more to say, but just want to tie up some loose ends.

I found this quote on Tumblr a while back, which was originally from a comment on this post on LiveJournal:
Being a feminist doesn’t mean suddenly no longer liking problematic things. If you stopped liking everything that was sexist in media and entertainment there would be no media or entertainment left. Being a feminist, to me, is being aware of what it is you’re liking, and of its problematic aspects. 
I really, really like this. It's tricky to deal with, but a good way of handling the cognitive dissonance such relationships cause. You don't have to hate something just because it's flawed - you can choose to, but aren't required to. We don't live in a perfect world and our art forms reflect that. It's better to be aware of the problems that exist in things like Disney films or TV shows or comic books, but we don't have to hate it. Hate won't change anything. Recognizing it and doing something different because of it can.

In a reflection on Tuesdays post, I feel the same about my issues with humanitarian groups - I know they are flawed and I'm trying to work around them and find a better way. But it's hard. I often find that I struggle to do as I say. For instance, last night after getting off work, I had the issue of being hit on again. I tried to ignore the man instead of answering his questions, but he was getting irate. I should have just left and gone into the rain, but I was stupidly checking my phone first. For reasons I don't understand, I continued to reply to him, until the inevitable, "Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend?" question came up. I made the same error I made before and said I had a boyfriend. Why? Because it's much easier to think you're going to do something than actually do it in the moment. No one teaches us how to deal with harassment or how to deal with cognitive dissonance in this manner. It's something society prefers to ignore than confront. And it's hard to relearn when the methods we use work, even if they don't work as well as we'd like. I'd like to think the relearning is worth it. But I've yet to manage to do it. I could have stopped the man the moment he began speaking and assumed that his speech was going to go the route it went. But I don't want to assume - that would only make matters worse. But why I chose to respond to him when he asked my name instead of continuing to ignore him or just leaving is a difficult one. I didn't want to be rude - even though he was the one being rude to me. I blamed myself for not just leaving instead of understanding that I was not at fault. I feel much the same for my potentially misguided attempts at humanitarian aid - I blame myself for wanting to help instead of fully recognizing that organizations are flawed because of the flaws of our world. Because I don't know how to make a more evident change, I blame myself. It's unfair, but it's a trend I unfortunately continue.

I mention it because I often fear that I blog about something and make it sound too easily resolved. This likely isn't the case, but it concerns me none the less. Blogging in many ways is for my own selfish benefit to think through things and try to solve problems in my own mind. And that's essentially what this post has been. Thanks for reading :)

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