Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Missing the Point

80 Comments

70mb film, uppercut select

Is that a whole forest over there?  Or is it just trees?  I can hardly tell the difference.

I, myself, have been guilty of saying that political correctness can go too far. It can be taken to extremes.  But is it political correctness that is taken to extremes or is it that we are trying to tip toe around delicate issues to the extent that we don’t want to hurt anyone’s wee wittle feelings at the expense of honesty?

My last post shone a spotlight on what it means to miss the point.  It is easy to spot sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc….etc…etc…

…in everyone else.  We tend to have a gargantuan blind spot when it comes to ourselves.  I am no exception to that. Oh, how I wish I were.

We often try to justify it when we say or do something inappropriate, hurtful, or uncouth.  When we’re called out on it we get defensive and immediately begin the damage control. Human nature rules the day.  When we say it or do it we want everyone else to know how “not racist” or “not sexist” or “not homophobic” we are.  We’d never!

But we just did.  How to reconcile momentary lapses of judgement with personal character…well, that is the rub, isn’t it?

Are we missing the big picture?  The broader concept of what’s being said is completely lost the minute we begin rationalizing our own behavior.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.

These posts are not meant to either endorse nor condemn any particular lifestyles or life choices.  These posts are meant to highlight both the blatant and subtle sexist and misogynist undercurrent that permeates society.

Let me make this clear if I haven’t already.  I think men are as much a product of society as women are.  The way they were raised, the messages we receive from the media and advertisements, the systematic undermining of minority groups and those perceived as weaker – all of that plays into the dynamics of society.  The top dog wants to stay the top dog all the while protesting that they endorse equality.

Oh, yes, we endorse equality.  As long as it doesn’t diminish our own privileged place.  But wait, equality might just mean that privilege isn’t so much a privilege anymore.  It might mean…we are all of equal value as individuals.

This is an easy concept to say one is in favor of.  Yes, on paper that looks like it should, in fact, be so.  But what about individually?  Do we, with our own sense of entitlement, push anyone who dares gain an equal footing back down? Are we, individually, missing the point?

 

Advertisements

80 thoughts on “Missing the Point

  1. Hypocrisy seems to be part of the human condition, and those who would deny as much as regards themselves are either unjustifiably bold, or simply unaware.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Indeed it does, Hariod. They say ignorance is bliss, but a marked lack of self-awareness can lead to untold misery.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hariod, I don’t know whether to call hypocrisy. They say every person has a distorted view of themselves but not of others

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hi Onyango. What Ruth refers to when she says that “we tend to have a gargantuan blind spot when it comes to ourselves”, I am calling hypocrisy. By this term, I mean occasionally exhibiting behaviours that are contrary to our consciously held beliefs and, perhaps, moral standards. So, these are cognitive biases that apply within ourselves as subjective entities, and which may occur in conscious attempts at deception, or in a lack of self-awareness. In answering your second point, then it is my opinion that not only do we have distorted views as to our own imagined neutrality and ability to objectively assess ourselves, but that similar distortions apply in regard to others. I hope this clarifies the above comment my friend.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Porbably…

    But knowing is half the battle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ll step forward here and make myself known (again) as the or one of the exact person(s) Ruth is posting about here over in her previous blog comments. I feel somewhat now it is going to be a no-win situation no matter how I participate here; or could it? Nevertheless, it is enough to respond here by simply stating, I’ll be the pinata or one of the pinatas of this post and the previous post as well. If I am to be the lone male pinata, so be it. LOL

    Fire away everyone. I’m making my mistake (as a male) a renewed bigger target for the sake of my inappropriate private unjustifiable comment…but ALSO remorsefully for the sake of this social problem and my male part in it.

    A revealing post Ruth. *irony not intended I assure you* 😉

    These posts are not meant to either endorse nor condemn any particular lifestyles or life choices. These posts are meant to highlight both the blatant and subtle sexist and misogynist undercurrent that permeates society. *big thumbs up on this!* Thank you!

    Like

    • While I can see why you might have felt that this post was marked as a bullseye with Professor Taboo in the center I can assure you that isn’t the case. It just occurred to me during that exchange how easy it is for ALL of us to see clearly, for the most part, the injustices or fallibilities in others while thinking, at the same time, there’s no way we’re doing it, too. Yet, we ALL are. I thought back to times when I’ve been called out on some stuff and what my reaction was.

      So, no pinata whacks here – unless you’re volunteering for the job.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I disagree Ruth. I am and have been guilty of inappropriate impulsive comments to men and women that were essentially only meant to obtain shock and attention, perhaps self-gain! I CERTAINLY know the lengths my ego (deluded sometimes as I know it can get! 😉 ) will reach in order to be noticed. I’ve learned more thoroughly over in your previous post how an environment can begin to take over my own judgement! Yet, only by having the courage to make myself vulnerable will I learn well and thoroughly my hopefully growing strengths and diminishing flaws — cuts and bruises are not all bad if that makes sense?

        So… I SHOULD be one of the men here with a target on my forehead! In that sense you are right by this post and what took place in your comments of your previous post. Therefore, in a sense…by my nature, personality, etc, YES, I usually always volunteer into the unknown! I know myself all too well. LOL 😉

        Like

      • Meant to also add that from a plethora of personal experiences, I of all people, know life is often messy. You won’t thrive in it unless you get real banged up by it. 🙂

        Like

  4. I read the exchanges on the last post and it’s one of those where you watch but don’t comment when you don’t know one of the participants.

    So I can see why PT could read this post as a commentary on the previous exchange but equally, I think it can be read, and will be read by most people, as a general post. And no doubt, we will all read it and say, quite right, we see other people doing this all the time, but I don’t …

    But to go back to the previous post, and not the mental exchange, but rather the penultimate comment (from memory). Just why did we need to know that Kat whatshername was attractive when that was a story about her business acumen?

    I read a great story in The a Guardian that I must trot out for people it was an excellent example of inappropriate and derogatory language from woman to woman. One of the major issues that a lot of people don’t understand is that women are equally as sexist as men. That doesn’t make it OK, it’s just an example of how we are all imbued with values and mores that we don’t even realise,

    Liked by 4 people

    • Just why did we need to know that Kat whatshername was attractive when that was a story about her business acumen?

      I had to think about this for just a minute before commenting. I like to feel like I’m attractive and don’t mind being described that way BUT the implication is that if Kat whatshername wasn’t attractive it wouldn’t be worthy of a story.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ruth, boy you’ve made me squirm a LOT today! LOL 😉

        For more clarification, I mentioned the story of Kat Cole as attractive, very relevant, and I felt a nice addition for the sake that she comes successfully from a sexist or pseudo-sexist industry. That was the reason I shared it & worded it that way. I admire her, I’m attracted by her savvy and confidence to handle, manage, and thrive amonst many a rude, aggressive, sexist, sometimes unaware Neanderthal hetero men — oh my gosh, ESPECIALLY in Hooters! I applaud her much! 😀

        Now beyond any mention, praise, and what KAT COLE found wrong & inappropriate in your success story, both with men and herself, I leave that to her to answer. LOL 😉

        Like

    • To your question roughseasinthemed, “attractive” means many things, not just physical. And I answer your question in all composed honesty despite the fact that even the written word may not convey my composed honesty. Geeezzz, if there’s anything I haven’t learned throughout these two posts & exchanges, I’VE CERTAINLY LEARNED to choose my words much, MUCH more carefully, even over the internet! 😮 😛

      Like

  5. One of the major issues that a lot of people don’t understand is that women are equally as sexist as men.

    Indeed they are. Especially here in the Babble Belt. It seems they’re all into defining gender roles. Men do this and that and not this while women do this but that. What if it doesn’t even fit with your skillset or personality? Change it, dammit!(Your skillset and personality – not the status quo).

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I seem to be missing a post here??

    Like

  7. We all like equality. Just some of us like to be more equal than others.

    It is hard to know exactly what we are. Of course we are all animals, and the veneer of civilization aids immeasurably in interactions necessary for the benefits accompanying complex society. It does seem however that greater and lesser degrees of the veneer of civilization shows in different people. Thank Zeus I have a greater amount of both veneer and humility 🙂

    Pogo: We have met the enemy and he is us.

    Sorry to be so scarce. Not commenting much anywhere these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly. We all agree equality is a good thing globally, culturally, communally, until it comes down to us individually. Then equality seems….like not such a good idea. We tend to be a greedy lot and want more than our share.

      Sorry to be so scarce. Not commenting much anywhere these days.

      No need for apologies, exrelayman. I’m just glad you stopped by and when you did decide to comment it was on a post of mine!

      Like

    • You are missed exrelayman.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. If I say anything about sexyism I just know my arse will be grass so I shall keep mum.
    I am not a sexyist and never will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. On a serious note, your post is spot on. Our perspective on these issues is simply a product of conditioning.

    Like

    • Oh, most definitely. We are ALL a product of this, both men and women. I want to be careful not to paint men as villains here. I simply don’t think that’s the case. Well, I mean, some men somewhere in our history were. And men who fight tooth and nail to keep women from gaining equality are, but by and large I think the subtleties of sexism are a larger people problem.

      Like

      • Oh, men are generally the villains, of this there is little doubt.

        But are there grey areas – and here comes The Ark opening can of worms – ( to use a typical real life example) when a woman in a short skirt gets wolf-whistled by a group of builders; is this considered sexist?

        Like

        • Can you tell me why it isn’t considered sexist?

          The standard answer is if she’s wearing a short skirt and she’s walking past a group of builders she’s asking for it.

          Like

          • Well of course she isn’t asking for it of this one should know.
            But the standard reply is why is she wearing a short skirt?

            In nature, the ‘bird’ woth the brightest plumage attracts the most mates.
            And why does someone want to look sexy?
            ( opinions vary on what is sexy, of course, but the answer would be to be noticed)
            s I said, this is where the waters’ get a bit murky.
            I know I’m done for already!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think you need a diversification and sexual harassment seminar. Just for you, Ark!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Remember back to the comment that first got Violet to post about Tiribulus. He said something to the effect that women should dress modestly to help the guys out because they’re(men) are just caged wolves. I’m paraphrasing, of course. But what’s the difference in what you’re asking here? Do short skirts really incite animal behavior?

            Like

          • They might incite animal instincts: looking, fantasizing etc.
            Uncouth, sexist behaviour depends on the individual.

            Like

        • Not necessarily.

          Yes. Although, years ago outlawed on sites years ago. You can tell you didn’t work on building sites in London in the eighties. The point about mentioning the 80s is also that times and cultures and attitudes change.

          Unless you are entombed of course. I suppose you probably wore one of those sexy Egyptian skirts?

          Like

      • I totally agree. That’s very nicely expressed and much more subtle than this assassin, of characters or whatever, would even dream of trying to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Before I must return to my students, after reading more comments, the question I kept asking myself was…

    Can women please list for us hetero men 10-20 appropriate ways to verbally (and non-verbally) compliment them intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically that THEY find acceptable and uplifting? Please do not leave any of the four areas out.

    Thank you! 🙂

    Like

    • No one else has chimed in here. Perhaps it is because this conversation isn’t about how to get a date. It isn’t about how to express your attraction to women. It is about treating women as people – individuals of value.

      Having said that, maybe I understand your confusion on the issue. Although what I don’t understand is how people can’t figure out how to compliment other people without sexual overtones.

      I’m going to make another post about this. Do you mind if I use your question as a jumping off point?

      Like

      • For the sake of open, honest, but constructive dialogue Ruth, my immediate reaction to that response was surprise, and then I growled. That was my “intial” (sometimes wrong or right) emotional reaction to your reply. I felt misunderstood because of the phrases “how to get a date” and “how to express your attraction to women” and how to “treat women as people — individuals of value.” I couldn’t agree MORE with you about the purpose of this/our discussion. We are seeking the same goal, but somehow to me I feel as if I’m unintentionally stepping on some acute nerves. I could be wrong?

        Then your coup d’état for me or (all? some?) people… “I don’t understand how people can’t figure out how to compliment other people without sexual overtones.” Well, the only way to figure it out is to have honest articulated — sometimes imperfect — communication with each other like this. But the dialogue MUST persist in cases like this! So to march-on, I remember Ruth in one of your comments here or over on your previous post you stated (paraphrased): Why do men feel they need to throw us a bone? Again, purely for the sake of honest constructive dialogue here on such an important, sensitive, controversial subject, I found that statement a bit…umm…(unintentionally?) demeaning? In other words, when I compliment a woman or genuinely attempt to compliment — I certainly can do it poorly sometimes — I damn sure don’t mean to imply I’m throwing a bone to her as if she’s a dog! That image (my image?) bothered me. Many many times, depending on the context of the circumstances, my compliments are intended to have no sexual overtones. However, I have also spelled out here my compliments may necessarily apply to personal, intimate, romantic (or more) situations with someone where I have built and earned trust…e.g. partners & spouses which have stated to me, “I trust you with my life.

        — deep breath —

        I know this, I am walking on egg-shells now like I’ve never had to do face-to-face with women, as if I’m now practically tip-toeing in paranoia. LOL

        Nevertheless, analyzing my reaction, I thought “maybe I’m being too sensitive? Maybe I’m really NOT writing and conveying well my heart on this subject!?” Yes, quite possible indeed! Help? 😮 LOL

        So there you go; there’s my initial right or wrong FEELINGS and then thoughts. 🙂

        As far as using my question as a jumping-off point, absolutely go for it! Thank you for asking! We MUST see all of this through to its proper end! It’s too important not to! I politely and humbly ask you though, to ALSO set it up in my intended context: I am truly wanting to learn better, and learn more ways to help UPLIFT a woman’s self-esteem; for that matter men too. Let me further explain.

        I am all for the truth and virtue that “value and worth must first come from within.” For me that can never be overemphasized. We/I may not need to prove that truth here right now. But it is a well-known psychological and neurological fact that all human beings are also (very?) gregarious. We all need healthy doses of affirmation, community, respect, and a maintained sense of value… to name just four gregarious ingredients. Personally I have MANY tried & true compliments, for either gender, that have and do uplift the person; teachers must become masters with them. So to this post’s intended subject & audience, and as your ally here Ruth to be advocates against sexism & misogyny, let us offer to your readers possible yet appropriate alternatives by asking…

        What are 10-20 appropriate ways to verbally (and non-verbally?) compliment intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically that a woman finds acceptable and uplifting? Please do not leave any of the four areas out.

        Better? 🙂

        Like

        • Geeezzz, left out one single “/” in there (after I trust you with my life. /em) that messed up the entire comment. Sorry. lol

          Like

          • No worries. I’m pretty tied up so if I don’t get back to you today I will get back with you.

            I did want to take a minute, though, and express my apologies in my delivery. Those were my thoughts in general – not directly aimed at you per se. What I’m attempting to do is bring this around to a conversation about what it means to treat people with respect. Both genders, honestly. I know there are times when people are sexually attracted to others and the “rules” seem to fly out the window. But my reply to you earlier was really meant to serve as a springboard to the fact that instead of being seen as the “opposite sex” or the enemy if we see people as people and not objects this all might come a little easier.

            Does that make any sense?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Makes GREAT sense Ruth! And I want to make sure I recognize and own MY feelings & words when they’re wrong, misdirected, poorly conveyed, while also being an active participant in the discussions. Hence, I know too well I can get OVERLY detailed and microscopic — it’s a curse sometimes as well as a valued gift — but it manifests more with regard to important/critical subjects. Apologies as well as gratitude for yours and other’s patience with me! 🙂

            P.S. Am LOVING all the significant engagement! ❤

            Like

          • P.S.S. I’ve recently been told by a metaphysical professional that I might be an Empath, which honestly surprised me! If it’s true, it has only surfaced the last 3-4 years. *to self: Is it caused by being around children teaching?* ❓

            Like

        • Sorry, jumping in again to someone I don’t know, but why do you feel the need to compliment a woman’s physical appearance?

          I am far more interested in being complimented about my achievements than receiving some vacuous comment about my appearance.

          Like

          • Hi roughseas. I hope over time we do get to know each other a bit more! I see you’re now following my blog toward that end; thank you! When I get a chance I’ll do the same with your’s. 🙂

            Your question is valid given this subject. I’ve certainly learned through ALL of Ruth’s 3-4 posts on this topic & the comments-dialogue (& I’m sure also the final post she has in the works)…that I will continue to learn and better refine my compliments, PARTICULARLY online.

            Again, I want to avoid the recurring “trap” I keep walking into when I try hard to have & find appropriate compliments for ALL FOUR areas of a person’s being, male or female: their intelligence, their emotional traits, their spiritual awareness, and their sexual (or physical) characteristics. Over a few different posts & several comments here on Ruth’s blog, I’ve been attempting to point out that I personally feel ALL FOUR are equally important; one no more/no less than the others. This subject just happens to be regarding females and compliments given/received AND because I feel one, two, or three areas sometimes receive too much encouragement/uplifting when in reality (and IMHO) many people desire compliments in all four areas on any given day. It should fluctuate, yes, but one area should NOT (again IMO) be constantly denied!

            Here’s another angle roughseas — regarding specifically the physical/sexual area (since that’s the area you too are focusing on with me) I’ve dated many women who implicity or explicitely make known to me their discontentment or sorrow about certain physical detriments THEY see with themselves, and so are QUITE HAPPY to hear me compliment them on other physical beauties I notice or spin their perceived physical shortcoming into a positive. And honestly, most everyone has self-perceived physical/sexual shortcomings they wished they could change and others to notice OTHER physical/sexual gifts they possess to compensate. Therefore, I would not consider every physical/sexual compliment I give out to a person, in this case a woman, as a purely vacuous compliment. On the contrary, I try to look at others more holistically.

            Sometimes when I see an INBALANCE, especially on a sensitive subject such as this, I usually try to offer some rebalance. Unfortunately here, I didn’t express too well. LOL 😛

            I hope that made better sense?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Seems like the bottom line there is that the women feel the need for compliments or that you feel the need to give them. Big problem 🙂

            Like

          • Giving and receiving compliments — as I’ve most certainly learned on Ruth’s blog — is very relative, maybe almost random, as to when and where they should be given or not given, based on the person(s) and the environment you find yourselves.

            Yes, I do feel everyone likes to hear compliments every now & then, but they must not be over-used at the risk of dilution, or under-used at the risk of neglect. I’m referring to people we know, even good friends or significant-others.

            Big problem“? How so? Can you elaborate? 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Giving and receiving compliments is somewhat subjective which is why comments on personal appearance really shouldn’t be done to perfect strangers. I hear roughseas saying no personal appearance comments ever and I’m not sure I agree with that entirely, either.

            I’m wondering, though, did you not know that giving compliments was relative already, even among good friends? People are different and they place value on different things. A person who highly prizes their appearance might appreciate being complimented on it whereas it might not mean diddly squat to someone who could care less about appearance.

            Liked by 1 person

          • There’s a few various compliments I WILL give to total strangers, but they are indeed pinpoint-selective because in a major metropolitan area (like DFW), many a salesperson, beggar or homeless person has MASTERED the “approach” to start a motive-driven agenda. Hence, I will not freely give them out for those reasons, but on the same token I am courteous & friendly in public. As I’ve alluded to you before Ruth, I’m a people-person, an extrovert, and LOVE meeting new people, new cultures, new experiences — it’s definitely my DNA. Mom was/is that way too.

            To your final sentence, as a matter of fact the other day I offered a complete stranger help in moving his RV-rig some 100-yards. While doing it his dialect was harsh country (or as I refer to the brutal dialect “kuun-tree”) and he had a belly, with scruffy semi-dirty clothes on. He confirmed his character 10 mins later by inviting me to drink beer with his cousins that night. His cussing increased the more time I spent helping him & chatting with him. NOW HE did not need any other compliment from me other than we both shared how deeply Texan we both truly are: me an 8th generation, he a 9th… so in that regard, we complimented each other on our “common courtesy” by fellow Texians, i.e. original Anglo-Saxon immigrants here in peace WITH the Tejanos of Spain/Mexico.

            But as you point out Ruth, he probably didn’t require but one or two compliments. Now a female Texian? That might be different. 😉

            Like

          • But as you point out Ruth, he probably didn’t require but one or two compliments. Now a female Texian? That might be different. 😉

            Why would a female Texian be different? To what end?

            Like

          • Well, my wink at the end was indicative of my jesting, BUT… since you asked, I have 10 female cousins (Texians) and I’ve met many of their close female friends, AND I’ve met many other Tom-boyish females, and my experience has told me, they have less of a need for male affirmations or compliments. But they still do appreciate the compliments every now & then. As you’ve noted, it depends on the person and their background. 🙂

            Like

          • Big problem? How so? Can you elaborate? [Professor]

            Giving and receiving compliments is somewhat subjective which is why comments on personal appearance really shouldn’t be done to perfect strangers. I hear roughseas saying no personal appearance comments ever and I’m not sure I agree with that entirely, either. [Ruth]

            I’m interested in your elaboration of the big problem. I see the dynamic between needing to give compliments being a problem because if that’s the case the compliment is for self-gratification, not necessarily to gratify another. Maybe I’m missing some nuance here that you could explain. Like Professor Taboo I think [most] people like to be complimented. It’s not necessarily a need, but other people do like to be noticed and appreciated.[Ruth]

            Let me try and answer your comments and questions together as they are broadly addressing my ‘big problem’ statement.

            But firstly, I’ve relooked at what I wrote and can’t see where I said ‘no personal appearance comments ever’. I can see why you may have ‘heard’ it Ruth, but I don’t think I said it. Mainly because I know I do it, ie nice tie, matches your eyes, nice suit, nice jacket. Apart from the tie/eyes comment, they aren’t about the person, but about the clothes. Splitting hairs I know, but I’m not commenting on their physical appearance per se.

            OK, the big problem. I’ll break it down two ways. I’ll address self-gratification afterwards.

            The first one is basically a sexist/feminist/patriarchal society one. It’s fairly simple. In a patriarchal society women are judged primarily on their appearance (as a sex object) and are validated as such by comments that authorise and approve their compliance with the norm.

            Let me give an example. Some twenty years back, I had a rather nice Renault 19. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_19 Mine was the 16 valve ‘hot hatch’ version referred to in wiki. And as this was early 90s, we were still into short skirt, big shoulder power-dressing. No shoulder pads as mine were/are broad enough (literally and metaphorically). At the time, I was making my own suits, Vogue Designer Pattern, size ten. I tell the detail to point out how vain I was about my appearance. I’d made a rather nice Claude Montana suit with an asymmetrical jacket, and a very short skirt, that beautifully curved over my arse. Nice featured stitching too. The suit was the same green as the car, British Racing Green, or as it said in the car verte anglaise. To top off, or rather foot off, I had a nice pair of equally green shoes.

            So one day, I pulled up outside a job Partner was doing and got out of the car. Low slung hatch back, long legs first. There was a stunned silence as I beamed at everyone, totally unaware of my impact. Later, he told me how his mates had just said ‘Wow’. And I was pleased. Not for me, but for him, that his mates had approved of his sexually attractive woman. Also years ago, there was a UK prog called ‘This Life’. There was a memorable line in there (to me) where a woman said, ‘your legs can never be too long and your skirts can never be too short’. And that was me to a T. For whatever reason. Mix of reasons I suppose, primarily ambition I suspect. Because, women have to use their looks to get on. There aren’t a lot of short ugly women in top positions in business. There are one hell of a lot of short fat ugly four-eyed men.

            But back to the point, it is the norm for women to want to receive compliments about their appearance (validation) and for men to be expected to give them (validation, approval), according to patriarchal norms. We are all, men and women, conditioned into this because this is how we are brought up.

            The second issue, is similar, but without the patriarchal/sexist overtones, and it is about self-esteem. I think I read somewhere, Ruth, that you had lost weight and appreciated acknowledgement that you had made an effort to change your physical appearance. (Although that in itself is partially related to the patriarchal crap.) The question here however is, why do we want people to comment ie compliment us on our physical appearance. Why? Why can’t we be happy with our own sense of self-worth.

            And, complimenting for self-gratification. I think that’s a valid point too Ruth. But all it’s really doing us perpetuating the above dances. Maybe it’s time we acknowledged them.

            Like

          • Okay. I do see the distinction you’re making and, no, you didn’t say ‘no comments on personal appearance’. I was conflating the two. My error.

            I see your point about the scenario you related. I, too, have in the past felt proud for my partner when their mates approved of their choices.

            After reading your comments and thinking about them for a couple of days, though, I have more questions. I’m not sure I equate looking or feeling sexy with the patriarchal establishment. I like sex therefore I want my partner to desire sex with me and find me desirable. I don’t want that from just any ole body, though. But the converse is also true. I find my partner sexy as hell and desirable and I let him know it. Is this because of patriarchy or is this because I’m a human being? I’d like to think it’s because I’m a human being and as such am a sexual and sensual person. When I was subject to blatant patriarchy I didn’t like sex very much at all. It has only been since I shed the shackles of that mindset that I have felt free to really enjoy it – on my terms. When I was part of that whole submissive wife/patriarchal regime I, along with countless other women, really just endured sex because we thought we were there for the pleasure of our men. Now that I’m not part of that scene I get to find out what pleases me and what makes me feel good about myself.

            Yes, you did read that I had lost weight and yes, you did read that I appreciated acknowledgement that I had made an effort to change my life, not necessarily my physical appearance. My physical appearance was merely an outward manifestation of an inner change. I didn’t lose weight to be desirable to anyone else. I lost weight because I was unhealthy. I didn’t even set out to lose weight. I set out to change my life. And I did. For the better. So when anyone recognizes that, be it a man or a woman, I do appreciate it. I was and am perfectly happy with my own sense of accomplishment and self-worth. It’s just icing on the cake if anyone else notices it. I don’t necessarily want or need these compliments, but I’m also not offended by them and I do appreciate them. Moreover, it isn’t just women who lose weight or make lifestyle changes to become healthier and it isn’t just women who want encouragement when they are trying to do so. I’ll give an example: My exhusband was quite a bit overweight. He had been overweight when I married him but over the course of the time we were married he became obese with high blood pressure and diabetes. He tried all sorts of diets, but because he didn’t address the root cause of his obesity, nothing worked. Then he had gastric banding done. He lost quite a bit of weight and, yes, he did need compliments from people – men and women – for encouragement. It’s kind of like being addicted to drugs. No, it’s pretty much the same. It’s food addiction. We would encourage an addict of any other kind with compliments on how well they’re doing.

            I think there’s a delicate dance here where perhaps we might go a bit too far in trying to shun our own appearance and sexuality. I also think that men enjoy being desired as much as women do.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m interested in your elaboration of the big problem. I see the dynamic between needing to give compliments being a problem because if that’s the case the compliment is for self-gratification, not necessarily to gratify another. Maybe I’m missing some nuance here that you could explain. Like Professor Taboo I think [most] people like to be complimented. It’s not necessarily a need, but other people do like to be noticed and appreciated.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. In previous blog posts of mine I’ve looked at this notion of individuality. From what I’ve read and learned from my amateur psychology investigations is that individuality is more or a less an illusion. Well…not completely…but look at it this way: From the moment we are born we have certain instincts to meet our needs, but ultimately we learn behavior, or how to go about many of those instinctual needs from watching people. We are all slightly different genetically and thus we are unique, and that genetic code influences the type of behaviors we may want to imitate, but ultimately our sense of individuality is something that develops. We see others around us and we begin to notice how we are different. My mom acts a certain way…my dad acts a certain way…now I have characteristics of both…I am unique. I’m an individual. Where am I going with this? A fair question. 🙂 My point is that I think that other people are extremely important for us to understand our behavior. So we might be great and seeing the flaws in others, but not so good as you state seeing them in ourselves. But I think that’s natural. It’s up to the other people in our life to help us become aware of our flaws. Ultimately our sense of individuality is a two edged sword because while it displays our uniqueness making us noticeable by other humans, it also has the tendency to make us feel like we are something special. Which we sort of are, but we really aren’t. I equivocate it to the hipster movement. 🙂 By themselves they look really unique. When I went to a concert one time where there were a 1000 of them I realized how all these people in an attempt to look different from the masses all ended up kind of looking the same themselves. So we have individuality, but I think sometimes we forget what got us to the point of recognizing our individuality and that was watching and trying to understand others. So I don’t think we should feel too bad about not being aware of our own flaws, as long as you are committed to being open to the idea that you are not perfect and want to actually strive each day to be more than you are you will. But to do that we do have to actual engage people that are different from ourselves and learn how to have more meaningful conversations with people. Have arguments that respect another persons point of view rather than ones that turn into abuse. Easier said than done sometimes because we are also emotional creatures.

    Another thing that would really help us is some education about cognitive biases. Simply learning about those has made me more aware of possible blind spots. The oft quoted study that was done illustrates this quite well when people were asked where they thought they ranked in the population of drivers in terms of how good their driving was. The mean of the study was 75%. most people believed they were above average with the mode in the 75th percentile. This obviously cannot be. One of the biggest cognitive biases we have is the self-worth bias. Perhaps it’s not surprising, it sounds like something that might be beneficial to our survival as an individual, but we are also a social species and thus we cannot deny the importance of our interactions with others either.

    Also in my blogs I have tried to identify what I think “essential traits” of every human should be. One of those is self-reflection. We need to spend some time seriously examining ourselves. Words we’ve used, things we’ve done, things we want to do. I feel this is sort of the value of meditating but not really in the “om” sense, but taking time to just pause and try to think critically about yourself, but do so hopefully with an air of forgiveness that we are not perfect. Having a kid really opens yours eyes up to your behavior a lot and sometimes even things you indulge yourself in…might not be things you want your child to necessarily carry on. 🙂 But recently I have realized that I am far too idealistic and that while I don’t think ideals are important sometimes you have to be a little more practical and grounded. Now after all that, to give an example more directly related to your fine post, in the past I know I used to use the word “gay” in my speech and say things like “what they took that show off the air…that’s gay”. And of course I would say I don’t have a problem with gay people, and I would really mean it, but sometimes that isn’t the point. As I became intellectually aware of how that expression sends the wrong message and started to have a lot more gay friends in my life. I realized how offensive it is. Personally I am not afraid to offend anyone, because people can be offended by all sorts of things, but actually become more aware of the things that are so pervasive and ubiquitous (my big words for the day) are some of the more dangerous ones I have eliminated it out of my speech. More recently I also eliminated the word “pussy” from my language even though I only every used it to joke around. But I’ve come to realize it’s not a joke and while I may mean them jokingly…maybe others won’t. Maybe my son won’t. Sometimes people are being weak and I want to encourage them to be stronger…but there are better ways to do it, and I can be funny without using the word I’m pretty sure. 🙂

    Sorry for TLDR response. You are an interesting person. I’d rather just sit down and have a conversation with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So I don’t think we should feel too bad about not being aware of our own flaws, as long as you are committed to being open to the idea that you are not perfect and want to actually strive each day to be more than you are you will. But to do that we do have to actual engage people that are different from ourselves and learn how to have more meaningful conversations with people. Have arguments that respect another persons point of view rather than ones that turn into abuse. Easier said than done sometimes because we are also emotional creatures.

      Well stated Sworn Gill! *applauds* I would read your comment with eagerness if it had been 3-times longer! 😉

      Specifically, “But to do that we do have to actual engage people that are different from ourselves and learn how to have more meaningful conversations with people.” …Oooooo, that is SO my language and character — diversity is frequently messy, if that makes sense. But the mess can be made FUN!

      Another thing that would really help us is some education about cognitive biases. Simply learning about those has made me more aware of possible blind spots.

      One or two episodes of my favorite science show Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, covered exactly that subject. Today my recall is a bit sketchy, but in their episode, the researching British professor was polling a class of males & females about their own self-perception of achieved virtues and ethics. Intriguingly ALL the students viewed themselves well above average. But statistically and therefore a little more objectively, the data and world news reveals otherwise. The show then moved to a study of human behavior when (apparently) alone; no one present, visually or within earshot, with various age groups between 6-7 years of age up to 26-27 years. Those results were utterly fascinating and comical! Another good point Sworn Gill.

      Also in my blogs I have tried to identify what I think “essential traits” of every human should be. One of those is self-reflection. We need to spend some time seriously examining ourselves. Words we’ve used, things we’ve done, things we want to do. I feel this is sort of the value of meditating but not really in the “om” sense, but taking time to just pause and try to think critically about yourself, but do so hopefully with an air of forgiveness that we are not perfect. Having a kid really opens yours eyes up to your behavior a lot and sometimes even things you indulge yourself in…might not be things you want your child to necessarily carry on. 🙂

      Yes! I journal but also blog like I’m journaling. Whether that’s good or bad for the cyber-public, I haven’t decided. 😮 LOL Continuing… your word “gay” and the weaning it of it from your vocabulary is the same as me AMPUTATING fully back in high school any use or hint of the word “faget” from mine, AND followed by tactfully asking anyone who uses it in conversation with me to refrain from it in every instance. Of course, I am more than happy to explain why — socially it means the same demeaning derogatory connotation as (excuse me here) “nigger” did in the 50’s thru the 80’s.

      Great addition to the discussion and subject Sworn Gill. I’d like to hear/read more from you Sir. Guess that means I’ll need to hop-over to your blog, eh? 😉

      Like

      • Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

        Oh I remember using faget it elementary school. It didn’t even have the slightest clue what it meant. I literally remember thinking that this word makes no sense but when you want just call somebody a bad word. I also remember Gaylord being another one that we would use to call someone names. Had no clue what it mean. Those words kind of just died away naturally like they were a fad. I don’t remember anyone telling me not to say those words, I just stopped using them thankfully. Probably because I just always had a good group of friends all my life. But it’s weird and sad how these words filter down to the youngest children. It’s like somewhere there is just such a hateful human being that he has passed it down to their sweet innocent child, and a child just trying to imitate their parent like all children do, uses it to call someone a name, without even understanding what it means. And then feeding on those young social animals natural desire to fit in, all of a sudden all the children are using. These seeds of hate are powerful, but luckily their are seeds of love too. And love brings healing, and I believe healing will win in the end. An atheist has to have a few beliefs too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • And of course I would say I don’t have a problem with gay people, and I would really mean it, but sometimes that isn’t the point.

      Of course! We all do these little things unconsciously and regularly that reinforce sexism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc. We would say we don’t mean it that way and at the heart of it we might not but how we mean it is not the point. We may examine ourselves and find that we really don’t harbor these ideas about “the others” but we perpetuate the ideas by participating.

      As I became intellectually aware of how that expression sends the wrong message and started to have a lot more gay friends in my life. I realized how offensive it is. Personally I am not afraid to offend anyone, because people can be offended by all sorts of things, but actually become more aware of the things that are so pervasive and ubiquitous (my big words for the day) are some of the more dangerous ones I have eliminated it out of my speech.

      This is the point. Because you don’t harbor those ideas, because you became aware of how it made the people that these terms are apply to feel, because you became self-aware that you use these terms you decided that rather than hurt another with careless words you’d rather show compassion and respect. This is the direction the conversation needs to head. Also I’m pretty sure you don’t want your son to say at least one of those words. 😀

      No apologies necessary. You always write such thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. I really enjoy reading them.

      Like

      • “Because you don’t harbor those ideas, because you became aware of how it made the people that these terms are apply to feel, because you became self-aware that you use these terms you decided that rather than hurt another with careless words you’d rather show compassion and respect. This is the direction the conversation needs to head. ”

        These words will keep me warm for days. Thank you Ruth. 🙂

        Like

  12. Pingback: Blind Value | Professor Taboo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s