If you have read any of the posts on this blog or know me, you won’t be surprised when I say that I talk a lot about feminism and politics. I bring it up a lot in my everyday life too. I can’t help but bring it up when I’m watching a movie that has no women, or when I’m reading a book with manipulative ideas surrounding politics. And although it’s natural for me to think about stuff like that (because how can I ignore it), I often get asked why I have to bring it up. Why do I have to “make everything so serious”? Why do I have to make everyone else uncomfortable? Why do I have to point out that the story we are reading in class has hints of white privilege? I’m asked these questions almost every day. I’m asked by my peers, by society, and sometimes, by my mind. But the question I want to ask is, How can I not talk about these important things, whether or not they are uncomfortable?
what does “uncomfortable” mean? When I say uncomfortable, I mean topics that are uncomfortable to discuss because that might be criticizing our own culture or acknowledging our faults. Things like our country’s past with slavery or Columbus. Or talking about our bodies without the fear of shame for talking about it. Or firmly saying you don’t want to go to a public bathroom alone because of a very real fear of being kidnapped, or worse. We avoid pointing these things out and discussing them because they can lead to uncomfortable conversations. Those conversations, while uncomfortable, are necessary if we are going to ever do something about it.
the other side. As always, it’s important to look at multiple sides of things and topics. To look at more than one point of view and justifications. I think that some people can’t believe that things like general social injustice are real if they don’t experience it. For me, it’s easy to try to fight for reform, but for others that don’t have the constant thought of the reality of the world, it can be harder to fight. In addition to that, I think that some people are raised in atmospheres where uncomfortable topics are ignored. Understandably, those people are raised to form prejudices against rising against the standards and “sticking it to the man”. However, while I may try to come up with ways to understand others, I want to be clear that there are so many circumstances that I don’t understand. I don’t want to attack anyone but I also don’t want to make excuses for anyone either. I just want to promote and discuss where we can all talk with open minds.
in school. That white privilege example I mentioned earlier is what made me want to write this post. We read a story about a (white and rich) man who almost failed through high school, managed to go to college, and then realized that he should’ve put more effort into school. He went on to join the Peace Corps and became an author. I by no means want to demean him or his story, but while everyone else saw this as an inspiring and validating story, I couldn’t relate. In my perspective, I saw this as a perfect example of how different life for him and me are. I have privilege. I acknowledge that I have a form of privilege. However, I wanted to acknowledge his privilege and the opportunities he had because of it. Opportunities that if I had failed high school and got drunk every day, I would never have. As I pointed this out in our discussion about the moral of the story, no one said anything. I got loathing glares from people.
why i can’t ignore it. I can’t ignore things. I can’t sit still and be quiet while I see blatantly unjust things go unspoken. I can’t go through life not acknowledging these really important things that have major impacts on my life. Not just my life, but everyone’s life. Feminism, politics, and social justice are all extremely important to me.
why am I writing this? Yes, it has a little to do with that experience at school, but more than that, I need to show myself that I’m proud of myself for addressing the tense topics. I needed to show myself that I’m not doing anything wrong and that I am justified in my opinions. More than that, I wanted to share this for other people who might be battling with their methods of defiance of society and the backlash of it.
We made it to the end of this post! Yeah, I had a lot to say. And I mention this in almost every post but I hope this helps even one person figure out their own opinion or explore another’s (mine). I hope that this wasn’t just a therapeutic experience for me, but also a way of promoting a larger discussion where we can finally discuss the uncomfortable things. More than discuss, but acknowledge them.
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