Saturday 30 March 2013

Too Old for This Shit

I find myself being challenged to a race by a 4-year-old girl on a push bike. She claims she is faster than a car. In fact, she says, she is faster than a motor car. What possible chance do I stand against a 4-year-old girl who is faster than a motor car?

She starts off before me. And I have to start running quickly to catch her up. I catch her up. Indeed I go past her but somehow she wins. It’s almost as if just before we reach the finishing line, a lamppost, I have stopped to allow her to win. She is over the moon. Not in a horrible way, no gloating, but she doesn’t mind reminding me how fast she is: faster than a racing car.


But later on I will see a dark side to this undeniably talented cyclist. Enjoying a well-earned drink after our exertions (me: Adnam’s Lighthouse, her: squash* ) I witness the female cyclist’s dark side when her brother asks her for a candy cigarette and she refuses to share, saying she needs it for the energy. Sure, it is probably what makes her the talent she is but is it too much of a cost?

*I always thought there were lots of flavours of squash, is this a northern thing? I asked what I was getting for the two children in the party, the dad said squash, I asked the barman for squash, and he just gave me a light-citrus coloured drink.

Isn’t that what she said?

On the train home I was catching up with some articles about feminism, as you do. I don’t know what kind of feminist I am, I think I am a kind of one though. I certainly wasn’t raised by some prototype Germaine Greers and looking back there was a lot of behaviours that troubled me about the behaviours between men and women in the environment with vomited me up, with women certainly being subjugated in some ways. One thing is certain: I didn’t think the world was a place where women should do one thing and men should do another, certainly not a place where they weren’t allowed to do things men could do. (Possible exception to all this is football where I couldn’t for the life of me find a girl who could play football or talk about football they way boys could – however my sample group were about nine girls at St James Primary School and certainly don’t represent a significant enough representation for me to base values on, as I think I said to my headmaster at the time when I asked her for a research grant to extend my study.)

As I grew up I tended to think (for myself) that the males I saw were arseholes and the women were the best ones. As I grew up further I was quite in awe of women, something I would get over, and definitely thought they were above me to the extent it quite depressed me. I got over that too. But that was mainly a socio-sexual thing and I didn’t really get over it, it just makes me sound better if I say I did. As grown up as I now I am – and I still feel a long way from having completed THAT journey – I am with feminism as I am with anyone being suppressed: I think it’s wrong. I think everyone should have the same rights as everyone else. So, I think I must be some kind of feminist. But I wouldn’t go on about it as I kind of cringe when men are aggressively vocal about being a feminist, as if women need men to be a feminist to help them or something (I know this isn’t the case, and actually says a lot about me).

Anyway, that’s the alarmingly boring background to me asking someone to help me with explaining this:

Sadie Smith wrote this about the nature of some aggressive and exclusive band of feminists on social networks; someone on Twitter highlighted this (kind of) reaction piece to Smith’s article. But I can’t see what the reaction piece is saying. And I want to. I don’t want to belittle it or criticise it. I want to see what I am missing. It appears to me that the latter article just agrees with Smith’s piece on the whole, just preceding the agreement with a paragraph about how Smith is wrong and it ignores the issue of male violence being the real problem – and that Smith ignores it.

I don’t think Smith is ignoring one thing by writing about another. I am not saying there is no link and relationship between all the things but Smith is talking about a solidarity between women being more important than criticising people for asking questions or being confused about some issues. The reaction piece’s other odd claim is that Smith’s article takes a tabloid position: maybe I should start reading tabloids again if this is the way they are talking about things these days.

This reminds me of what I wrote about socialism/the left recently and the fighting and squabbling over the way in which something is said or the minutiae prevents people from uniting against the real enemy/problem. And I don’t mean these two blogs. Well I do kind of mean the second one which seems bizarrely to frame itself as opposing Smith before going on to say what Smith has said: there are some horrible bullies quashing some people who really just want answers/information/debate – but are generally speaking on the same side.

It just concerns me that things I care about (good people being fucked over) and lots of people seem to care about aren’t really coming to anything because intelligent people away from the right (and centre to be fair) seem to be more concerned with being right about absolutely everything and attacking like-minded souls.

It’s probably the fault of the internet or, more specifically Twitter.

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