I am so annoyed with the hypocrisy surrounding some “forward” thinkers. I’ve recently started watching a reality show slash doccie on weddings in the traveller/ romani comunities, called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. On one of the episodes the show deals with the practice of “grabbing” whereby a traveller lad, having eyed a young lass at a wedding, literally grabs and drags the girl outside kicking and screaming where he tries to coax a kiss from the girl. Not wanting to disappoint my advertising and linguistics lecturer, I scoured google for either background info or some alternate opinions on this matter. I soon realised I was not alone as I soon found myself on a few message boards reading the distraught messages from women (and men) who felt that this violent practice was demeaning to women and somehow felt that these poor Romani women were in need of enlightenment. I must admit, some of the footage in the show showed a young man literally pulling a girl along by the hair. I don’t think I could ever agree to that.

Among the articles I read on grabbing, I found one on Jezebel. What caught my eye, however, was another piece on Men’s Magazines. The post titled, Can you Tell the Difference between a Men’s Magazine and a Rapist, recounts the findings of research done by the University of Surrey. Quotes were taken from interviews with rapists as well as quotes from various British lad mags, mixed and presented to men who had to identify the origin of the quote. Not surprisingly (or there would be no story at all) men were unable to tell the difference, and having read the quotes myself, I can’t blame them! I am not condemning men, but instead the tripe the media is feeding them.

The part that shocks me most is that, as I recall, many of my friends, and I often read men’s magazines such as FHM, when I was a Uni student, and so did our boyfriends, and we found ourselves to be very progressive, in touch with our sexuality and unashamed. We thought we were liberalized. Along with these enlightened ideas and having left my mother’s nest to pursue a theatre major, my cleavage became a symbol of freedom and power. What a load of baloney!

Has our progressive view become so askew? If we so readily condemn Traveller dating ritual, shouldn’t we be sweeping in our own yard also? What does it help to have benefits in the workplace, strong female role models and a hard-line approach to sexual harrassment when, in the mind of the “male” media, statements such as those made in these published materials are somehow deemed acceptable?

I am convinced, and eternally grateful that I have reached the next level of enlightenment. I am more an empowered woman today than ever before. I choose to keep my caboose inside my clothes, in much the same way that I don’t count money in public and my eyes on those backwards thinking men who still open doors and treat all people courteously. I am an enlightened anti-feminist, non chauvenist who believes in mutual respect and honour. I’d much rather be a loved and respected housewife than a successful career woman with a boyfriend who thinks my bad days can be fixed with a good sympathy throw down. Morality has become a curse word and those who still want to be viewed as “good” people have replaced it with ethics. We condemn sensorship but complain when others practice their right to speak or practice their culture freely. We’ve set ourselves up for a zeitgeist of confusion…and we’ve armed ourselves with clubs and pebbles to justify our cause. Our opinions have become more precious to us than the people around us. Why we have to pendulum between unhealthy extremes I’ll never understand, but I’ll try to remain calibrated on my m&r@l%t$, to teach my children that life is precious and to therefore speak it.

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