I was with one of my sisters tonight. While we were chatting she mentioned that I had said something strange in my last blog post. I wrote about an experience in my teen years where I was called “the one with the looks” while another was labelled the “one with the personality”. She wasn’t sure why that was hurtful to me. After I explained th implication that I had no personality she said “of course, as if you were an empty vase”. Exactly! But it brought us to the conversation of finding ourselves playing into those sexists views – even though we identify as feminists. You know the ones, referring to a surgeon as him or getting caught up in looks that we claim are irrelevant. It’s so damn hard to escape. We are in a society that identifies women a certain way, that identifies racially visible people a certain way, that applauds bullying in many ways. And now and then you find it creeping into your consciousness unwanted, unbidden, unwelcome. And you realize that after all, you are part of the society that you at times detest.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t go by unnoticed so often. You catch yourself thinking in those ways that you would have sworn you’d shaken off many, many years ago. You catch yourself and then more awareness enters into your consciousness. And then, hopefully, we as a group, as a society, start to get that little bit better. Hopefully we start to pull the average in the other direction every time we catch ourselves participating in all the “isms”. And hopefully, we don’t end up denying the behaviour in shame, but put it under the bright light and allow the healing to happen.
No more hiding, we see it for what it is and keep practicing until we not only do or say the right thing, but actually think and feel the right thing. There’s no stopping us once we hold ourselves accountable without shame.