Thursday, 14 October 2010

random thoughts

random thoughts for today:

isn't it funny that people who would normally be the first to ridicule feminists and the issues they advocate for, suddenly take staunch feminist positions and carry on endlessly about equality, when an element of race appears. or an element of religion. normally, such people would argue vociferously about, for example, changes to the consent laws to ensure more successful prosecutions in rape cases. they would be the first to try to convince you that there is no gendered aspect to domestic violence. or they would absolutely deny that there is anything misgynistic about pornography, & it's all ok because the women are participating voluntarily. but start talking about the burqa or tapu or anything similar, and suddenly they're all in your face, telling you that equality for women is something we do here. yeah, i'm pretty tired of that.

thinking about the chilean miners who have now been rescued & the huge international interest in this story, i wonder why. i can understand the chileans taking a very keen interest, but why has it captured the hearts of people around the world? maybe because there are so few good news stories like this, maybe because the world is so full of tragedies on such a massive scale, that it's nice to see something with a happy ending. maybe because we can't bear to face the reality of people dying, we feel helpless to fix the suffering, so we focus on an operation where there is some element of control. an operation where hard work does lead to positive results. it's uplifting to watch families being reunited, to see determination lead to survival. it means we don't have to think about the people elsewhere who don't survive their circumstances, at least for a little while.

then there's the story in the herald today, about an indian beauty pagent held in april (but only apparently newsworthy because of the furore over the broadcaster who will not be named). there were complaints by some indians that the winner didn't look indian enough, because she had blond hair & was very fair - a result of her being of mixed heritage. yes, racism is bad regardless of the target (it's a bit of a side issue that i think beauty pageants are bad too). the underlying message of the piece is "see, you indians are racist too, why do you complain about you know who", but seriously, it's just not the same. what i mean is that it's not the same in impact compared to a broadcaster on national television speaking against a minority group, not that it's less wrong. here's something i wrote last year in regards to hone harawira, which explains what i mean:

there's one point though, that these complainants may be missing. the impact of mr harawira's speech will, in actual fact, have little effect on them other than the emotional distress it causes them. no-one will hurl abuse at them in the streets as a result of that speech. they will not face barriers to employment, nor find it difficult when trying to get a rental house to live in. they won't face fear or restriction in their daily life.

so yes, nice try herald, but it really looks just a little desperate.

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