I would make a terrible feminist

Now before everyone gets all up in my business for making that statement..please read the post.  I would make a terrible feminist, a terrible activist, a terrible lot of things actually. I recently read a post written by a friend of mine about his little girl, and that’s what got me thinking about this topic.  In this post he refers to an article written by a feminist:

“Here is an example from Devorah Blachor’s New York Times article titled “Turn Your Princess-Obsessed Toddler Into a Feminist in Eight Easy Steps“: “Propose that the hatred that Anastasia and Drizella feel toward Cinderella is not the fault of the step sisters, so much as it represents a complete indictment of Western society and its attitudes toward feminine beauty. Suggest that all three women might be victims of the same impossible societal pressures. Work in this timeless Naomi Wolf gem: “The contemporary ravages of the beauty backlash are destroying women physically and depleting us psychologically.”

So, here is my issue with what she proposes.  While it might be true that society often discriminates against less than beautiful women, do we then condone or justify the fact that the 2 ugly step sisters were mean to Cinderella simply because she was beautiful and they hated her for it? I mean surely that’s just doing the exact same thing in reverse? And how does that teach a little girl anything but totally skewed values?

Here’s the thing…when everyone is getting their knickers in a knot about the fact that only 10 of the 50 journos invited to an event were female, I sit in the corner rolling my eyes…loudly. I have many reasons for that and I’m going to try to explain at least some it to you. I don’t believe in women’s rights. THERE I said it.  The simple fact is…I don’t.  What I do however believe in is equal rights.

True, historically (and often still today) females have been severely discriminated against purely because they weren’t male. The same is true for skin colour and many other things…..And this should be fixed.  But to let the pendulum swing in the complete opposite direction and to therefore allow women certain benefits for the pure and simple reason that they are female does not solve this problem…it just creates a new one, building on the already existing problem.  All this serves to achieve is to make sure that a bunch of idiots who can’t do the job are placed in positions of power, which very quickly escalates into chaos. How ridiculous is that?

The problem won’t be fixed until a balance can be achieved…a balance where nobody is discriminated against.  I don’t want to be chosen to do something because I’m female. I want to be chosen to do something because I’m good at it and I deserve it.  I don’t want to constantly fight off people’s opinions because they believe I got something for the pure and simple reason that I’m female.  I’ve been told on many occasions that my opinions would be different if I had ever been the victim of discrimination.  NEWSFLASH: I work in completely and utterly male dominated world where the general male opinion is that I have hair, boobs and a bum and I wear high heels and therefore I HAVE to be stupid, my opinions don’t matter, my ideas are never good, I should be bringing them coffee and I can’t ever be as effective as they are. (Please realise that while I refer to the general male opinion I most certainly do not include all males)

The kicker here is that while it is frustrating and while I have to work twice as hard to prove myself, I kick ass at my job. I’m good at what I do and I constantly prove that. And while it would be nice to be treated as an equal by all my male counterparts I refuse to be treated differently or better or to be given a promotion because the percentage of females in the profession isn’t high enough. I want the promotion because I deserve it.

So here’s what I propose….equal rights.  Give promotions and jobs to the most deserving candidates based on qualification, experience and compatibility.  Give it to the hard worker who towers over all the competition because that is the person who deserves it, regardless of whether that person is male or female.  Sex, race, skin colour, etc should never even feature in this decision.  So returning to my scenario about the 10 out of 50 journos being female….send the 50 most deserving journos, or the 50 most well-known journos or the 50 journos with the biggest reach.  Or randomly select them. But for crying in a bucket please don’t ever send me to an event for the pure and simple reason that I’m female and exclude someone who deserves that spot about a million times more than me. THAT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The above only serves as the tip of the iceberg as to why I’d be a terrible feminist. The fact is, I also like it when a man opens doors for me, offers to carry a heavy package, offers his seat to me when there are no other seats available and allows me to walk through a door first. Why you may ask.  Well while everyone is freaking out because they feel like the guys are saying they can’t do it themselves, I’m standing over here going: “Thanks dude!” I feel respected and cherished, I immediately assume that the guy probably has impeccable manners, that he treats his mom like solid gold and that one day he will move mountains to make his wife smile. (yes yes, I realise this isn’t ALWAYS true, but you get my point) You see, my dad does all these things for my mom, and whenever I’m around he does them for me too.  And when a guy does these things he automatically scores points in my mind, because he is a gentleman. And we could really do with more gentlemen in this world, except that the few that we have are almost too scared to be nice to women because they get accosted by the feminists.

And the kicker.  If one day I should be blessed with a little girl I will tell the feminists to stuff it. If she wants to be a fairy princess and wear pink tutus and crowns she may, and if she would like to do so while yielding a sword or a light saber I will cheer her on and if she chooses books and jeans over tutus and crowns I will applaud her choices and encourage her to be the best damn princess/warrior/bookworm/superwoman she can be. And If ever I have a little boy I will teach him to be nice to little girls, to respect them, to see them as equals, to understand that nobody is better than anyone else, to open doors for all females, to offer his seat for the little old lady and to let even the most insignificant looking girl walk through the door ahead of him. I will teach him that he never has to apologize for being male. Because one day my child will be one kickass gentleman.

So hate me if you will and call me what you want. But the cycle of discrimination will never stop if we keep swinging the pendulum back and forth from one extreme to the next. At some point someone needs to reach out and bring it to a standstill right smack bang in the middle. Equal rights for ALL!

P.S.  Guys, I realise that this is my opinion and other people have different opinions…and that’s ok.  Imagine how boring life would be if we all thought about things exactly the same way.  I also realise that while I’ve expressed my thoughts here this is only the tip of the ice berg and does not include all my reasons or arguments for making certain statements.  If I were to include it all here you’d be reading one post for WEEKS.

Dear Negative people

Sometimes I wonder how many of us stop to think about what we say/tweet/blog.  I wonder if some people even realise just how negative, whiney and full of complaints they have become.

I’m (mostly) a very positive person.  And even though my job often makes me cynical with regards to trusting people and just how screwed up the justice system is everywhere, I tend to be the person who sees silver linings, generally sounds annoyingly chirpy and also the one who gets stupidly happy at the tiniest things.  Don’t get me wrong…some days I too feel down in the dumps, some days I complain and some days I whine (especially when I’m sick…I’m completely miserable and pitiful when i’m sick) but this is not an everyday occurrence. And everyone is entitled to complain or a whine or to a negative day from time to time.

But I’ve noticed that more and more people are constantly negative, constantly complaining, constantly whining and constantly a pain in my ass.  Every single word that flows out of their mouths/fingers laced with the toxin more commonly known as negativity. If you let it run your life for too long you stop realising that you’re being negative, you fail to recognize the amazing things in your life and you spread negativity to the people around you.  You become an increasingly horrible person to be around.

There are few things that annoy me as much as someone who has amazing people in abundance, amazing opportunities and just honestly so many blessing rained on them only for them to not once be grateful, not once say anything positive or happy…just negative negative negative!  The sad part is that the external parties are not the only ones to notice.  These amazing people who you have in your life…they notice it too.  They feel that you don’t value them and that you take them for granted, because if you’re this miserable all the time, surely the people who surround you must feel that it is somehow their fault? And not only that..spending too much time with a negative person is emotionally draining, exhausting and quite frankly unpleasant and because it is so toxic, some of these people will, in time, also become negative. A negative person is also often extremely self-centered.  Everything is a crisis, everything is horrible and in everything they ARE the victim, not because they’re actually the victim, but because they choose to act like the victim. There are days when I feel like saying “Get your head out of your ass, it’s not a hat” (to quote Pitch Perfect).  I mean if your head is up there to begin with, I suppose it makes sense that you have such a crappy outlook on life.

After putting up with a lot of the negativity from a lot of people over time I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to do what makes me happy.  I need to, at least to an extent, distance myself from the negative people in my life. Guys, I love you dearly, but realise for once that life is not that bad.  Make a point of noticing at least one good thing a day, because I can guarantee you that your life does not suck, you just choose to see it that way.

Love
Ruby
xxxxxx

Dear Ignoramus

I realise that none of us know everything or at least something about everything…it’s just not possible.  But what used to just annoy me has become a giant festering thing inside of me.  Please, for the love of apple pie…stop spreading your opinion about something that you CLEARLY know nothing about, as fact.  The sad part is that other ignorant people will grab what you stating as a fact and run with it because they don’t know any better and so begins the snowball effect of ignorance.

I’m so tired of people who think they know everything about everything.  So tired of people who start a debate or an uproar because they have a rather wayward opinion on a topic they know nothing about.  Sure, you’re allowed to have an opinion, and you’re even allowed to discuss it.  But don’t act like an arrogant idiot and a) spread it as fact or b) be indignant when people take you on about it.  If you want to start a debate at least be sure that you’ve checked your facts and done some research on the topic.  The same goes for jumping on some band wagon.  Boy, do people LOVE band wagons.  Most days I sit here in my quiet little world and wish the band wagons would just spontaneously burst into flames or something and take all its passengers with it.   If you’re going to jump on the band wagon at least make sure you know what the situation really is before going about and possibly ruining someone’s life/reputation/business.

Don’t be the Ignoramus.

Regards
Ruby

 

Dear license renewal people

On Monday morning I decided to embark on an adventure.  I had to renew my driver’s license.  Fun right? So after I spent the morning sleeping through 3 alarms, setting off my house alarm, knocking my shoulder alarmingly hard against a door frame and launching a mad search for my ID book which suddenly decided to disappear I finally ventured to your offices.

Your staff was less than friendly from the get go.  No clear directions on where you are supposed to go or who you are supposed to speak to could be found.  After pulling a ditzy blonde move some other victims of the system indicated where I had to go wait in line.  It was a LOOOOONG line.  I was quite happy to stand and wait my turn…but then I was instructed to “SIT DOWN!!!” rather loudly.  I gave the filthy, sweat and germ infested fabric coated chairs a swift once over and politely declined, stating that I’d rather stand.  A rather intense tongue lashing quickly changed my mind and I found myself balancing right on the edge of the chair, trying my best not to actually touch anything with my bare skin and cursing myself for wearing a short little dress.

But this was only the start.  It was HOT and there was not a fan or an aircon in sight.  I feel for the staff…I really do…it can’t be easy having to work in those conditions..but trust me..they sure as hell made sure we understood what an absolute pain it was for them to work there O_o.  After not moving at all for what seemed like an eternity, the line finally started moving.  This meant more filthy chairs, more balancing acts and, in an attempt not to be bored to death, chatting with the people sitting around me.  I was then shouted at for talking to much by one of the people working there…REALLY??

When it was nearly my turn for eye tests etc. I had the unique opportunity to tweet the following:
(Arch being catch of course) Yeah that was pleasant…NOT.  I had absolutely no idea how to react.  Do I ask him what the hell he’s doing? Do I shout and throw a little tantrum and risk getting shouted at again? Do I make a joke about it?  I just didn’t know how to deal with it…but was luckily saved from having to deal with said neighbour for much longer when it was my turn.

I smiled all friendly like, said “Hi” and started asking the guy behind the table a question.  Right in the middle of my question he started talking.  Then proceeded to shout at me saying: “Stop talking when I’m talking!!!”.  Excuse me??? I was talking FIRST! I think you could literally HEAR my jaw dropping when he followed that up with a “Now be quiet!”.  Really? Firstly…you interrupted me and then you shout at me??? What the hell?  I could have sworn I had walked into a parallel universe when I entered that building.

So I promptly snapped my mouth shut and listened to his instructions very carefully.  Pull the little lever in the direction of the solid line.  That shouldn’t be too hard right? Except that he informed me I needed glasses and failed the eyetest completely.  It was at this point I finally snapped, figured out he explained the procedure to me incorrectly and then told him in no uncertain terms that he better allow me to do the eye test AGAIN or I would make the rest of his human life a complete and utter misery.  I was allowed to retake the test…my eyesight, as 5 years ago, is perfect.

I was then sent to a new line in order to pay…oh joy! another line of dirty, sweaty, germy, fabric covered seats….at this point in time I was tired of being surrounded by freaks taking pictures of my feet, the heat and being shouted at…I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The payment line went smoothly and quickly except for one incident where the girl working in front stepped out to shout at EVERYONE waiting in line telling us that we’re useless because ONE guy didn’t have his R300 ready and waiting when he got to the front.  He had to actually take it out of his wallet… SCANDAL!

So guys…please…train your staff…send them on a people skill course…clean your waiting area….allow people to stand if they so choose and for goodness sake install some aircons or fans in that place!

Regards
Ruby
xxx

Dear Diary

I learned a couple of things this weekend.  It wasn’t pleasant…in fact…it was awful, mostly….

1.  People are cruel
2.  Being snubbed by people who used to call themselves your friends hurts
3.  It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked to get where you are…some people will always try to break it down
4.  No matter what you do…for some people it’s just never good enough
5.  It hurts when people who were once close to you takes everything you’ve worked so hard for because you were working towards a dream and with one foul swoop of their tongues diminish it to superficial things you do to impress superficial people
6.  People who claim to be non-judgemental can be awfully judgemental
7.  No matter how many times you tell yourself it doesn’t matter and no matter how well you KNOW that you shouldn’t let it get to you….it hurts
8.  Realising that you’ve outgrown people is both freeing and sad
9.  Having your best friend give you a hug and comfort you makes it a lot better..makes you more grateful…and makes you realise what you do have.  I am happy, I’m working towards my dreams in a big way, I have friends who care about me more than I can ever realise, I have a family I love and adore.  So you know what…take your superficial little friendship and your little clique and go play all by yourselves in your limited little world.  I’ll stick to being happy and chasing my dreams and having people around me who care about me, thank you very much.

Regards,
Ruby

Dabbling in politics

As you can see, this is not a letter.  I’ve also ventured outside my normal rules for blogging, as I never blog about politics.  But this specific little post has been brewing in my heart for a while. I need to get it off my chest…and then I realised: That’s exactly what my little blog is for.  If anyone is really offended by it…I’m not about to apologize.  This is my blog, and therefore I’m allowed to air my voice and my opinions here.

It’s a little something about South Africa’s beloved Nelson Mandela.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have respect for the man.  He’s come a long way in his 93 years and he has indeed achieved many great things.  He worked hard towards achieving equality for all, he uses his name to obtain funding for many great causes and on all accounts he seems to be a very nice guy.  He loves South Africa, and for that too I want to give him credit.  I think it’s great that South Africans can unite on his birthday and do something nice for their fellow countrymen…a noble cause indeed.  And I applaud the initiative.

What does make me sad however, is the way that he is being romanticized.  I watched a little piece on the news the other day.  And some organization had taken a whole bunch of school children and organized a sleep over for them at Robben Island and they were telling them stories about Nelson Mandela and showing them where he was locked up and where he did hard labour, etc.  And then the camera focussed on this little kid and he said:  “when I listen to this story I get really angry with the white people.  But (insert name of facilitator here) said we shouldn’t hold grudges.”  This statement made me sad and angry all at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong.  There were many things wrong with apartheid and everything around it.  And I am by no means a racist, nor do I support any form of discrimination against anyone.  But what everyone seems to forget is the fact that Nelson Mandela didn’t only go to jail for opposing the South AFrican government at the time.  He was a terrorist and in many ways involved with the deaths of innocent civilians.  It’s one thing to blow up military/police people during uprisings etc.  it is quite another to kill innocent people. In fact, I recall him once speaking after his release, and he himself admitted that he was in a way responsible for terrorist acts and therefore it was right for him to be in jail.  He will therefore NOT bear a grudge.

I look at all this fuss around Madiba and I weigh that up against some of the less than saintly things he did in his youth and I wonder how the families of his victims must feel.  How much it must hurt them when he is labeled a saint and practically worshiped by some.  Did he have a good cause? Sure he did.  Apartheid was wrong no matter how you look at it.  Does it justify the killing of innocent people? never!  It is also here that I would like to point out to all those people who love to accuse SA of having a sordid past called Apartheid that SA was no worse than some other countries.  The only difference between, say SA and the US was that South Africa dared to give it a name.  Thereby making it a tangible thing.

It makes me sad to think that Madiba’s struggle is being romanticized and that people are not being told the full story.  To be perfectly honest, I’m tired of all the hype.  Yes, he has achieved many things, and I think South Africans in general owe him a big thank you.  But that thank you is only owed to him for the latter part of his life.  I’m so tired of the fact that only half-truths are being celebrated.  I’m white, I’m proud of it, I was never part of any form of apartheid and I resent the fact that people forget that every story has two sides.

By all means celebrate his life.  Celebrate what he has managed to achieve in the last 22 years.  Celebrate the fact that he was able to leave his past behind him and focus on building a beautiful SA along with other amazing people.  Celebrate the fact that he’s helping people.  But don’t call him a martyr and a saint, for he is neither.

Maybe some of you will think I’m being stupid, some of you might even think I’m being racist and who knows what the rest of you think.  All I know is that I’m tired of the fact that certain people are allowed to say whatever the hell the want, while others are forced to tiptoe around on eggshells.  South Africa has changed in many ways, but until the pendulum swings back to a more balanced and central position we will not be able to reach our full potential.  We live in an amazingly beautiful and generally incredible country.  As South Africans we have overcome a great deal, and for that we should be proud of ourselves.  But we still have  long way to go and I pray that one day we will reach our full potential.  And while Madiba will most probably no longer be alive to see us reach that point, I hope he’ll know what we’ve done and what we have achieved.  He deserves to know that his hard work the last 22 years meant something.

So what’s the moral of the story?  I think what I’m really trying to say is that I find it annoying that the story we share is only half a story.  I’m annoyed by the fact that one man is put on a pedestal, in such a way that we try to sweep his wrong doings under a rug.  If we’re going to tell our children the story, at least give them the full story, even the not so pleasant parts.  Don’t call a man a saint and sanitize the truth to suit your own needs.  Rather celebrate the full story.  Because you know what?  I find the person Madiba has become so much more amazing knowing where he came from.  Mommy and Daddy Letters always taught us that not telling the full truth still makes it a lie.  Personally I think they have a point.  Just consider this.  If we are feeding our children half-truths about our history, what kind of morals and values are we teaching them? And how can we expect to build ONE nation if we refuse to own up to the whole truth?  What kind of a nation are we building if we build it all on lies and half-truths?

 

Dear *insert name of guesthouse here*

So I’ve been making use of your establishment for a total of 16 nights now.  The place is absolutely lovely.  It is so lovely with the little (read not so little in the current flood situation) river running just below, the splash pool and the general calm and tranquility that seem to be the atmosphere you try to create.

In the time that I have been here I’ve only come across 2 things worthy of complaint.  Firstly, and I do understand that this is a bed and breakfast you run here, but surely it’s my choice if I want to partake in the breakfast?  Last week I was simply just running late every morning and couldn’t afford to go and have a sit down breakfast.  The two weekends that i spend here I try and relax as much as possible, considering that the job is highly stressful and that I’m not at home and in a super relaxed environment.  I was amazed to find out that you only serve your breakfast between 7 and 9 in the morning.  While 9am is perfectly fine for a weekday if you are in town for business…..there is no way that I’m going to drag myself out of bed and get myself presentable to face a whole bunch of people for breakfast before 9 on a saturday/sunday morning if I didn’t wake up early to begin with.  In my opinion this is my choice and I’m free to do so…I am after all paying the full amount regardless of whether I’m making use of your breakfast facilities or not.  I do NOT think it is on that your manager approaches me over the weekend to inform me that she considers it rude of me NOT to attend breakfast. WHAT THE HELL??

Secondly….I love the fact that your staff comes in every morning around 11 to clean my room and make sure everything is super clean and tidy when I get home after work.  It’s nice to walk into a fresh smelling room with clean towels and sheets every day.  And until today I would not have complained about this.  But today I got back and the door to my room was wide open.  Not just unlocked, oh no, WIDE OPEN.  It had been wide open since 11 this morning when you guys finished cleaning it.  Leaving all my personal belongings open for all and sunder who have to walk past my room to get to theirs to investigate.  While I’m extremely grateful that nothing was taken I would just like to inform you that this is not on.

Yes, crime statistics in Namibia are much lower than what they are in SA.  But you know what? It doesn’t matter.  It’s a matter of principle.  You don’t just leave my things that I have entrusted into your care open for the whole world to look at.  You had no right.  And I’m sure your response would be…it was a mistake, we’re very sorry.  But you know what…if you want to run this kind of establishment you can not afford to make these types of mistakes.  It is completely and utterly unacceptable.  I think my annoyance became even greater when I was unable to locate your manager to complain about this.  According to you guys there is a manager on site 24 hours a day…yet, although I looked everywhere and I rang the bell I could not locate this so-called manager.

Please, you really need to sort this stuff out.  Other than that you run a really awesome little guesthouse.  But I’m not exactly happy at the moment.

Regards

Ruby

The view
The view from my own personal little patio at the guesthouse