2 points before I go off:
- I had a long conversation a few weeks back with a friend who went on and on about how sexist the song “Santa Baby” was. Seems he saw something about that on Facebook. He was furious that they play that song every year, objectifying women and it being sung by a woman with a baby voice that we are supposed to find dumb and sexy.
- My mother, whose infinite wisdom comes to me more frequently now that she is gone, always told me that you should make decisions based on honoring yesterday and planning for tomorrow. Today, she would say, will take care of itself. She also had a thing about teeth and feet, but that is another post all together.
I was reading an article that posed the question “What Matters?” and it triggered some deep thinking. Since I have been actively trying to separate myself from my phone, it gives me more time to think. Deeply.
I engaged my self-dialog on that theme; “What Matters to me?” I recalled the recent conversation about how a Facebook post made my buddy so mad. He was afraid that people didn’t get that such images in songs and art slowly can change our perception as to what is acceptable and what is not. He called for an all-out boycott of songs like this. I even jokingly called him a one-man-social-justice-parade, though he didn’t find it funny. To some extent though I agree with him (mostly because I can’t stomach Christmas music) but then again I don’t feel that banning a song, a movie, a book, a poem, or a performance will get the idea to disappear. It’s far easier to just change the channel, chuck the book, or walk out of the performance. To devalue it will get it from acceptability faster than organizing a march.
I work with primarily young girls. While I am very unhappy that our society STILL objectifies and expects less from women, I have decided that the way I will flex my feminist nature is to teach young girls that they will always be of more value than society may deem. That they can do anything they want to do. That they are an unstoppable force, and they define their own success.
My mother’s philosophy applies here because I do not know that being upset over trivial things is what really matters. Being upset with the annual dose of baby voiced holiday music is one thing, but it pales in comparison when we consider that there are places where women still cannot get an education. The rate of people living in poverty around the planet is still around 10%, and in the US it’s about 37 million living in poverty; half of whom are women. Here nearly one of every three women have suffered abuse. Those are real problems, and I think addressing that might be a better application of our effort than protesting a song released in 1953.
Getting back to Mom-philosophy; If we put effort into honoring yesterday, we could address the ever-increasing population of elderly that are under-insured or uninsured. We could do more long term care for people who are living longer and living without means of sustainability. Yet our focus is stuck on things that just do not matter too much. We commit so much of our time to commenting on social media posts that decry issues of real concern, we feel that because we click a tear emoji after watching a 2-minute video about people with real issues that we have somehow taken steps to address the original problem. People in those videos could use a whole hand not just the “thumbs up”. We have become callused to reacting to need because we all feel that a click while scrolling is somehow enough.
We have forgotten yesterday, and we are too overly focused on today to think about shaping tomorrow.
Having just survived the holidays, some are making NY resolutions. I ask that maybe this year we could let go of the minutia, cast away the petty disagreements and squabbles; and resolve to matter. What if for one year we tried to honor yesterday and shape tomorrow? What if everything we did served one of those two ends? I worry that without such focus we will continue to spin uncontrollable into social entropy. So, while we will always have one-man parades that shout about inequality, maybe we could actually do something to alleviate the inequality. Maybe we could do something to make even one person’s life a better place? It’s not hard to make a difference, it just means ignoring the meaningless and focusing on what really matters. Like my mom, I will always think it’s better to honor our yesterdays, and plan for our tomorrows. I’ll do it by grooming those that will run the world when we all become yesterdays.