I have often wondered where and how we learn our humanity, our values, ethics and emotions. I do not think that we are all destined to adhere to the same belief system that our families do. I know that we make our own choices, however I also know how hard it can be to be a single resistor in an environment which is supportive of whatever it is that we feel is wrong.
This is even more of a challenge in today’s climate of ever increasing conservatism and radical beliefs. It seems every American town is now the equivalent of the repressed fictional town in Footloose where no activities should take place which are fun or pleasurable, where we should not be the unique individual our internal nature tells us to be. Instead we should adhere to the cookie cutter outline of the virtuous and pure as imagined by the pastor and church who are defining what is and what is not acceptable. Anything can be viewed as sinful if you choose to view the world through those narrow minded principles. If you exchange the pastor or preacher in this scenario with a leader from ISIS or any other extremist religion you often have similar levels of suppression and repression in the name of their god.
Religious extremism is the same, whether we call the believers ‘Christian’ or any other label – it is still just a form of extremism and a means of oppression.
Our family are really looking forward to seeing the Disney film ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
However there is already controversy around this film on multiple points.
The first is regarding the introduction of a gay character in the film. This has led to banning of the movie in a narrow minded little ‘christian’ theatre. Because apparently Jesus would be embarrassed to see people display love.
And due to the intense homophobia of Putin, the film will be shown in Russia but with an adult rating. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the film which is to delight children and adults both. Children will most likely not even catch on to any subtle nuances regarding the interactions of the new plot line.
All of this furore because of men dancing. Insanity.
The second area of controversy is around the lead character, Emma Watson. Emma posed for a cover on Vanity Fair and showed a portion of a breast, a wee bit of under boob if you prefer to be specific. Emma was then savaged on social media about how she let down the side regarding feminism, shouting that she cannot be both a feminist and display her sexuality. Emma set them straight – clarifying that for her feminism is the freedom to do whatever she wishes with her body. I really admire this young woman, she seems so switched on. Especially for a child star, so many of these kids derail completely.
We all know that many ‘men’ (and some women) are intimidated by a woman owning her sexuality. The issue is with them – not with the woman who is showing a bit of skin. The normalisation of rape culture is ever so prevalent.
That rape culture which leads to women being traded like cattle and treated far worse than most animals. Fears of Human trafficking were raised in South Africa as 4 local girls vanished in a week. There was a total of 5 girls who were all assumed to be part of the same issue, another girl in the same area has been missing since last year.
Luckily a later report has indicated that the 4 girls missing from Kuils River have now been found, the story around their disappearance has not been publicised however they were found miles away up in a town up north. I am just glad for their families that they were found and I hope for the family of the 5th girl that she is found safe very soon.
Cape Town is such a unique city and it has some idiosyncrasies which I have never seen anywhere else. One of these is the number of unfinished motorways which just hang in the air over the city looking bizarre.
The City of Cape Town has asked for proposals that would address these unfinished bridges with a view to alleviate the traffic congestion in the city centre and to contribute some form of upliftment for the poor. Each of the six proposals had to address Cape Town’s traffic woes, as well as have an affordable housing component. The models were all on display in the City of Cape Town offices.
I look forward to the changes and hope it does alleviate the congestion in the city, traffic in Cape Town is just insane.
The xenophobia in South Africa has carried on in different factions. There is continued fighting within the zama zamas (illegal miners). I have written about the issues with the illegal miners before. The rumour is that the local Basotho are behind the recent ambush and murder of 14 illegal miners. The Basotho resent the influx of Zimbabweans, Malawians and Mozambicans competing for gold. It appears that there is a hierarchy of thieves.
We even had an incident of conflict regarding race in my new office. It started out in a rather innocuous conversation about coffee of all things. The tea lady (whom I will refer to by her initial ‘N’ as I do not want to intrude on her personal privacy) was making herself an espresso from the coffee machine and an Afrikaans guy asked did she want milk. She replied no thank you and he said ‘you like your coffee like yourself, black?’. She replied ‘I am not black.’ This is where he should have shut up and apologised and shuffled off back to his desk. Instead he said ‘Brown?’. When he saw her displeased expression he then said ‘well what colour are you?’ I wanted to crawl into a cupboard. I did not know either of these people so I felt like I could not get involved so I just dropped my gaze and shuffled off to my desk. However it got under my skin and I felt that I should have defended N. But I was unsure what was the appropriate thing to say? And did N even WANT me to intervene?
I am still not sure whether this dude realised what a dolt he was being or not. I personally had never thought about that common phrase – how often do you hear someone (white) saying jokingly that they like their coffee like they like their men: strong and black? Until you are on the other side of that quip you may not realise the conflict you are creating or the pain you are causing.
Those of us who are privileged have no idea of the challenges others go through. On Friday I had workshops on the Protection of Personal Information Bill. The workshops were held at my consulting house so I drove through to Century City. I popped over to the garage to get a coffee as they have a Torrador coffee shop there. The way the process works is that you go and order your coffee and they give you a slip, you take the slip to the queue and pay at the tills. Yesterday while I was waiting my turn in the queue a man walks into the shop and just pushes to the front and takes the next available till. Myself and the African guy in front of me both shout ‘there is a queue’ to the man, who turns around and waves his arms and says ‘what is a queue?’. He had a strong Italian accent and I said to him, ‘you may be European but you know exactly what a queue is.’ The African guy in front of me just said ‘it’s fine let him go’ but I wasn’t having it. Fair is fair. The European grumpily trudged over to join the queue behind me, muttering the entire way, and then when he got behind me decided he needed to make amends and proceeded to
me and pat me on the shoulder.
This wound me up to no end. I hate strangers getting in my physical space, but to take it further and presume that you have the right to put your hands on my body? Oh HELL no.
I turned around and looked him in the eye and said ‘Do not touch me.’ The women behind the tills were loving this, I assume they see this level of passive aggression often but as a white woman I am comfortable being able to express the right to own my body and tell people to stop touching it. Many others are not confident enough to do so. Many people are so desperate for work they will endure so many insults and injustices just to keep employed. This advert blew up on social media due to the racism and the fact that it sounds like slavery, not employment.
I am not sure whether it is age which has opened my eyes or whether it is the many environments I have lived in but I seem to be so much more awake. I feel that ageing and/or menopause have changed me in more ways than the obvious physiological ways. I am more self accepting, more confident and less compliant. I speak up for what I feel is right, even when it makes me unpopular. We won’t mention the flip side of menopause and the memory fails and hot flashes. Growth usually comes with discomfort.
I saw an interview with the wonderful Annie Lennox where she said that if nothing else, Trump deserves the credit for being the catalyst to wake up women globally and get them to show up and demand equality.
March the 8th is International Woman’s Day. However there are so many insidious things which still mean that the world has such a long way to evolve to the point where we do not have ‘Gay’ rights, ‘Women’s’ rights, ‘Transgender’ rights or any other kind of rights other than Human Rights. We should all be equal.
On this day of what should have been a day for Women, I received an email from a company who claimed to be celebrating International Women’s Day. But their message was so derogatory to women. The email subject header alone annoyed me.
Then embedded in the email = there it was again.
Really??? As a means of celebrating women they choose to minimise us and qualify our ability to be Boss? To liken us to a child? What were you thinking Takealot? This propagates that culture that women are inferior. When I tweeted my displeasure to Takealot they were completely oblivious to the fact that they were being sexist.
If you want to promote the #GirlBoss book, bundle it into a promotion aimed at GIRLS. Find some books which encourage girls and have a promotion around that.
Do not blur the two.
One thing which did appeal to me was the email sent out by ONE. ONE.org is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of nearly eight million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Did you know that 130,000,000 girls were unable to go to school today? Or any other day? They did not choose to not go, they do not have access to education. My family and I decided to participate in this initiative.
I chose my number and made my video.
The sirens and the Hoover in the background add a nice touch, don’t you think? Not? Oh well at least I tried. My family told me I look grumpy. I was trying to bring the appropriate level of seriousness to the video.
Caitlin chose her number and as always was creative in her delivery. Cute hey? She had her colleagues contribute.
Thursday I decided to be also be a bit creative and adventurous and cook something new, I fancied salmon and so we debated over the fact that it was so expensive but we bit the bullet.
I used the zucchini noodles from Woolies to make another pseudo pasta dish. I browned chopped onions and mushrooms, then added the zoodles and cooked for a minute to soften, then added a container of double cream, a tin of coconut milk and a few drops of dark soy and a squeeze of tomato paste and gave it a good stir, I cut the salmon up and chucked it in and that was it. I served with steamed broccoli.
It was really tasty and ever so quick for a meal after work.
This week I was advised that I am being put forward for a new project with a new client. I am of course panicking about the unknown, Norm is as always trying to sooth my frazzled nerves. I have only just settled in my new office, and this will mean moving outside of the Cape Town city centre and will add on a lot of time to my commute. However in the current economic client I am just happy to have work. I will see whether I am the right fit for the work they need soon I hope.
We have a busy weekend planned, my social calendar seems to always be feast or famine, I have a weekend with no obligations or a weekend with a back to back itinerary.
I hope you enjoy your weekend.