A little over a month ago (sometime in July, actually) a co-worker who is as much into geek stuff as I am and who appreciates my interest in all things geek sent me a link to John Scalzi’s post on who gets to be a geek (answer: ANYONE can be a geek). I found the post and its comments thread so fascinating and empowering – as a geek who’s had to deal with being part of a geeky minority, I appreciated the sentiment – that I started to follow the blog.
Issue 1: Unabashed Sexism
Not long after that “manifesto” of sorts was posted, Scalzi addressed the ReaderCon incident in which a woman was harassed at a convention and the resulting measures (for a while, at least) were unsatisfying.
I found myself horrified. And for a month after that, I found myself immersed in a tidal wave of blog posts and articles discussing the pervasive sexism of our times. I read about creepers, gaslighting, rape culture, and having a rapey friend that people refuse to call out. It didn’t help that some dipshit American politician inspired talk of “legitimate rape” over the course of that period. And that stories like this one about a woman’s ordeal on a train comes to my attention on a fairly regular basis.
Mind you, this didn’t make me hate men. I have a wonderful boyfriend, a brother whose respect for women makes me proud, and great male friends. There are men like Scalzi who are thoroughly disturbed by the persistent belief that people are OWED interest (it goes both ways, of course, but the lack of respect is often directed at the women). There are men like Ernest Adams who are disgusted by the dearth of decent men. There are men who recognize the need for their contribution to reform female-unfriendly attitudes. And I am grateful to them.
But that doesn’t make me any less angry. So I try to focus on something else, but it backfired because…
Issue 2: Friendship Woes
Allow me to make something clear – I have great friends. They are awesome. I love them and I will kill for them like the spork-wielding ninja that I am. But the problem is that I will kill for them like the spork-wielding ninja that I am. I’m depressingly inclined to be hyper-involved when it comes to the crises of other people. And given some of the issues that some of my friends had to deal with lately, I’m finding it hard to avoid being angry (on top of being angry about the sexist background radiation we all have to deal with – most of my friends are female) enough to gouge some people’s eyes out.
I do try to not be so involved unless specifically asked, of course. Especially since one of the “issues” involve a person at whom I threw an African Violet of Broken Friendship. Rationally, I know I shouldn’t be engaging in talk about her, but it’s so deliciously cathartic. Even the great Captain Awkward and the Awkwardeers, whose advice on everything I find helpful, couldn’t stop me from using bad words and feeling righteous indignation over the actions of an ex-friend (I don’t have many of those, by the way) who inflicts her issues on nice people as she had once inflicted them on me.
I’m far from perfect, I know. But I also know when shit is effed up, and I simply can’t resist at least lending my moral support. And this takes me to…
Issue 3: Stupid Politics
I’m talking about politics in the Philippines here, although American politics worry me too because we tend to copy the Americans. Literally. Our senate is okay with plagiarism. I guess the assertion wouldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t self-righteously condemn piracy as well (which I know is different, but is in my opinion within the same general spectrum – I want to cry “HYPOCRISY”). And it doesn’t help that almost every big issue here is turned into a major circus that basically bamboozles the public into thinking that they have all the facts, when they do not. Then nothing gets done right.
One of the biggest debates going on in the Philippine Senate right now involves the Reproductive Health Bill – the plagiarism issues mentioned above may be eclipsing it for now, but it’s somewhat related in that it was a Senator the Anti-RH camp that was proven to have copied (and in some cases directly translated from Filipino to English) entire chunks of text from various bloggers and great elocutionists for his speeches. Lack of even the most basic form of originality aside, I am seriously bothered by the way the discussion of the Bill was approached. Its supporters and opposition alike tend to resort to self-righteous grandstanding and sometimes sniping. The local Catholic Church is trying to influence legislation by threatening Catholics who support RH with excommunication and general guilt-tripping. The local secularists use this an excuse to call religion stupid.
It’s all stupid. I’m so angry I don’t even know what to say anymore. Even discounting my own stand with regards to this issue, I still find the situation infuriating.
I’m hoping that at some point I’ll stop getting angry over all this. But I understand that this will take its sweet bloody time because I apparently find uncontrollable rage empowering. I’m like The Hulk, except I look less like Mark Ruffalo and more like Amanda Bynes. Or so my mother says. Not that she knows who Mark Ruffalo or Amanda Bynes are. She just sees them on TV and says “S/he looks exactly/nothing like you.” My mother’s a very visual person.
Where was I? Oh yes. I need to get out of this angry phase soon. Do you guys have advice?