1. People Having Kids. Or Not, Ever.
If this isn’t a dead horse the internet keeps beating repeatedly in the face, I don’t know what is. I seriously don’t get it. Why the hell does anyone else care if the people around them are choosing to have kids or not? Their decision doesn’t actually directly affect you in any way, unless you plan on babysitting or something, but otherwise, who gives a shit? You always see people complaining about how a particular Facebook friend is constantly posting pictures of their children and how completely annoying and obnoxious it is. Yeah, I have some of those, and part of me wonders how they have contrived that the internet cares so much about their little one, but hey, when you love something as much as a parent should love their child, I guess you go a little nuts. I’m actually vaguely suspicious of parents who never post any pictures of their kids. Like, are they still alive? Do you keep them in a dark basement where the flash of a camera phone might send them into a wild animalistic rage? Plus, if that person annoys you so much….sounds like the perfect time to utilize that magic unfriend button which I typically reserve for girls who constantly quote bad song lyrics or complain about how just totally awful their day was –every day. Just live and let live, people. There are more important things to worry about, like finding the perfect song lyrics for your status update, for instance…
2. People Getting Married. Or Not, Ever.
I swear to God I see at least ten articles a day on various blog sites about how just totally annoying it is to have one’s friends tie the knot. First of all, that’s a pretty shitty friend move. If you consider these people as friends that you profess to care about, you should probably be happy for them if they are happy instead of wallowing in your own bitterness (because if you’re creating long angry articles about the people you care about getting married… sorry, that’s bitterness). As a person, each of us should be secure enough in ourselves that when a friend or sibling or relative has found someone they want to cart along with them for the rest of their lives, we should be happy for them. And as for those married folks that think they have to drag everyone else kicking and screaming into the marital world, get over it. Marriage isn’t for everyone and if your friends have chosen to set that particular life choice aside for awhile, or all together, than you should be supportive. The same bitterness can be attributed to these people as well, if you’re so blissfully happy in your marriage than that should be enough for you, the relationship choices of your social circle shouldn’t interest you.
Well, unless said friend is marrying an abuser… or someone who listens to really shitty music, then you should definitely have a few words with that person. But the fact of the matter is, people are going to fuck up in their own special way and there is really nothing you can do about it. So patiently attend that wedding, enjoy the free booze (hopefully) and worry after your own happiness.
3. The ‘Success’ of Other People
Now I feel like I’m beating the shit out of a dead horse but I think it deserves mentioning. Success is not the same for everyone. We can’t all be corporate world tycoons and many of us don’t want to be. This is just fact, people. We need the CEO just as much as we need the intern, or the cab driver or the farmer, or the stay at home parent. These varying positions and jobs drive and sustain our economy (though I grant you, it’s a little fucked up right now). I’m not saying I don’t like money, because I totally do, but that cut throat environment is one I consider with nauseous dread. I have my dreams and they aren’t to climb a corporate ladder per se. In as diverse of a society as ours, the measure of success varies enormously from person to person. People who feel the need to point out just how much better their success is than someone else’s are very suspicious to me. If you are actually as successful as you claim, would you need to wag your finger self-righteously in the faces of others in order to make yourself seem more important? Just some food for thought.
We each live to the standards we set for ourselves or at least we should. Are there many who fall short of even the basest measures of achievement? Sure there are, many of them end up in fun places like prisons or on the streets. But for the most part, everyone is a work in progress, everyone has their dreams and hopes and wishes and I think if we all stopped shitting on other peoples hopes we’d be a little better off. Picking on the stay at home mom or dad or berating the corporately driven woman does nothing to further your own success. It just makes you look like an asshole.
4. The Necessity of Feminism
People might be fooled by the overwhelming amount of woman on woman bashing that seems rather sickeningly prevalent these days, but the truth is, sexism hasn’t really gone anywhere. It might wear a different coat and hat, but it’s still there lurking like the creepy trench coat exposure guy in the mall parking lot. As a Field Engineer I work in one of the most male dominated fields in the country. I am the only woman at my facility and one of seven in my position at my company out of at least fifty, if not more, and that’s just where I work, let alone the rest of the country. That’s more than a little staggering. And the sexual harassment is rather rampant. Because what, as a woman, are you supposed to do when over half of your male co-workers feel that it’s appropriate to make backhanded sexual remarks about your appearance or uncomfortable sexual innuendos in casual conversation? How am I supposed to feel under the knowledge that I may have been hired based on my age and appearance more than, what I believe, are my actual contributing skills? Working in a male driven workplace, as a woman, you’d have to alienate yourself from most of your co-workers to truly drive home the point of sexism. Sometimes, it’s just easier to let it go, to let it slide. Women grow to understand that things like that just sort of happen; that there isn’t really anything we can do about it, that generally speaking, such remarks are harmless. But I know deep down, as I’m sure many other women do as well, that I shouldn’t have to tolerate such treatment. I shouldn’t have to ward off uncomfortable advances or listen to my male counterparts degrade and dissect women like they’re little more than objects designed for their amusement. I shouldn’t have to laugh off offensive remarks about my appearance and generalizations about my gender as though they were amusing rather than hurtful. And men wonder why women are so harsh to one another. In an uneven playing field, where women are judged more on their appearance than their actual skills, it’s easy for us to turn on one another and tear each other down. It becomes a bitter, brutal fight to the top because we feel that to get anywhere we have to fit a very specific characterization that is most certainly not placed on our male counterparts.
To quote another piece I’ve written, I should be treated as a person first and a woman second, and so should every other female in any environment. Until the number of sexually assaulted women pulls away from the staggering statistic of 1 in 4, feminism is more than necessary, it is vital.
5. Being Obese Is Not Okay
Before anyone accuses me of ‘fat shaming’ let me assure everyone that I know it’s not easy to remain fit and healthy in an environment where more and more hobbies and jobs encourage little to no movement and eating poorly is cheaper and far more convenient. I still cry over my grocery bill every two weeks as I try to come to terms with the fact that to be thin and healthy I have to sacrifice a lot more cash then I would if I just ate fast food every day. I have only recently, in the past two years or so, found myself in a position of monetary comfort, all the years before that consisted of eating what I could only barely afford and little, if any of it, was good for me. There is a reason the lower middle class and borderline impoverish are obese, because eating well is not a cheap endeavor. Until we can provide healthy food affordably to the general populace, unhealthy weight is going to remain a problem. There’s a reason that the upper middle class to the upper class are the healthiest and most fit, because they can afford it. Of course there are exceptions, especially when speaking of higher income Black and Hispanic men who tend to be heavier the more money they make, statistically speaking. There is also the question of more hours worked, the fewer hours to prepare nutritious meals, which is a real concern in many high profile and demanding jobs. Obesity in lower income and education brackets remains high but is increasing rapidly in higher income and education brackets over the last five years.
I’m not encouraging anyone to run outside and find the first overweight person they can find and call them fat, but morbid obesity, in particular, needs to be addressed. And we need to stop tip toeing around it. Family members and friends need to be shown the truth of their health and the very dire consequences of poor eating and exercising habits, not because we want to hurt or shame them, but because we love and care about them and they are slowly killing themselves. I think we need to stop telling people it’s okay to be fat (and no, I don’t mean women who have more weight than the average man would prefer, I mean medically obese) because we are essentially telling them we are okay with them slowly destroying their bodies as well as their self-esteem. It’s important to be comfortable with yourself no matter who you are, but it’s also important to remember that no one is perfect and that we are always growing and changing and that there is always room for personal improvement. At least that’s what I tell myself when I choke down kale and force myself unwillingly to go to the gym, when I’d rather be doing almost anything else.
6. How Other People Choose to Raise Their Children
As the mother of an eight year old girl, I can tell you from firsthand experience how many people think they know how to raise children better than you and will feel compelled to shove it down your throat. From other mothers to childless, opinionated friends, everyone is more than willing to tell you how you’re fucking your kid up permanently and how you’re not grooming them for true success (that stupid, loaded word again). The reality is there is no be all end of how to ‘properly’ raise kids. Because every child and every parent is different, everyone wants and is looking for something singular out of life. My way will not and should not be your way and that’s more than okay. It’s called diversity and it’s kind of necessary to perpetuate society.
Assuming that said parent is not locking their kid in a closest under the staircase, abusing them or otherwise neglecting them, let people parent how they see best. The truth is we all fuck up our kids in some way; we all make mistakes, just like our parents did. Most of us are just trying to minimize the damage. So share, support, be open-minded; but can we all stop belittling each other, please?