2016: why do you hate us so?

I’ve just come back inside from doing a quick Zeppelin check. Sadly the lack of airships in the sky means that we probably haven’t accidentally side-slipped into an alternative universe.

I can’t say the result of the US Presidential Election was a surprise. It’s exactly the same thing as happened with the Brexit vote. A largely ignored section of the electorate, angry with the establishment, voting for the people who are telling them what they want to hear. It’s been so long since politicians payed them any attention that they’ve had a generation or more to forget the old lesson that when a politician is telling you everything you want to hear then they are lying to you.

And the man does lie. He lies like the rest of us breathe.

But at least we all know where we stand now. America is the most sexist First World country. The global economy is going to be fucked for a while. If you’re not white, not Christian, not male, not heterosexual, non gender-conforming, not able-bodied and not rich then your life is going to be considerably harder. Everyone in the English-speaking world is going to suddenly be an expert on American constitutional law just so we can work out how fucked we all are.

And just like Britain post Brexit the fascists are out of their box. It’s going to take a lot of work to put them back in. While they’re out America is going to see an uptick in racist/homophobic/anti-immigrant attacks. The tacit acceptance of sexual assault is going to probably lead to an increase in rape and harassment. We might even see a rise in fat-shaming leading to an increase in eating disorders.

I don’t know what to say except that now might be a good time to start building a bunker. And if you are building a bunker maybe you should make it a community project. And try to make it a diverse community of equals. Because if we do have to re-build from scratch the least we can do is to make a better job of it.

2014 Can kiss my arse

In the interests of full disclosure I haven’t had a good year since 2008 but 2014 has been particularly fucking awful and I don’t think it’s just me.

I’m not going to go into the reasons why I’m glad to see the back of 2014.  Some nice things happened in my personal life which, while they didn’t counter the many many horrible things, are the reason I’m still here to write this. I’d like to say thank you to any of my real life and online friends and family who read this.   Without you guys I couldn’t have made it through.

In the wider world we’ve seen wars and rumours of war, business as usual throughout all of recorded history, but they’ve been particularly nasty and confusing.  There’s no such thing as a good war when you’re in it but the level of atrocities this year seem to be particularly bad.  Civilians being bombed and kidnaped and held hostage, beheaded, or forced into marriage.  Entire populations being used as bargaining chips. A civilian passenger jet was shot down and the wreckage became just another political football.

And for those of us outside the war zone there seems to be nothing we can do to help.  It’s like watching from an upstairs window as the family across the street fights each other to the death inside a burning house with their children trapped upstairs.

There’s been a global backlash against this pesky idea of women being actual people with rights and everything.  Well that’s what it feels like.  Some of it is really just a kind of tipping point.  We’ve reached a place where women are feeling more and more comfortable about speaking out which makes the mistreatment, harassment and oppression a whole lot more visable.

Some of this apparent backlash is just the stuff that was always happening suddenly being dragged into the light of day.  This stuff is not new but we’ve all been pretending that it either wasn’t there or was somehow ok.  But when it you pin it to the dissection table and really look at it you see how vile it truly is.

This is where the real backlash comes in.  A lot of people would prefer to go back to not thinking about this.  I understand that, I really do.  No one wants to think about Female Genital Mutilation, or child brides, or the grooming of children in care, or the endemic under-reporting of rape, or the epidemic of violence against trans-women, or the sexualsation of underage girls (particualraly girls of colour), or the million daily micro-agressions that come with being female.  Of course no one wants to think about it.  It’s fucking horrible.

When forced to confront this stuff some of us take a deep breath and we say “Well that shit is horrible we really ought to do something about it.”  But some of us would rather pretend that it wasn’t there.  Some of us just want everyone else to shut up about it.

And then there are those who just don’t believe it.  There are people, and they are mostly male, who say that because this shit isn’t happening where they can see it that it must not be happening at all.  Which is clearly bullshit.  That’s like saying that electricity is magic because you personally have never seen an electron.

And then there are those, virtually all men, who are convinced that everything would be better if they could go back to pretending that women were just objects with no real autonomy or feelings or rights.  These are the really dangerous arsholes.

2014 was also the year it became impossible for white people of conscience to continue to pretend that we live in a post racial society. In the UK we’ve seen the rise of UKIP.  Right wing parties have been on the rise all over Europe.  In America we’ve had a timely reminder that the cops can kill pretty much anyone and get away with it but they mainly seem to kill black people.  We’ve also seen a lot of white people trying to justify this by blaming the victims.  Shame on you.

As the right to same sex marriage moves round the globe we’ve seen a continued pushback from people who use religion as an excuse to object to the happiness of others.  Be honest with yourselves – the real problem you have with same sex marriage is either “Ewww Gross!” or “I had to pretend to be straight and so should you.”

My big message to people as we move into a new, and hopefully better, year is:

If you don’t understand that other people’s experience of life may be different from yours then you need to find a responsible adult to take care of you.  You have failed to absorb a lesson that most of us learn as toddlers or young children.  Also stop fucking killing people.

Opinons

The consensus seems to be that a writer should have opinions.  This is great news.  I’m just chock full of opinions about loads of things. Here’s a list of some of the things that I have opinions about.  If you stick around you might read about them in more details.  I’m aware that might seem like it’s not much of an incentive but remember that I’m a woman on the internet.  At any time I might say something that people don’t like and end up facing a storm of threats and harassment.  I’m sure hilarity will ensue.

  1. Idris Elba would make a fantastic James Bond but it’s probably only been suggested to get people talking about Bond films.
  2. I play computer games.  A lot of women play computer games and we’re probably not going to stop.
  3. I am a Feminist.  That means that I think women are real people too and we should expect to be treated as real people.
  4. I voted for Scottish Independence in the referendum but I’m probably not going to bang on about it here because that shit just hurts too much.
  5. Bisexuality, Pansexuality and Asexuality all exist no matter how much people like to pretend that they don’t.
  6. Transgender people are real people and should expect to be treated as real people and deserve to be addressed with the correct pronouns.  If you can’t manage that then you probably shouldn’t be allowed out without a carer.
  7. White people shouldn’t use the N word.
  8. A lot of angry people on the Internet need to lighten the fuck up about the colour, gender, religion and body-type of fictional characters, cosplayers, and real people that they don’t know.
  9. Everybody everywhere should be a whole lot angrier about the really important stuff that somehow slides past while we’re busy arguing about the gender of Thor or the race of James Bond.  Fucks sake there’s people out there dying of starvation, thirst and preventable disease.