Today I expressed my opinion on a (fitness related) post and some people suggested that if I didn’t agree with the post instead of commenting I should just scroll on by.
Now this is a sentiment I broadly agree with. If it’s something you don’t like but it doesn’t affect you why chip in. Although to be fair surely the point of Facebook and other Social Media outlets is to an extent encourage conversation – if nobody ever commented on anything what would be the point?
But what if it’s about something that does affect you in the wider sense? Well, then, I strongly believe you should comment.
I don’t want to go into massive detail here as this blog isn’t meant to be a breakdown of the topic itself, but to put this in context I suggested (in relation to the This Girl Can campaign) the term girl for an adult female in some situations can be used to reduce the female’s status. I’ve seen this happen in situations where the term is used to infantilise a woman. This isn’t always done on purpose or with malice but as a society we are conditioned to think of girls as young, attractive and so on whereas woman is seen as an almost insult. Boys grow into men but women are often continued to be viewed as girls – it’s a seemingly small difference but one of the little things that keep us from achieving true equality. It’s largely a perception thing, but perception is important and how we view things affect how the next generation grow up viewing things and so on. It’s also something so accepted by society that even those of us aware of it are likely to slip into habits of referring to ourselves as girls, yet at some point there were many other things considered culturally acceptable which would not be considered so today.
My point was not to tarnish a campaign or accuse the world of gross sexism- merely to put forward my view that the language we use to refer to one another has a wider implication of how we are then treated by and viewed within society. There have been numerous worrying indications recently that women’s rights are not automatically assured even today (abortion laws in the United States for instance) and so I do not believe that highlighting this point is merely certain women kicking up a fuss over nothing. None of this means that I judge another female who would want to refer to herself as a girl or that I believe a specific campaign is sexist for using the word – merely that as a society we should be aware of how things are expressed, as language used does have a impact.
I also believe that discussion of such matters can be beneficial – greater understanding of such things can only help make society more understanding and equal (and this goes beyond gender to discussions opening up about mental health, different cultures and beliefs, the list goes on).
As I say though, this was not what I wanted to discuss here. My question is when do you turn away and ignore something you don’t agree with and when do you stand up and state your view point?
Let’s take it to the extreme. How many people turned a blind eye to what happened in Nazi Germany in the thirties because they might not have agreed with what was happening but it didn’t affect them so they said nothing?
Sounds too extreme to compare perhaps but fast forward to today. Many many people have expressed their outrage over the abortion laws being passed in the United States recently. This does not affect a lot of these people directly – they live in different countries for instance, but have not been criticised for expressing their dismay at the decision (rightly so).
Today, perhaps I could have just scrolled on by. But I believe there is still subtle gender inequality within society and so I spoke up and I will continue to speak up when I see such occasions I feel call for it. Because if, in a few years time, we start to see the type of laws being put forward in the USA be put forward here in the UK (abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland by the way) I want to have known I didn’t just watch things happen because they didn’t affect me directly at the time. I want to have spoken up, however small the impact I can make alone is, because if we all speak up we can have a voice.
I didn’t believe the campaign in question was negative. I specifically never said it was negative – in fact I said the opposite!
I understand it was created by women and designed to do great things and think it has had a positive impact and will hopefully continue to do so. That doesn’t mean not highlighting the potential issue with the language surrounding it. Highlighting this does not negate the good. Quite the opposite understanding the issue some people may have with the language used has the potential to make the campaign stronger and even more inclusive.
What saddened me today was the unwillingness of some to see the other person’s view. I won’t always agree with you, but I’ll generally try and see things from your point of view too, to understand both sides of the conversation.
I also believe in equality and freedom of speech, from a fitness point of view whatever your age, gender of current level of fitness I’d like this blog to be a place where you can get some useful information of how you can get fitter and feel better (and if you live near me my classes equally so!).
So to finish on a positive note, if you got to this point of this blog I’d love for you to comment or message me with what topics you would find useful for me to write about so I might be able to help you with your diet, training or anything else fitness related.
Have a great weekend!