Not the kind of camping where we become one with nature and steep in the beauty of the Creator…that camping, while posing the occasional hazard, is wonderful and restorative. It’s when we break ourselves, as humanity as a whole, into camps. Opposing camps….
Breaking into camps came full focus recently. A video highlighting something called “mansplaining” is making the rounds. A friend, who found the term amusing, posted it on Facebook. She was surprised by the reaction. It sparked a lively and respectful conversation, but not in support of the poorly aimed moniker. Mansplaining is defined as:
Mansplaining (v.) (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
Embracing such pop-culture labeling is dangerous – in more ways than one. I find these labels offensive and divisive…
To men…to us all.
Sure, I’ve been spoken-down to by men before. I find it rude and unnecessary. Women have also taken the patronizing tactic with me. It doesn’t happen often, but most of us would admit, it happens. It’s a hallmark of poor communicators who may be insecure, insensitive and rude. Both genders do it. Heck, I’ve done it to my husband, I’m sure…probably when he was suggesting upholstery colours or something like that. It’s not nice.
Regardless of its distasteful nature doesn’t it warrant a term of it’s own when men do it. Nor, when women do it. It isn’t gender specific, it’s just an ineffective tactic of asinine people who either don’t know any better or, for some reason, feel entitled to belittle others. I think it’s appropriate to ask someone engaged in such behaviour if the motivation is borne of ignorance or of arrogance. That’s fair.
I do have an issue with vilifying men by creating a “thing” they may or may not do. I also have an issue with hyper-focusing on gender, skin-colour, ethnicity, religious preference, political affiliation, sexual preference and forgetting that we are PEOPLE FIRST. This labeling divides us into camps and stops conversations. Have we learn nothing from the past? (click to Tweet)
I’m tired of being asked, by the media or political parties, to choose a side and stick to it. That, in my opinion, is stupid and divisive. Those who do so play into the hands of the people holding the chess pieces. It doesn’t help us, as the collective whole, not one bit. Does it help them? Of course!
I’m also tired of the being made to feel I should be ashamed of my opinions or foster disdain for those in a different “camp.” I’m fatigued with having our voices drowned out by an opposition that screeches so loudly only the nasty name-calling can be heard. (click to Tweet) If people could enjoy respectful debate, perhaps we’d actually learn from one another. Maybe, just maybe, we’d have the opportunity to occasionally change our perspectives. Change our world.
We’re like toddlers in the throes of a collective, societal tantrum, so clenched, so closed; we can’t learn a thing and certainly, we can’t move forward in cooperation with one another. We focus on our differences. My conspiracy-laden mind says, “It’s by design.” Either that, or we are incredibly, collectively stupid.
I’m going on an “I’m Giving Choosing Camps the Boot” campaign. I refuse to pitch a tent or put a stake in the ground. I will, instead, respect my fellow human and look forward to engaging in respectful exchanges with him or her. I will hold people accountable for their behaviour, not their gender, skin colour or beliefs (click to Tweet). Still, I will do due diligence and not turn my back on a bear in the woods.
But, this movement will take more than me. See, it’s set up so if only one or two do it, we will simply drop from the grid. If enough do it, we can reach a tipping point and make an impact. We have to do it together and we have to be willing to change our minds.
Feel free to start a respectful conversation here. Feel free to share the words or this graphic. (Shareaholic below is easy and if you hover over the picture it gives you choices).
I’m giving choosing camps the boot. How about you?
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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.
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