Specimens and Speculations

A thousand years into the future, humans will be indistinguishable from each other, not give a damn about anyone’s race, gender or sexual orientation, and will marry whomever they damn well want. We’ll borrow freely and respectfully from cultures but never think to malign one.

Except of course we’d probably be out colonizing Mars and terrorizing aliens and discriminating people based on which planet they were born on. I’ve not much hope for us, really, not any more. And all this angst because of a silly little series of videos.

All right, I understand this was supposed to be humorous. I like the occasional borderline offensive joke every now and then, as long as it’s said with the clear indication that it’s complete idiocy. A sort of can-you-believe-how-lame-and-potentially-offensive-this-is and we just snort and shake our heads, and never remember what it is again.

But stuff like this? Stuff like this catches on, becomes a place for people to draw from. Stereotypes come from somewhere. And this stuff honestly makes me uncomfortable.

Because, even though some girls say stuff like this — and I’ve seen and experienced and participated in the ohmygawding and the yelling and the hugging — that’s not all they’re about. I’ve known girls who talked about makeup and clothing and cars and coding, and let me tell you, those have been some of the best conversations of my life. Shouldn’t there be another set of videos, about girls who build Ikea furniture without looking at manuals and girls who read The Economist voraciously and girls who argue politics and religion and girls who go starry-eyed over science fiction? These videos aren’t fair.

Most of the race-related videos anger me for the same reason. Different words, different clothes, same attitude — and some of those don’t particularly sound like they’re related to racial communities, either. What the hell’s the point? Can we find a way of identifying ourselves that doesn’t involve frustrating superficialities like these? Listening to some of the X say to Y videos, though, I can sort of see the point — “Don’t ever presume you can make assumptions like that, think about where someone else is coming from”. But if I were a white girl, I’d be quite legitimately pissed off, because you’re making the same sort of generalizations about a group of people who are occasionally still taking the blame for something their bloody racist ancestors did.

I didn’t like the Shit Guys Say video either. All the men I know are sweet, intelligent and humorous, and guys like that should be the standard of comparison, not the assholes in these videos.

I’m also not particularly taken with the argument that, since the creators are gay, that whatever group is being talked about in the videos should just “try not to let that define” them. If you know that similar crap is happening to whatever marginalized community you belong to, why are you doing the same thing to someone else?



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