Swipe Wrong - a thought on how women represent themselves as leaders in N.A. There is a current female comedian who we shall call “Sally” from now on who is one of my favourite TV personalities, she’s made me laugh in the worst of times and cry in the best of times.
Through bullying, breaks ups, medical procedures and losing loved ones Sally was always there to shine a funny light on just about everything from trivial plights like how toilet paper is administered onto the dispenser to navigating the human ego.
My best friend attributes Sally to have saved him from the horrors of middle school. Being a gay boy in a small town in Newfoundland isn’t easy, it isn’t easy anywhere, but Sally taught him the humour he needed to deflect and transform schoolyard bullying into a “gay ol’ time”. Sally didn’t just teach us comedy she taught us survival.
What is survival? The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances. Now if I equate this “accident, ordeal or difficult circumstance” to being a woman in a man’s world or a gay man in a heterosexual’s world or any other minority of today in a majorities world, it seems we are all practising survival... which can get pretty exhausting. Imagine a world where “survival” wasn’t a necessity but a given. For instance, imagine feeling like...yes I’m going to say it, a white man. Just imagine the security safety and confidence you’d feel in your blissful ability to simply exist. Without a thought or care designated to health, economic security, representation or safety because they are not concerns. What a breath of fresh air that would be. Why shouldn’t everyone feel this way? Indeed, that is what feminists are calling for- equality. If one were in a white man’s position one would treat everyone equally with the respect and dignity we all deserve...wouldn’t one?
This is what leads me to the rock in my shoe...Last night I was happily revelling in another episode of my beloved Sally and another top of my list comedian was a guest, let’s call her Jane. The two of them were hilarious; laughing, joking, teasing each other, we were all enjoying a fabulous Wednesday night, until the dating application came out...I had seen this stunt before on a late night show and the same uncomfortable feeling began to renovate my stomach. For those of you happily married and oblivious to the dating app experience it is a game of survival as well. Allow me to summarize what happened next: a string of high profile male celebrity images was presented to Jane and she was to swipe right if she wanted to keep them in the running or swipe left if she wanted them eliminated. Jane participated although she seemed a little reluctant, especially when faced with eliminating. This went on for a few minutes until the men were whittled down to two survivors which Jane couldn’t decide between. What bothered me about it was not the game, it was fun watching Jane squirm, but the double standard that existed in it. Imagine for a moment the genders were reversed, and the images were women, and two men were judging them in front of a studio full of hundreds of men with thousands or even millions of men watching at home...pretty gross, so why do some women (including myself- I was watching it!) indulge in this behavior when we know we wouldn’t want it done to ourselves. Is it revenge? Now that we have a little agency we are wielding it towards revenge? I hope not.
We have been fighting for equality for our entire existence and to be seen as more than baby machines, housekeepers or sexual beings. We have a little corner now and we’re doing the very thing we hated about the patriarch. We are certain as a gender that we have leadership skills that will advance our communities so let’s lead by example and not repeat the mistakes our fathers made. In order to prove our value, we must surpass the established standards, reach higher objectives and set nobler ones, not enforce the ones we criticize. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sally and Jane but we don’t need to just survive anymore we can prosper by leading with the example of equality we’ve always wanted.