Observations, Self, Social Justice

on maybe just thinking casually about the possibility of considering going temporarily vegetarian.

Given the fact that my latest date– a guy I’d only been out with a few times but who I thought had some relationship potential– had been cancelled (he dumped me. It’s a trend these days; all the cool kids are doing it!), I found myself with a free evening.

I then remembered that my dear friend Nandita had invited me to see a movie. If you’ve read for a while, you may remember that Nandita is the angel who invited me to the Jam. She’s artistic, she’s gentle, she’s fierce, she’s loyal, she’s grace-full, and she’s super hippie.

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Isn’t she loooooooveleeeeey?

I worry about being one of those girls who forgets about her friends when a new boy comes along, so I was embarrassed that I had even planned a date for that night in the first place. I hurried straight to the theatre to meet Nandita after work.

The place was packed, and I could barely squeeze through the theatre doors. Nandita had promised to save me a seat, but when I got inside, I was surprised to see she was sitting in the middle of a row of people: her parents, her uncle, her boyfriend, and two other friends. Leave it to Dia to invite everyone she knew to a movie about climate change.

The saved seat was next to a friend of hers from college, so we chatted for a few minutes before the film began. Someone was passing around a sign-up sheet for email updates from the director.

Honestly? The movie wasn’t anything to write home about. The director seemed very into his own face and his own thoughts and feelings. Which I would’ve been okay with if he had been honest about his own lack of efficacy, his smallness in the grand scheme of these “climate change wars” he described, if he’d been less visible and less upheld in the stories he told about native activists from other cultures — if he’d been more humble. But instead, several of the storylines seemed only to aggrandize him, glorifying his small personal victories against anti-climate-change officials. There were also a lot– a lot– of shots of him playing the banjo.

I have a hard time getting past things I don’t like in movies. What was good about the film was the way the director highlighted how art, communal feeling and experience, and creative direct action can form a kind of protected(/ing) island in the midst of the sea of climate change (which we will literally all be swimming in by 2036, if the film’s scientists are correct.) Lots of climate change films seem to focus on science and fear and politics. This one focused on art, and love. That was good!

The section that really struck a nerve, though, was the part that talked about energy production and consumption: specifically, about how much energy is consumed in the production of meat energy for mah belly. I love meat. I love hamburgers. I was vegan for a hot sec and vegetarian for around 2 years in college, but DAMN all I wanted the ENTIRE time was a burger.

And before any of you vegetarian enthusiasts (yay you!) tell me I just wasn’t doing it right (eating enough protein, combining food properly, getting enough vitamins and minerals), I was. 😀 I strongly believe that some people’s bodies are just not suited to vegetarian diets, and that that’s okay as long  as those can source their food ethically.

Unfortunately, my neighborhood may technically qualify as a food desert; and if it doesn’t, it definitely doesn’t have access to fresh organic meats and produce.

But hearing how quickly we’re headed toward climate-change-induced oblivion is making me reconsider buying the highly processed, inhumanely raised, and energy-guzzling meat at my supermarket.

So this is a very long  post to announce that I’m kinda thinking about possibly going veg.

Any tips appreciated! Share them in the comments.

xoxo m.

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Observations

apples and oranges and cultural values.

I’ve been seeing this photo spread around a lot lately:

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RAAAAAAWRRR! THE MEDIA! MEDIA BAD! KYLIE BAD! MALALA GOOD!

The Kardashian women take a lot of flack from people who call themselves feminists or politically engaged. These folks claim it says a lot about the shallowness of culture that 18 year olds having extravagant parties is considered newsworthy.

But when adults get their panties in a bind about how ridiculous Kylie Jenner’s celebrity is, when they get disgusted by the level of consumerism and consumption she demonstrates and bemoan the sexualization and vapidity of youth– they’re missing the point. After all, they’re still making her news.

I’m making her news, too, right now. Just by talking about her.

I mean, I agree with the assessment that she is a poor role model. Most teenagers are. But she’s still a kid, and kids don’t need to be told they’re attention whores or worse, actual whores, as Kylie has been. They need people to set positive examples for them. Positive examples, by the way, do not take one kid and compare her to another and say, “Why can’t you be more like her?”

I know she’s 18, which is legally an adult. I know she grew up in the spotlight and has Kris Jenner Momager as a mother and knows adult skills, like how to take a meeting and manipulate press and sit in makeup chairs.

But for Pete’s sake, her brain is literally still undeveloped. Pretty much all teenagers are narcissistic, self-absorbed, and envious. It’s a social response to developmental insecurity. So in the meantime, how about we just let her be? Stop dissecting her cries for attention, and stop demeaning her insecure fans. If we did that– stopped obsessing about the media obsessing about Kyle Jenner– not only would that cut the amount of time people spent talking about her by a lot, but it would also be a way to acknowledge that she’s just a kid, and no kid needs that much negative attention.

And by the way– Malala is just a kid, too. An extraordinarily intelligent, brave, and compassionate one, but not at all comparable to Kylie Jenner, except in that they are both 18 year old female humans. They are completely different people, raised in dramatically different settings, and with entirely different sets of concerns. “Enlightened” media consumers like to hold them side by side to make a point about what character traits our culture values, but the secret value they themselves are perpetrating is that it’s good to compare women to one another.

Juxtaposing their pictures reduces the complex people to images, essentializing them as symbols of values without any regard for the nuance that is their humanity. It also pits them against one another–which, wait, we’ve been doing to women for centuries. It’s true that compassion is a more useful value than consumerism. But it isn’t as though these young ladies are reducible to either one, or that these values are diametric opposites. Female-female comparisons and competition have always been an easy way for a patriarchal society to ensure that no female actually gets the respect she deserves.

Media outlets giving air to particular types of events and celebrities does perpetuate certain values. But we have to remember to think for ourselves, too. Let’s stop putting women in unwinnable competitions against each other, and let’s stop reducing them to what they represent. People are not symbols. They are people: hella messy, hella fragile.

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