I’m by no means a model citizen. I’ll leave the water running while I brush my teeth (due to my sensitive teeth the temperature needs to be just right), I get lazy and don’t always recycle and too often fall into the material web of lusting over all things couture.
At the end of the day, all we can do, is our very best to make small, incremental changes to make the world a better place. As an imperfect person, I am constantly striving on trying to be a better person. Which is simply a better version of myself. It’s a constant work in progress, as no one can change over night. I try to look at values and ideologies I respect or admire and reflect on how am I emulating these or perhaps perpetuating things that I don’t stand for. I think many of us stand for something and believe we truly do because we say it, but are we really living and breathing it? Do our actions align with our beliefs?
How I perceive a better world can be far different from what another person may view it as. But to me, a better world is one in which there’s no racism, no classes of people and females are no longer limited by their gender. As a society, we’ve come a long way; however many of the aforementioned issues still persist. Despite all the awareness and education, how come people continue to be racist, judgmental over people’s income classes and women continue to struggle for equality? I believe it’s in the small things that each and everyone of us are doing every day that can make the biggest difference.
So here are three things I am telling myself I must do, to make the world a better place.
What People do for a Living Shouldn’t be the Basis of My Conversations
After I graduated university and everyone started on their career path, one of the first questions any body ever asked you in a social setting was, “What do you do?”. And suddenly, I was defined by my profession. Even worse, I was starting to define other people by their professions. What had I become? I remember when I was a kid, people would ask me what my father did for a living and without hestitation I would tell them he’s a cab driver…because I mean, what does that have to do with anything? After a while, it was clear that this profession was frowned upon and I was viewed less worthy to some. It’s not to say that what one does for a living is not an important facet of who they are, but it shouldn’t define someone. My father’s career never defined me as a person and what I was capable of. Nor did it ever lessen my view of my father as the honest and virtuous man I respect. When you are just meeting someone and it’s one of the first things you ask them, you are subconsciously subjecting them to some form of stereotypes you have developed over the years. Suddenly, we are putting this person in a bucket, and so perpetuating the class system. I have friends from many walks of life and I believe I am better for it. I don’t need to know what you do for a living, unless it’s within context, nor do I feel you’re a better person because you make more money than the next person. It’s about who you are as a person – your beliefs, your values, your interests, your sense of humour or lack thereof. In the past two years, I’ve made a point of not leading in with this question and I believe I have been successful at doing so. And in doing so, I find I have much more fun in social settings – because it’s about having fun with humans and not society.
When Someone Asks me Where I’m From, I’ll Respond with, “What Does it Matter?”
About a month ago, I went to a house party with two of my girlfriends. We went into the living room and there was a young man there. After saying hi and introducing himself and vice versa, he immediately asked us, “Where are you girls from?”. When you’re Canadian, you know that question isn’t about geographically where you live, but it’s about race. I literally just met this person, and the first thing they care to know is where I’m from. Why? So he can subject me to stereotypes of that race? I mean, I always get this question, but I’m getting sick of it. Why is it so important? I used to always say, “Guess?”, but now, the right response should be, “What does it matter?”. Because really, in the end, it doesn’t matter. If we really want to live in a world free of racism, we need to stop immediately identifying people by their race. Again, as you get into a more meaningful relationship and it comes within context, that’s fine. If you truly are against racism, think about how you’re perpetuating it by every time identifying someone by their race, because in the end, we all bleed red.
I Will Not Partake in Any Form of Slut Shaming
We’ve all been guilty of this some point or another. It’s very easy to fall into the slut shaming trap, especially if you don’t like a girl. In fact, I believe women are the worst with throwing the term slut around. The problem with slut shaming is that the male equivalent doesn’t come with the same negative connotations. We all know this double standard, a man sleeps around – he’s a player/sauve/ladies’ man, but when a woman sleeps around, well…she’s a slut/whore/dirty. Frankly, what a woman chooses to do with her body is her business and the business of someone who wishes to be intimate with her – because intimacy can lead to negative repercussions if proper precautions aren’t taken. Some women are more sexual beings than others and the same goes for men. For women to be truly equal, it’s important our sexuality is treated equally as well. By using the term slut or encouraging someone to use it, or even allowing someone to throw around that term without questioning it, we are perpetuating gender inequality. So next time someone calls a girl a slut, I urge you to ask, “Why? What about her is slutty? What has she done that defines her as a slut? And really, why does that matter to you?” Society is wayyyy too comfortable using it and feels that there’s little to no repercussions when doing so. Just like there’s backlash today for using terms like faggot or retard (as there should be), the same should go for slut. It’s a sign of ignorance – the root of all evil.
Change starts at the root and is often in the little things.