Some overdue rants

I’ve been trying to post here for a while, and I’ve also been trying to figure out how to verbalize all my thoughts and feelings of the past two months…

Anyway, I’m sitting here waiting for a friend to call while I stew in my own anger and disappointment with the events of today – which I shall not go into in great detail – and I’m trying to rationalize why these things make me so mad. I shall attempt to talk about the smallest, and easiest thing first.

a) At a conversation we had at lunch, two of my friends tried to dismiss something that’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I realize that the following rant may not be completely understandable to some people, nor its importance, but it needs to be acknowledged for its own sake, so deal with it.

So, back to lunch. Somehow, we came upon the topic of weight, and the term ‘fat’. Now, apparently, there’s a whole identity axis around being fat and fat positive – something I didn’t know growing up and would have loved to. More importantly, these people – whom I totally love, tried to tell me that I’m not fat – and, as much as I love hearing that, one of them insisted that me calling myself ‘fat’ is what makes fat girls want to punch me in the face. Now, this is problematic because apparently only these fat girls get to tell me I’m fat. However, having grown up being repeatedly de-valued for my weight, and repeatedly reminded how enormous I was, I can assure you that even if I’m apparently not allowed in the hallowed halls of the fat (sad day) I have still been told that all my life, and hence, it is how I see myself. So even if I don’t seem fat enough to whoever these people are, I assure you that I feel it, and all the discrimination, and problems that comes with it.

b) I have also been repeatedly hearing this discussion of ‘morals’ and people having a ‘moral compass’, or a conscience, or whatever. Apparently one loses ones moral compass when one decides to be a part of any sexual activity outside of a heteronormative long-term coupling. We now have enough academic discussions about gender, sexuality, and the de-pathologising of homosexuality, and so on, but it still surprises me when people who call themselves liberal, and progressive, and all those other good adjectives, see sex as immoral if its not occurring the way THEY do it. Sometimes, I’m just so fucking tired of having to explain myself, or anyone else’s sexual activities as if they are some lascivicious secret that I can only share with select individuals. And loathe even more, the people who encourage such behavior by agreeing that they have no moral compass and wear it as a badge of honour. I mean, great, if that’s how you identify – as an immoral wanton slut, and you enjoy those titles, good for you, but please, don’t make that true of everyone that behaves as you do, because my morals don’t get defined by who I sleep with, it gets defined by my own system of ethics as I exist in this world.

c) Today, I am seriously disappointed in the academy. I have spent nearly a year trying to put together this thesis, and making it as good as I can. I’ve put my heart and soul into this. And today, I watched something happen to someone else that just cheapened the entire system of grading, and knowledge production altogether. I have believed, somewhat naively, that if one did excellent work, recognition would follow. And as a corollary, if one did less that excellent work, that would be recognized as well. (sidenote: no, this isn’t about my grade – I haven’t received it yet, so I’m neither gloating nor hating) Having been through a week of presentations, and discussions, I’m coming to realize how arbitrary this whole thing is, and that there literally is no meaning to the system of grading we have. I guess this isn’t surprising, enough people have pointed that out over the years, but somehow, I believed that the more nuanced, mature, and interesting the argument, the better one’s work would be received but after being aware of how ridiculous some work is, and it still getting passed, I’m really coming to question the value of what I do.

Of course this comes back to me, and my problems. Having spent my whole life convinced that all I needed to do to get out of the horrible childhood I had was to be as smart as possible so I wouldn’t have to deal with all the trash that I was put through (partly influenced by rant a)) I thought the academy was my safe haven. Having to deal with its failures is like watching everything you ever believed in fall in one big sweep.

Anyway, I have resolved to throw money at my problems, and drown my sorrows in consumerism – Zara, H&M, here I come.

[Yes, this is ridiculously privileged. I am also filled with self-loathing about that.]

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