A post my friend Patrick Bristow wrote the other day inspired me to write. It got me to thinking about the psychology (and sociology) of thought.
We live in a world where society and media want to make everything black or white. I'm not speaking to race, but thought and action. I want to address the many many (not 50) shades of grey out there, what I like to call "the in-betweens".
For example, we have very stringent sexual harassment law, which in turn also birthed hostile environment law. Now, let me be very clear, I don't want to be touched by someone without my consent, or spoken to in a derogatory fashion. However, I don't want to give up the times when I go to work and someone says "you look nice today". That to me, is giving up too much. And guess what? I didn't like someone touching my stomach uninvited when I was pregnant either, and that had no sexual undertones. There are plenty of people out there who say "I dress for me, not for others to comment on." But I don't believe that is always the case either. We spend money on the shoes, the purses, the diamonds for others to notice and comment. In my personal opinion, no one gets the 6 carat+ diamond as a show of only love. I know ample amounts of couples with simple bands that love just as much.
Another hot topic in the news is Chrissy Hynde and her comments on rape and responsibility. Having been, as she has, a target (I hate labeling myself as victim) of sexual assault, I feel I do have a right to comment as well. Let me start by saying, no one, NO ONE ever needs to take responsibility for a violent act committed against them. She made mention (I am paraphrasing) to girls who dress a certain way need to take responsibility for their attack. Sorry, no. Yes, if you are in a short skirt, heels and low cut top, you can expect to be "hit on" as a colloquialism, but that's it. Stating that you asked to be raped? No. Rape is a violent assault, not a sexual advance. Her theory is tantamount to saying if a man, gay, black, asian, blue, purple (basically anything Hitler wouldn't deem ideal) walks into a bar, or past a street, where there are aryan nation members, this man should leave, or change streets, cities, etc. or else they are asking to be assaulted. By no means should we blame the targets/victims because they chose to live their life. Dressing a certain way, being you, does not constitute an invitation for violence.
Back to the grey in-betweens. I think in striving to make life simple, we have forgotten that it's not. An innocent compliment does not constitute harassment. Sometimes a nice word is just a nice word. Stilettos are not a visual invitation for rape, but they can be an invitation for attention. We are doing ourselves a disservice if we forget there are varying degrees of life, and unless we want to raise a generation of agoraphobes, we need to teach by example how to deal with certain situations. Saying thank you to a compliment but no to a date is ok. We don't need to take away the part that makes us smile out of fear.
By creating a black and white society, we are taking away choices, decision making, ideas, and worst of all imaginative thought. The greatest thinkers and innovators in the world took risks. Some of the greatest relationships started with a compliment. Remember when secret admirers weren't considered stalkers straight out of the gate? In our quest for a bubble wrapped society, I think it's been forgotten that plastic can suffocate.
If we continue to forget the grey area, we are not only teaching, but living, in a world that lacks not just trust, but sympathy and empathy as well.
Sometimes, sometimes, too much protection only tells us someone is out to get us and, as humans, we search to put a face to the boogie man we're told is under the bed.