A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Monday, 4 September 2017

Hooptedoodle #275 - Which Side Do You Dress?


BBC Radio 4's Today programme is the way my day begins - I wake up when my radio alarm decides it is time for me to start listening. It's good in a number of ways - I get to keep abreast of the news, and it is excellent therapy to be exposed to rational, articulate people who do not curse or communicate in txt-speak. Unfortunately the content is not necessarily going to improve my blood pressure. Never mind. Each new day comes with no guarantees - just be glad you lived to see it. To misquote Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates - it is bad for your teeth and you don't like most of the centres.


This morning I am, of course, mostly impressed by the continuing adventures of Messrs Trump and Kim. I have been keeping a gentle eye on the betting odds against The Tronald completing his term of office - just for academic interest, you understand. Now I am wondering what sort of price I could get on none of us being alive by the end of his term of office. Problem, as someone will point out, is that I would have difficulty collecting my winnings.

To brighten things up a bit, I stayed with the programme this morning, and was confronted by a spokesperson (female) from a fine single-interest group called Let Clothes Be Clothes - they are committed to campaigning against what they term gender stereotyping, and their target area is eliminating the distinction between boys' and girls' clothes. She was celebrating the fact that John Lewis, the very famous and successful UK department store, have removed the signs from their children's clothes - all clothes they sell for children aged up to 14 are now just clothes. Now there's a mighty step forward. I have a 6-foot-tall, 14 year old son who would be prepared to headbutt you in the mouth if you suggested that he may no longer wear boys' clothing, and I do not believe this is entirely due to stereotyping or conditioning to which we have unreasoningly subjected him.


Initially I listened to the item to see if it were a wind-up, or if someone was about to pour a pail of water over the spokesperson's head, but - no - it was for real.

Now, of course I disapprove of stereotyping or prejudicial behaviour of any sort - at heart I even disapprove of my own stereotyping of women with irritating voices on the radio early in the morning, especially women who have the answer to where the human race has been going wrong for some thousands of years.

I don't really care what people wear - if they are comfortable with how they look and with the reaction it produces in others, and if it doesn't upset anyone else or break any laws then that's fine. If a medical examination indicates that an individual is male but he chooses to wear girls' clothes that is fine too, but I would be happier if he bought them in a girls' clothes department rather than having all the rest of us pretend that there is no such thing.

For my liking, this is all too soon after some other worthy on early morning radio was enthusing about the need to encourage young children to reject their default gender if they wanted - there will be a queue of volunteers to help them, counsel them - maybe sign them up? Perhaps individual councils or schools will score points according to how many defenceless children they can trap into making some blood-curdling mistake?

I fear I am not selling myself well here, but I am worried. Coping with individual preferences and exceptional life choices is positive and necessary; making such minority lifestyles into a new mainstream, and/or forcing the rest of us to change to fit in - that's maybe not so positive. If there is a serious market demand for unisex clothing then that's a different thing - let's have shops that cater for it. That's well and good.

Imagine: you have a 12-year-old son and you wish to buy him some new shirts for school. Seems straightforward enough. OK - where will you buy them? If he is forced to buy a gender-free, non-stereotyped "child's" shirt, which way will it button? How will it line up with his school uniform regs? What other issues have not been thought through? How much trouble are we saving up for the future in mental illnesses and young people being unable to adjust to society - not being able to understand what they now are, what they should relate to? Frankly, I do not care how much of a personal triumph the squeaky woman on the radio felt this is - I think it is a mess.

The Mad Padre recently summed this up with his customary breathtaking precision. I shall attempt to give a resume of what he said, though I am by nature more verbose and less precise. The problem with so-called political correctness, he said, is that it is nominally aimed at increasing tolerance, yet in itself it is completely intolerant; it is decreed absolutely that you will show and offer tolerance to such and such a group or personal status, and here are the strict, inarguable terms and conditions, and here is a list of the things we shall do to you if we decide you have been intolerant.

I'm keeping a bucket of water handy.

25 comments:

  1. Re the whole gender/clothing issue. I always ask myself in the scheme of things is the issue that important, and if the answer is negative then I attempt to ignore the stupidity of the whole suggestion. Clearly this is not even worth talking about, but unfortunately there is credence placed on what these people suggest and are allowed publicity. Why are they accepted as being correct? What I would pay for someone to say, 'get a life, and simply tell them to go away. Their suggestion would have once been ridiculed, now its an 'issue.' Through years of suffering the suggestions of people like the commentator, I have found myself becoming more and more intolerant, the exact opposite of what these people are allegedly attempting to achieve.

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    1. Robbie - I agree - absolutely and without qualification. The only "issue" I have now is I'm not sure how I'm going to find my way around John Lewis' kids' clothing department - perhaps I should shop somewhere else?

      More ominously, how long before they do the same for adults' clothing?

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    2. Intolerance is the new tolerance...

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    3. That's right - or maybe the same old intolerance with new semantics...

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  2. You do indeed have a very valid point. As does Robbie. I missed this particular item on Radio 4 (I think I'm glad about that), which I listen to often online since the World Service gave the axe to so many of its more interesting programs in the 90s and early 2000s in favor of the dreaded rolling news format.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. I'm sure the irritating news items are not genuine - I don't know how they do it, but somehow these interviews are faked just to wind me up in the morning. Many of the stories are far too stupid to be real. Now that I've realised this, it doesn't bother me quite so much...

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  3. Oh, come on. You know as well as I do that the stated top age of 14 is simply a euphemism for adolescence and not some sort of hard and fast rule.

    Speaking as the father of daughters I approve. And the reason that I approve is that the human race has indeed been going wrong for thousands of years by insisting that girls and women know their place in case it makes the big strapping lads feel threatened.

    The point about which side the buttons are is interesting though. Men's walking clothing quite often fastens in the female manner.

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    1. Well I agree that kids are different sizes, so there is some variation in that, but whether or not the shop stocks clothes for a certain age would appear to be kind of binary - i.e. hard and fast.

      Anything which stops girls wearing pink and lilac and role-modelling brainless shopping-goddesses has to be good, but most of the peer pressure in this area appears to be applied by other girls (such as their mothers). I have been spared daughters - I have 4 sons - 3 of them grown up now, and I don't recall their feeling threatened - no more than I was myself, anyway.

      If you've bought yourself a girl's walking jacket then you are, I fear, a fanny, and your views may not be taken seriously. Sorry. Nothing prejudiced about me.

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    2. Sadly, the commenter felt moved to respond by attempting to be gently offensive on his own blog. Just as well nobody reads it. Ridiculous intemperance.

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    3. Well that got a little strange. I visited the blog in question, and was puzzled - the gentleman is as unjustified in making assumptions about the insecurities of your contributors as he was in making the rather hysterical comment about thousands of years of big strapping lads. It seems you hit a nerve, looks like the response was an answer to some other point you hadnt made.

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    4. I am heartily fed up with this topic now - I have no intention of getting further involved in the imagined politics. If John Lewis' customers react well, and if other retailers follow suit (did I mean to say that?), and if general public attitudes change accordingly then - hey presto - I'm sure it will be fine and will make sense. It may even have been something that needed doing - I can see a lot of arguments in its favour. My concerns were based around practical difficulties that will crop up in the interim, trying to buy kids' clothes in a shop which is (temporarily?) out of line with common practice and expectation, and the underlying suggestion that somehow this is another element of petty revenge which has been long overdue.

      I am bowed down with my share of the inherited guilt for the UK's regrettable history of slavery, subjugation of women and - probably - eating meat. I do not feel good about these things, but IT WASN'T ME, chaps, and I cannot spend my entire life apologising for being rather boringly heterosexual, married etc. This, I emphasise DOES NOT automatically imply any particular intolerance of those who are different - far from it, in fact; I have irritated more people over the years by being a pinko liberal than I care to estimate. The further point which you make, namely that my post had nothing at all to do with sexual politics or big lads (straps notwithstanding) is, of course, frustrating, but hey.

      I really have no wish to upset anyone. If they are directly associated with something I find antisocial, wasteful or otherwise bloody stupid, of course, that's different. Apologies to anyone whose teacup I have rattled.

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    5. Sorry, I think I came late to this party. I would just like to point out that, as a heterosexual white male somewhere between puberty and senility, you are one of the only class of people on the planet anyone is allowed to take the piss out of any more. All other groups are allowed to talk bloody nonsense and get away with it.

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    6. Its now more than 2 weeks ago and there are still sad little sniping comments appearing on that blog. I wouldnt like to fall out about anything serious. Amazing.

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    7. Lou - I really am not interested.

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    8. Yet another 2 weeks and that same blog is still dribbling on about gender neutral clothing and toxic males. Perhaps he needs somethng to worry about.

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    9. Lou - in case you missed my previous comment - I REALLY AM NOT INTERESTED. I certainly have no intention of joining you in your watch. I don't know, maybe the poor guy has some sort of crusade going - any of us might get the word at any time - the big cause we have been waiting for.

      In passing - and this is definitely my last word on this - I have discussed this matter at length with my wife, who is an actual woman (like) and something of an enthusiastic Feminist, and she also thinks his behaviour is a little odd. Never mind.

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    10. As you wish. He comes across as a bit shrill for a stoic.

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  4. Replies
    1. No - this re-labelling of kids' clothes by J Lewis may represent some measure of payback for thousands of years of oppression - you can't knock it.

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    2. I don't really care what signs are put up or if clothes are set out next to each other on the shelf, hopefully the unlabelled boys & girls jeans won't get frisky at night when the lights are out if they are near each other.

      No, what I object to is the habit of increasing the price of pink things compared to identical blue things whether toys or shampoo or jeans etc for no other reason than because they can.

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  5. Sorry but i think its a load of old bollox!

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    1. You may be onto something here Ray - that may be the phrase I was groping for. Thank you.

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    2. Ray cuts to the chase and states it admirably.. (again!)... people are scared to tell people they're being a knob/twat'ish because they're scared of being labelled xxxx'ist (name your label)... everyone these days has to be whiter than white, right'er on than anyone else... knob'ery.... :o)

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    3. Steve - there is much in what you say, though your comment may be seen as a little knobbist by some.

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