As little girls we are taught that sugar and spice is nice, the emphasis on the sugar, the implication being that ‘nice’ girls never express their opinion. Yeah, right…! Still, this anachronism was brought home to me this week in a most unexpected place… my Msc class.
I know! University is meant to be a place of free expression, debate and argument. If not, what on earth is the point? For my sins I’m doing a post graduate degree in Corporate Governance and Ethics. It’s true I have given up self improvement, but I love learning…probably serves me right. Anyway, in one of my classes, I made an off-the-cuff remark about arms dealers in Africa. Sardonic, yes. Serious…? Hardly!! Clearly, I was being ironic when I said that manufacturing in Africa would grow if local people made guns – well, let’s be honest, of the known conflicts in the world, the majority take place across the central belt of Africa – why not exploit the market? Among my many flaws I am a free marketeer.
At this point, horrified hisses in class…H.a.l.l.o people! Get real…would I actually be doing a class on Corporate Responsibility if I felt that poor African farmers should give up their maize and cows and start assembling Kalashnikovs? Oh puh-leeze! I even got accused of being a Daily Mail reader. That was bad, but it was not the final straw.
What really got to me was that this class of young people in their 20s and 30s had sacrificed their sense of humour and opinions on the altar of political correctness. Somehow it was anathaema that I had expressed an opinion (albeit ironically) that went against the general consensus. Hmmm, and 200,000 lemmings must be right too! I’m sorry, but when did it become ok to have a focus on not expressing one’s views? Un-opinioned and bland is the enemy of progress to my mind. And yes, I do have one! I’m not afraid to use it. That’s one of the benefits of being sapient…
Still, I’m old enough for this not to matter overmuch. But consider this blog fair warning to those po-faced political correctoids…Get over it, or get over yourselves! I am opinioned woman, and I will roar. Whether you like it or not!