I is for…Inspiration

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that ‘I’ is for interlude…

To be honest, I haven’t felt much like blogging for some time.  Life has been pretty rubbish of late. No, less than rubbish…rubbisher! Still, cataclysmic life events notwithstanding…I confess to have been a little stuck on the alphabet blog (my challenge to myself to blog about each letter of the alphabet).

…at any rate, I’d reached ‘I”. What to choose?  Individual.Yep, that’s me. Iconoclast. Check. Izzat.  Uh? Yes, the last word is a real one – not a cricketing term, it’s derived from Arabic and means reputation or honour. It also happens to be the last entry under ‘I’ in the OED. The OED? Clearly desperate times called for desperate measures. I can usually write my way out of a paper bag. Nothing sprang to mind. My blog muse was…incognito. Inaccessible. Impossible! Earggh!

But tonight, after a long conversation with a friend in …yep, you guessed it, Indiana…I realised that ‘I’ stands for all the inspirational women who are part of my life.  Friends, family and business colleagues – women who juggle childcare with challenge, heartbreak with homemaking, and divorce with devotion to a charitable cause. They are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and friends. They are breadwinners and bakers. Cooks, CEOs and creatives. Photographers and peacemakers.  They are my support in tough times. I salute them!

Shoot from the lip…

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!

Porn again…

When I was younger, I spent a year in a mid-Western town in the US.  Its claim to fame – other than being cheerleader central  – was that the KKK were as active as the local Baptists. They also happened to have a XXX-rated drive in.  Yep, no kidding.  They liked abbreviations with three consonants! You could see the screen from miles away… Well, it was flat and there were loads of corn fields….but still. Personally, I never got the appeal of driving down the road to watch silent movies!  I also never could reconcile the hypocrisy – god fearing by day, deeply disturbed by night.  You get the picture…

I must admit, I struggle with pornography. I think it exploits the weak…and the weakness in others. It’s one thing to explore when you are an hormonal adolescent male, quite another when you are a grown man. In an internet age, it is on-line and on-demand. It’s in your face and up for grabs.Travel on business today and most hotels will offer you a selection of ‘adult’ movies, which aren’t itemised on your hotel bill. It gives men unrealistic expectations, and puts additional pressure on women. Surely the Hollywood wax was not invented until some male director thought it made for better viewing on camera? And as for those terminally pert, pneumatic boobs..not to mention male enhancements? Ouch!

I am not a Puritan. Nor am I anti-eroticism.  I’ve done my fair share of wild living.  And I recognise pornography is nothing new. Netsuke sculptures from Japan, the Kama Sutra from India, Victorian postcards.  Human sexuality is part of society. And for some people, watching it is a turn-on. I get that.  We are all consenting adults and for the most part are allowed our peccadillos…as long as they don’t involve children or animals!. Nevertheless, for me it’s a bit like sailing – I’d rather be doing it than watching other people do it!  And my ‘turn on’ is definitely cerebral – to get into my knickers, you have to access my mind first!