Archive for the 'policing' Category

03
Aug
14

I’ve got you in my pocket!

i've got you in my pocketCan the pockets of our clothes reveal our self-perception and society?

Sitting in a movie theater watching the pre-show reel, my husband voiced his concerns for my cell phone.  All possible pockets on my person were bulging because I did not want to bring a purse for this event.  As a result, the only optional home for my cell phone was my back pocket.  This was quite worrisome for my husband who keeps his phone in his front pocket.  When he suggested that as an alternative in order to avoid crushing or breaking the phone (of course he assured me that this was in no way a reflection on the weight or size of my buttocks), I told him that it was impossible.

How is it possible that it should be impossible?  After all, he was able to put his phone in his front pocket.  When I revealed that the front pockets of my jeans were not equipped with large pockets like those on the back, he appeared shocked and confused.   In fact, he stuck his hand in my front pocket to see/feel for himself.  Scandalous, I know.  However, we were not thrown out of the movie theater and continued our discussion.

“Sexist pockets,” I said jokingly.  Can such a ridiculous thing exist?  But it got us thinking about why clothing is made the way it is made.  Everyone’s body is different; shape, size, age, function, etc.  However, designers have discovered a way to classify and label clothing according to a specific standard. The questions that follow are:  who chose the standard, how was it determined and why?  Throughout time the ideal form for the human body has changed.  Has the human body changed drastically over time?  If so, have bodies changed due to some form of adaptation to the environment or in order to accommodate or mimic the trends imposed by society?

Whatever the answers may be, the clothing of our present society reflects certain expectations of different kinds of bodies.  Why do some bodies need or deserve large front pockets and others do not?  Or one can take the opposing perspective and ask why are some bodies are burdened with large front pockets and others are not?  Why are some fabrics used for one body and not another?

Perhaps the most important question to ask is this:  are we allowing society to fit us into their predetermined pockets or are we choosing to fill whatever size pocket we want with who we are?

Advertisements
12
Feb
14

universal timeline

universal timelineAre we ever too old?

Well, too old for what, you might ask?  Too old to learn, grow or try something new?  I don’t think so.  Our society creates a seamless timeline for us: college, job, home, family, retirement.  That’s life, right?  But what if your life looks like this:  job, home, college, job, family or job, family, job or home, family, retirement.  Do you get the picture?

Perhaps this timeline doesn’t work for everyone.  Does that mean you’re too old to still attain anything on that timeline at any time?  Or perhaps you don’t even want anything on that timeline.  Does that mean you’re wasting time or don’t fit into society?

I think society does have expectations and restricts people to follow that timeline pretty closely.  However, more acceptance has been made for people to step outside of the box on things like more education later in life; second or third careers; early retirement; no family.  But in the end, in order to reach what society has stated is the reward for following its structured plan for success, one cannot stray far from the line.

Who decided that life should look this way?  We did.  We’re part of society, right?  So how do we break free from this?  It can be very difficult to deviate from the expected norm since society functions around it.  It’s not impossible, but there are many risks and not much security.  In addition, society makes it even more of a challenge by restricting access to certain opportunities based on age.

How can we change this system?  Like anything, it takes time.  But what about your life right now?  Where are you at on the timeline?  Is that where you want to be or have to be?  What would life be like if you skipped around or even erased the timeline altogether?  Who knows what adventures and unfulfilled dreams might come true!

24
Jan
14

a poisoned perspective

a poisoned perspectiveWhat do you see when you look at the world?  Are you seeking a blemish or soaking in the beauty?

This question comes on the coattails of a complaint made about a small bag of trash left directly outside our garage door.  Whomever and whenever the inspection was made of our dwelling, it just so happened to be on a day that we forgot to throw this trash away in our bin kept inside of our garage.  Mind you, this bag of trash was the size of a softball and was tied up in a plastic bag.  I understand that belonging to a homeowner’s association subjects one to these kinds of demands, but to state in a letter that this kept others from enjoying the neighborhood is a little bit of an extreme.

Frankly, it fired me up!  It made me feel like my own home is being policed and judged.  There is no safe place from society’s scrutiny.  Why can’t one live without fear of conformity and compliance?  After I worked through my initial anger, I felt sympathy.  Sympathy for those who go through life with that perspective: always looking for something to critique.  While taking my dog on a walk I found myself scanning the neighborhood for things that I could complain about.  I quickly stopped myself, realizing what an awful point of view.  It poisons everything – even the beautiful things.

Then I took a step further and realized that for most of my life this is the point from which I have viewed myself – always looking for fault, for a blemish.  Sadly, I have also had tendencies to project this onto others – especially those closest to me.  I do not allow the good qualities overshadow the “bad.”  Once you start seeing the world in this light, it can easily poison one’s way of thinking about everything and everyone – a dangerous thought.

I am certain that it was not the homeowner’s association’s intention to instill a critical perspective in me, but their mission was accomplished as far as condemnation, accountability and shame.  A paranoia clouds me when I step outside and see my neighbors.  Who made the complaint and what do they think of me?  Thankfully, I can say that I really don’t care, but at the same time it saddens me to think that we can live each day, side by side with others and only see the small bag of trash outside their garage door.

22
Jan
14

breaking the mold

breaking the moldWhy is society always trying to make us fit into the same mold?  No one knows us better than ourselves.  No one else can live our lives so why are they telling us how to live it?

Women experience a vast amount of pressure from society throughout our lives.  This is not to diminish the difficulties of men, but I am speaking from firsthand experience as a woman.  We grow up being taught to be pretty but also encouraged to be smart.  Competition for male attention is brutal throughout the teen years and that competition keeps reaching children at a younger age.  I remember my first year in middle school when I liked a boy and he totally rejected me because “so and so” is much prettier and popular.

Then we move on to the education/career/motherhood stage where we are supposed to spend thousands of dollars for an education but also keep in sight the need to have children at the right time which may mean the career has to wait or take a hiatus though we’re still paying back school loans.  I felt like I really had no time to find my real identity because I didn’t know what I was interested in as a career at the age of 19 years old and also felt this looming expectation to have children.  Many of my friends who have wanted to have children but not quit their jobs have felt guilty about it.  Why?  Because society has taught women to put others first – especially their children.  It’s selfish not to stay at home with your kids.  And yet it is totally acceptable for men not to stay at home or even see their children if they are working hard.

But times have changed, right?  It’s more common that women have kids and work fulltime, right?  True.  However, who is still also expected and taking on the majority of the responsibilities at home, including childcare and activities?  Women.  There’s this innate sense of responsibility that women feel to take care of things and people.  This is a strength, not a weakness.  However, it has a tendency to be abused and pull women apart at the seams.  I’ve had years of guilt over not having the perfect, clean looking place or not making a home cooked meal every night.  Why?

Times have changed, but we have not changed with them.  We continue to perpetuate these old traditions and patterns of living which do not fit in to the current freedoms we have as women.  What is really sad is that many times it is women themselves who are pressuring, condemning and holding women back from doing what is best for them.  There is a shame projected on women who can’t figure out being a mom on their own or who choose to work full time instead of staying home or hire help around the house or choose not to have children or choose to stay home with their children.  We can’t seem to ever do enough!  Why do we do this to one another?  Why do we feel that the world is only fair when we are being unfair to ourselves?  Why can’t we ask for what we really want and not feel guilty about it?  Why can’t we embrace the changing times and break the mold?

14
Jan
14

the gazing eye

the gazing eyeWhy are we constantly worried about what others think of us?  The never-ending eye of society gazing upon us even in our most secret places and times when no one is around.  How can we shake free and be ourselves?

Several months ago I was talking to an amazingly bright young man who shared some of his struggles with writing.  He knows the wall – that hand around the throat choking his voice.  A voice that wants to raise itself in the midst of others, but cannot quite make it to the page.  Spoken words are permanent.  They are not as easy to cross out, take back or erase.  Yet at the same time, the memory can be more easily manipulated than the black and white words on the page.  We have to commit to these words.  Why does commitment scare us, even when it comes to our own thoughts?

Is it because we don’t really even know ourselves?  So we try to play the chameleon for everyone else pleasing everyone except ourselves?  Even if it is a simple choice of one word over another we slowly compromise our identity and feelings by choosing- happy instead of sad; yes instead of no; sorry instead of why.  Is that what being part of society is really about?  Learning how to say acceptable things?

Life is short.  Do we take the risk of rejection for the sake of being truly known by another human being?  Or do we hide behind a mask in a cage of fear wanting to be accepted?   Accepted by whom?  Have we accepted ourselves?  When can we give ourselves permission to fully be ourselves?  Or does society have to change first?

09
Dec
13

policing ourselves

policing ourselvesDo we police ourselves?  Has the government become a power so strong that we enforce its control on ourselves?

Today as I drove to school I noticed a motorcycle cop at an upcoming intersection.  The light turned red as I approached and I came to a stop.  It seemed strange that when the light turn green for the opposite traffic, that the police officer did not go.  Instead, he waited until I got the green light and proceed to merge into our traffic using his light.  He came up behind me and I started to feel a nervous pit in my stomach form.  What had I done?  Did I do something wrong?  I must have or be doing it if he’s stopping me.

Thankfully, he was flagging the vehicle just behind me to pull over.  I’m not sure what for as it occurred behind me, but I was glad I was not in that driver’s seat.  The incident made me wonder though, why I immediately felt guilty despite my innocence?  I was readily and willing to believe a complete stranger’s judgment of my actions and behavior before my own!  What is the source of this mistrust in ourselves and our innocence?

Have we given so much power to the government that they have become not only our law keepers and enforcers, but our very conscious?  How have they infiltrated our minds in a land of “freedom” and “innocent until proven guilty” to believe that we are wrong and they are right because they wear a different uniform?  Perhaps this is my own paranoia, but I believe that we should not fear those who should be serving us.

I hope that next time if I see a police officer my instincts won’t cause me to question myself, but to view them as my ally to whom I can take my questions.