Apr. 5th, 2013

underthewillows: (Default)
I am brooding and seething right now, and I want to rant, but it would be unfair of me to be too detailed about the circumstances because it involves the Site Which Shall Not Be Named and might possibly get the people who run this site into trouble or at least tsk-tsked at, which as I said would not be fair to them.

So.

I'm angry right now. Angry as in "throbbing veins at the temples, getting a tension headache" angry. Because of a piece of stupidity which is very probably a storm in a teacup, and I am blowing this way out of proportion, but dang it.

I spent the majority of my life being the nice girl, being the good girl, being the responsible eldest, and I have earned - strike that, I don't have to earn it - I am claiming the right to be angry and express my anger.

So, again.

Look, I'm not the smartest apple to tumble off the branch. A lot of my opinions are fossilised. I'm aware of that. But I have come, by simply remaining alive to this age, and by experiencing an exposure to other points of view (thank you, Internet, and very much thank you, other people out there who have engaged with me), and through fandoms of all kind, to moderate some of my opinions and to change others and to adopt new ones. I still have particular religious, political, gender, whatchamaycall'em views peculiar to the circumstances of being born into a certain class, geographical, temporal and cultural milieu, but that's true for us all.

So, even when I think someone is wrong, or that their opinion is wrong, or the position they are representing is wrong, I can understand that they hold that opinion sincerely, have come to it by methods they consider valid, think that it is for the good, and are not holding it just because they are Evil and if only they would admit it, they would immediately come over to my side.

What I do not appreciate is being addressed de haut en bas and instructed - either explicitly or by implication - that I am just too dumb to recognise the truth when I see it; that the only reason I can be opposed to these obviously true, right, universal and superior views of religion/politics/gender/putting the tea or the milk in first is because I am a bigot, an antediluvian dinosaur (well, I very well may be an antediluvian dinosaur, but that does not in itself demonstrate whether what I think is correct or is false) and a hater.

I particularly do not appreciate 'mansplaining' or a snotty-nosed youth (hey, at my age, if you're thirty, you're still a youth) assuming an attitude of self-evident demonstration that he cares so much more for women and their status than I do merely because he expresses support for side A or position X or organisation Q. Thanks, young man; obviously, despite possessing double-X chromosomes since conception and having experienced both menarche and now menopause, I don't like being a woman, I don't like women, I don't like anything about femaleness, femininity, the female experience, and I want women to be under the rule, thumb and dominion of the patriarchy. Just like in "The Handmaid's Tale"! Otherwise I wouldn't hold these political/religious/social/tea or coffee views!

I especially, particularly, most decidedly do not like such an attitude when it is in the context of my being a customer, consumer and user of a service of which said male person is the representative, and in the context of a justified complaint by another consumer, and we unevolved ones holding The Wrong Opinions get the 'mansplanation' that "The reason we decided to do this is because of our enlightened status - and by extension, by being associated with these kinds of people working here who all like to support this kind of cause, my consciousness is so much more raised on this matter than yours, you hating haters" - when the activity engaged in has nothing to do with that service provision, is pure activism on their part, and the manner in which the complaint is addressed is pissing off for no good reason the portion of your customer base who hold The Wrong, Unclean, Taboo Opinion.

Was there a reasonable way to address the complaint and explain why this action was done? Yes.

Did Mr. Junior Staffer do it that way? No.

Is Deiseach sticking around where she's not wanted? Hey, I can take a hint!

And so here I am complaining and grousing in my new, comfy, she-bear cave. Grrrr!!!!! Snarl!!!!! Crunching of bones!!!!!
underthewillows: (Default)
Suppose you go to a restaurant for your lunch every day. It's not the greatest in town, but it's within your budget, it's convenient to your place of work or where you live, and all you really want is something hot and filling in the middle of the day. This place does that at least.

The menu isn't that varied, they have a bad habit of suddenly and with no warning switching the items on offer and when you can get them, and the service is (to be honest) not that helpful or responsive, but although you grouse about it, it hasn't yet got to the stage where it's more trouble than it's worth.

So, one day, you go in and decide to order an omelette. But when you look at the menu, it's all vegan food. Big posters on the walls about veganism. Flyers on the tables for vegan causes and events. Gift cards on sale that you can give to your friends and family for vegan meals. A collection tin prominently positioned at the cash desk soliciting donations for a particular vegan organisation.

Huh, you think to yourself. I didn't see anything outside or in the local papers saying this place had suddenly gone vegan or changed ownership. Maybe it's just a promotion for this week?

Anyway, when the waiter comes to take your order, you tell him you want an omelette. He tells you sorry, no can do. You ask why, and he tells you "Oh, we don't do those kinds of dishes".

You say you didn't realise they had switched to being a vegan restaurant - or is it because they're under new management? Your waiter says, with a distinct look of who let this one wander around outside on her own?, that they haven't changed, they've always been this kind of restaurant. Indeed, the attitude he exudes very strongly implies that this is normal, that this is what all restaurants are like, that anything else, well, just isn't food service provision.

Okay, you say. If you haven't changed, if this isn't a specifically vegan restaurant, if anyone can come in here and order a meal, can I get my omelette?

"Oh, no," your waiter tells you. He adds, with a sneer, "We don't do that kind of cooking because our staff don't share those beliefs, and we consider that the majority of our customers don't, either."

Those beliefs? What kinds of beliefs are those?, you ask.

"Pro-animal suffering", your waiter explains. "Neither our staff nor our customers believe that the provision and consumption of food should involve or rely on cruelty to animals. That's why we don't serve your kind of meals."

Now, I ask you: would you continue to eat in that restaurant? Would you accept that if you wanted an omelette, this meant you wanted hens to be kept in cruel conditions? Or that if you liked shepherd's pie, this meant you were a sadist?

Would there have been a better way for the waiter to explain why they had an offer on quinoa salad but you couldn't get a hard-boiled egg with that, without insulting customers, insinuating that those who didn't immediately embrace veganism were barbarians, or telling you why there wasn't a contradiction in the statement that this restaurant hadn't changed its policy or emphasis, it was the same as ever it was, but that being a restaurant meant it served greens but not steaks?

And, had you been treated as some kind of animal-torturer, would you have remained to munch on a lettuce-leaf or departed full of determination to eat the biggest, rarest, most juice-dripping steak you could get your mouth around - even though, when you went in, all you wanted was a lousy omelette and you didn't mind if the other patrons ate cous-cous at the same time you were eating your lunch?
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