The Naked Blogger

Being a blogger is like taking all your clothes off and walking starkers down Main Street. It opens you up to all kinds of crazy.

Of course, you’re sharing your personal brand of crazy too. And that’s okay.

When you prepared to let it all hang out, it is worthwhile realising that people do actually read your blog – yep, I know, believe it or not.

If you don’t intend people to read it and want to keep it as a personal odyssey keep it offline.

Now, March 21 is Human Rights Day in South Africa. It commemorates the horrific massacre at Sharpville, but that’s not what this about, it’s about what happened as a result.

Instead of being “Just Another Public Holiday” (which in all honesty it is) we are encouraged to take the day to remember what our human and civil rights are, as set out first in the Freedom Charter and then in our terribly progressive, yet utterly useless, constitution.

One of the most important things to remember in South Africa is that unlike in America, my right not to be offended or discriminated against outweighs your right of freedom of speech. This applies to every sphere public and private.

It means you don’t get to call me a bitch or the C-word.

It means you don’t get to use the N-word or the K-word.

Ever.

It means that racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist speech is a criminal offence.

Yes, even on a blog.

I don’t care if you’re a proud white supremacist with a pillow case over your head.

Go wild and have a pillow case party all by yourself in the real world, but spreading your particular brand of poison in the public sphere is not only politically incorrect (we are BIG on political correctness in South Africa), it is criminal.  140_with_great_power

Blogging is a lot like being Spiderman (or Winston Churchill).

With great power comes great responsibility.

Think about what you’re saying.

Think about the effect it has on other people.

 

So when Emporer Lubu waxes lyrical on the feminine ideal according to his world which is inhabited entirely by a sex he likes to call the bitches (and not in a friendly “Hey! Bee-atches” kind of way), I wonder if he stopped to think:”Gee, if R. Edneck were to read this and go home to his trailer and beat his wife into a pulp because his beer wasn’t cold, would I in any way feel I was partly to blame for condoning and justifying his actions that were only intended to train her properly, after all he wouldn’t have hit her if the bitch hadn’t talked back in the first place?”

Having a blog is not a licence to trash your ex, find SWF’s you want to cook and eat for dinner, share your sexual fantasies about children and sheep, or let loose a vitriolic stream of hatred.

By all means spark debate, start a conversation, be controversial, but watch out for that line. In simpler words – don’t be an asshole.

And if you feel your loathing of all women, gays, blacks, Jews, Muslims etc. is worthy of sharing with the world, be prepared to deal with those who disagree.

And for heaven’s sake add a little bit of self-deprecating humour so you don’t come off as a total <insert P-word here>.

 

 

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The Boobs, the Businessmen and the Balls

I have come to the conclusion that overt sexism by boorish pigs is preferable to the subtle nuances of discrimination that colour the words and actions of metrosexuals. It’s the unintentional sexism that sticks in my craw.

I’m not talking about a man being sweet enough to open a door for me or offer to pour me a drink. I’m not going to turn down an offer an umbrella in the driving rain either. I appreciate these gestures in the spirit of chivalry in which they are offered. I am humbled and absurdly flattered at these.

What gets me all hot under the collar and ready to get out my bic and set my bra on fire are the men who don’t even realise they are being sexist. They would never define themselves in those terms. They think women are fabulous, of course they deserve equal rights and after all, some of their best friends are women.

So, why do they direct a business conversation at the male party? Why do they assume that my gender makes me somehow less capable or my experience less valuable? When I get up from the table, suddenly they get all business oriented and keen, but my very female presence seems to detract from the professionalism of the environment.

When this company gets off the ground it will start as it means to continue and not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, marital status or existence of children. I know women who have got up and walked out of interviews when asked whether or not they plan to have children. Trust me, if you can handle a child and a career you know more about effective time management and prioritising than anyone.

By the way, as a wife or as a business partner I am in no way inferior because I can fall pregnant. My position in either relationship is of an individual in a team. I am not there to make tea or small talk. I am just as serious and ambitious as any man. I’m not going to cry or explode in a hormonal tsunami, but I will cut you down if you put me down.

There seems to be a feeling that if you are married and in business together you form some of sort of unit, like conjoined twins. Does this mean I can pay a married couple less than two single people? I don’t think this would fly at the CCMA. I don’t think that either partner’s contribution to a company is less simply because they wear matching jewellery.

As for the “Mom and Pop Shop” commentary: Pick ‘n Pay, the Oppenheimers, Ikea… should I go on? What started out as amusing has begun to irritate me immensely. People ask if we can work together. What on earth do they think we’ve doing for the last 14 years? We’ve faced some incredibly tough challenges and surmounted every single one. Not many business partnerships last that long or marriages for that matter.

The most frustrating thing is that I have let it get to me. For the first time in my life and career I am starting to question myself, allowing other people to erode my confidence on the basis of… breasts. They aren’t doing it to me, I’m doing to myself and that is at the core of this tirade. Why do I let it get to me when they smile gently and indulgently at me then turn to my male business partner? I’ve sat through meetings gritting my teeth as I get more and more irate, and not even a blind man could miss the blood dripping from my fangs. I’ve stopped going to many of the meetings, because more seems to happen without me being there and more honestly, my self-esteem has been badly shaken.

How insane is that?
I guess I better grow me some balls!