Don’t Make It Right, Make It Fair!
Buckle up for this is going to be a rough ride. The kind of ride where we talk about serious things; Such as being a level-headed human in a society that is flirting with madness. In all this chaos we need a guiding light, a pillar that we can always reference, a value that needs to be substantiated in everything we do. And I do have an answer. Our guiding principle/value should be fairness.
Being fair is nothing I invented.
I think I addressed this issue before. I don’t know if it’s the result of some childhood trauma or just a sensible thing that I apply in all my actions, but if I come to think about it, fairness or lack of moves everything: politics, environment, international conflicts, interpersonal conflicts, poverty, sexism, etc.
And let me exemplify.
Politics: When you vote, you tend to choose the politician you perceive as fair, right?
Environment: You probably know that lots of plastic coming from the Western world was sent to China up until recently when they said ‘Stop’; how do you find this? Fair/not fair for us? Fair/not fair for China?
International conflicts: North Korea, probably the most backward country in the world, completely isolated, extremely oppressive, mad dictator. Do you know how it came to being? Korea (North and South) was just one country up to WW2 when the USA and Russia decided to split it into a communist state (North Korea) and a capitalist state (South Korea). Is it fair that people speaking the same language and sharing a common past have such different lifestyles nowadays?
Interpersonal conflicts: Literally any misunderstanding you have with your friends or coworkers stems from (un)fairness. Something happened and it’s not fair you had to suffer.
Poverty: I am not going into details, but is it fair that a poor person overcomes all adversities and makes something of themselves, while another poor person awaits for governmental help, heavily relying on it?
So let’s talk about being fair because it turns out this is important.
We bring up our kids in the spirit of doing the right thing. Don’t steal, don’t judge people based on the minority they come from, don’t … don’t … don’t. There are a lot of don’ts at the foundation of doing the right thing. And it’s ok. Over seven billion people need rules. But not for doing the right thing. I think there is a case to be made for the fair thing to do.
Why? Well, look where ‘right’ has brought us.
I will talk about this one example — sexual discrimination — because this has been on my mind for some time. However, please, keep in mind it’s not just about this.
Sexism is a very delicate matter, especially in the wake of #metoo.
Women (and other sexual minorities) have been oppressed, abused, discriminated for quite some time. The time came for that to stop. It happened gradually, we came forward with unspeakable truths about what we endured.
One parenthesis here, my case refers to women from the Western..ish world. Not because we deserve all the attention, but because this is where I live and what I know. I cannot speak for what I don’t know, for women living in countries where they have no rights. I am thinking of some Middle and the Far East countries. My heart goes out to them but there isn’t much I can do there. Parenthesis closed.
We endured a lot last century. We finally got to matter, politically, but we’d still be married off to politicians to make them look good; we’d get an education but we’d still be frowned upon for trying to get a fitting job; we’d get a proper job but there’d still be the payment gap; we’d cover that gap but we’d be called heartless bitches. And when that happened is we’d just curl up in a corner and cry. Or on a forum or blog. We’d form Facebook groups and complain about it. We’d make campaigns and ads. We’d found NGOs, go on marches, show our boobs in public as a protest.
All these in the spirit of making it right, setting the record straight because there have been hundreds of years of it being wrong. Can anyone blame us? Certainly not. It’s our time now! And f*ck those who would tell us what to do.
But how much ‘right’ makes it ‘wrong’?
I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s all gotten out of control. I am thinking of something specifically — all of those who have highjacked the much needed #metoo movement. And I know a lot of them women who did. Dress extremely provocative and then cry because they get stared at, for example. Yes, stared at, talked to, not groped. I mean, it is your body, feel free to dress as you like, but please take responsibility for it! If there’d be a man showing his parts, you’d stare the same.
And the examples can go on.
I have worked with men almost my entire life and I have to say, although challenging, I have managed to navigate them.
It takes skill, exercise, and a somewhat thick skin, but it’s totally doable. And one more thing coming from a woman in a men’s world, it feels extremely weird to have colleagues asking me every step of the way if they’ve offended me with an extremely mild joke. Some might see this as a triumph of feminism, but I see it as a failure. Tiptoeing around someone is not something I particularly like. It just sucks the joy out of everything, ladies!
So instead of making it right, I propose to make it fair.
Setting the record straight has led to a tiptoeing attitude. Which, in the long run, I think will only hurt us. We will raise snowflakes who won’t be able to form an opinion or take action until they made sure everybody is on board. Nothing will ever get done this way.
Making it fair, however, is a completely different story. It implies a certain kind of common sense, a compass that ensures lines are not crossed.
While most of the time, making it right means getting involved, coalesce with the crowd and let it drive you, making it fair implies another kind of action, a more personal and directed one.
Has your boss/colleague made some inappropriate remarks about your looks? Pay him back with a mockery around his appearance. You are walking down the street and some asshole makes some sleazy commentary about your ass, make fun of his (small) penis (and be prepared to run or hold on to your pepper spray, just in case). I am not instigating you, I am just saying there is another way. An active way, a determined way that takes you out of your victim nest. You finally got the figurative balls. Use them!
Making it fair is about individual action, it’s about offense as a defense strategy.
Because on the long run, we all want to live in a world where responsibilities, actions, and rewards are equally and fairly divided among all of us, no matter the age, sex, gender, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion or any other particularity that defines us.