‘Anyway,’ said Angua, ‘if people can’t be themselves in Ankh-Morpork, where can they?’
‘There’ll be trouble when the other dwarfs notice,’ said Carrot. ‘I could almost see his knees. Her knees.’
‘Everyone’s got knees.’
‘Perhaps, but it’s asking for trouble to flaunt them. I mean, I’m used to knees. I can look at knees and think, “Oh, yes, knees, they’re just hinges in your legs”, but some of the lads-‘
Angua sniffed. ‘He turned left here. Some of the lads what”?’
‘Well… I don’t know how they’ll react, that’s all. You shouldn’t have encouraged her. I mean, of course there’s female dwarfs but… I mean, they have the decency not to show it.’
He heard Angua gasp. Her voice sounded rather far away when she said, ‘Carrot, you know I’ve always respected your attitude to the citizens of Ankh-Morpork.’
‘I’ve been impressed by the way you really seem to be blind to things like shape and colour.’
‘And you always seem to care for people.’
‘And you know that I feel considerable affection for you.’
‘It’s just that, sometimes…’
‘I really, really, really wonder why.’
“Feet of Clay”, Terry Pratchett
I’ve been getting into quite a few heated arguments lately because somebody is wrong on the Internet and that someone is not me. The topics have mostly been about equal rights and certain privileges but the common denominator in all of those has been feminism and women’s issues in a broader sense. Last week I was called a ‘fundamentalist radical feminist’ pretty much due to the fact that I pointed out that Emma Watson’s UN speech was about concepts that should be elementary for every intelligent human being. A Facebook chat I had today ended with another guy wishing me ‘good luck with working against the well-being of society’, i.e. that awful feminist propaganda which will apparently bring about the four riders of the apocalypse or something. There are several more examples but I’ll just leave them be for now, those particular ‘debates’ are over in any case.
At some point I used to date someone who grew up in a deeply Catholic culture. In his conscious mind he is very much for equal rights for everyone but quite often he did or said something chauvinistic that irritated me to no end. I don’t think he ever quite understood the exact reason why I got mad, although I tried to explain the best I could. When I said that certain rape-y jokes are not funny, he concluded that I should lighten up – it was only a joke. I got really damn livid when he claimed that men and women aren’t able to grasp certain concepts the same way ‘because the hormones are different’… and out of the two I’m the one who has ever studied psychology and those interesting bits and pieces of biology that affect the way our minds work.
Sometimes it feels like I’m fighting windmills, it really does. It is quite disheartening to go to battle equipped with statistics, surveys and studies… and meet complete drivel on the other side. The trouble is that since the opponents rarely use any kind of rational arguments at all, it turns into a fight between facts and faith. However, there have been cases where after a long and calm discussion the other person has actually started to ponder on certain views they’ve been taking for granted so far. And this is exactly why I keep going with this talk about equal rights – changing the world, one person at a time.