Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Popeye Got it Right

Maybe you have heard it to many times, (or maybe you have said it to someone,) "You are too..."
The next word might be one of the following:
Manly, feminine, mental, dumb, intellectual, feminine, masculine, girly, butch, fat, thin, sensitive, insensitive, negative, optimistic, pessimistic, shy, withdrawn, happy, not happy...
Or, it may be something else.
The point is someone is trying to judge another based upon their own opinion of what they consider "normal." People often like to put labels and categorize others and say what is normal, like they are the keepers of the yardstick of normalcy. Maybe they have had it done to them and have had their own individuality repressed and feel threatened by people not afraid to express their own uniqueness.
In reality, we are all as different as snowflakes or zebra stripes or fingerprints. As long as we are not hurting or oppressing others we should cherish that which makes us unique. We are entitled to having and expressing our own feelings and lifestyles as long as we are not hurting others.
Yes, as individuals we have a right to choose whom to spend time with, our friends, our lovers, our life partners. But, we do not have a right to judge others and/or chastise them for being themselves.
I have a male friend who got emotional and started to cry and another male friend told him to "man up!"
That just rubbed me the wrong way. People have a right to be sensitive no matter their gender.
When I think of this I think of Amelia Earhart who said, "Women must try to do things as men have tried." Amelia Earhart was controversial in her time. (Even I remember when some folks believed it was improper and not "normal" for women to work in men's professions.)
Most enlightened people today know that particular sexist attitude is incorrect. Yet, I have heard men who think of themselves as enlightened (and even women working in male dominated fields) complain of men whom they judge as not being masculine enough. Hey folks, even though it's different, it's the same thing. It's sexism folks.
Popeye got it right! Let people be themselves.

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