Thursday, 29 January 2015

Are we cool with being cool?

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I'm one of those people who's never going to be cool. I'm too messy, I fall over too often and I'm not American enough to pull it off in an adorkable way. As an adult, my aversion to hair straighteners and fondness for word games is not a significant problem. As a youngster, I engaged in the immune strengthening pastime of dining dans le school toilet more than once. Incidentally, since bathroom facilities were not in plentiful supply round our joint, I probably inadvertently strengthened the pelvic floor muscles of my socially adept classmates while I was at it. You are welcome, midwives of Aberdeenshire.

After you hack through the teenage wilderness though, being cool looks like an un-necessary and painful burden. My feelings about adult coolness are roughly the same as my feelings on bikini  waxing. Luckily, enough people disagree with me to keep our beauty therapists and shoe-staring indie bands in work. 

But it has come to my attention that 'coolness' is creeping into feminism. You guys, we have Taylor Swift onside. And Beyonce. And Buzzfeed, which is basically the Debretts of the internet age / cats.

This is wonderful! This is great! Feminism is not a dirty word, and the people who want to make it so are people who should be mistrusted. The phrase 'feminazi' is one that gives me shivers of hatred in my tummy. Yep, there are definitely some feminist dicks. BUT the two don't necessarily go together. Dicks are everywhere. Bloody patriarchy man, it's insidious, I tells ya...

The thing about being cool is that humans are pack animals. Thinking what everyone else is thinking, is a survival trait in case everyone else is thinking about a particularly innovative and effective hunting technique. 

So it's very natural to jump on a cool boat and part of me wants to welcome everyone aboard, with whistles and bunting and everything. But part of me sees someone striding up the gangplank with a pocketful of rape jokes and I want to stop them and ask for their ticket.

The other thing about humans though, is that I'm not in charge of them. Occasionally frustrating though this is, it's probably for the best. I'm not in charge of the boat, anyone can swim up and jump aboard. This will inevitably mean that there will be people identifying as feminists who you wouldn't necessarily define as friends. Feminism is a messy organic thing and we have a million different voices. This is a strength if we listen to each other, rather than drowning each other out. And there's always room for a few more on our party boat. You'll find me in the kitchen.

I'll never be cool. But I'm glad a little coolness has rubbed off on feminism.