Friday, September 1, 2017

Confused. Me ?


 I confess to being quite confused now.  I think it might be an age thing.
 I can’t even speak the terminology  any more; it’s all too new to me.
It’s all about labels. And we all need a different label, which to me is divisive  rather than unifying.
So, here’s one thing. As far as I know there are two genders. XX and XY.
I have been told recently that this is wrong and that there are about 55 genders.
Nope. There are two.
I am told I am intolerant and sexist for saying so.
I might go for three. Occasionally there is  a XXY. They used to be very good at shot putting until we had the technology to find them out but are a genuine twist of nature so really it’s  two; XX and XY.
How you want to express those chromosomes in your private or personal life is no business of mine. It’s your personal stuff and unless I am in your personal circle, not my business. You can be binary, unilobular, tricyclic, quadrophenic, quintessential, hexagonal  I have no interest. As long as they are happy it’s fine.  My two best pals are gay. They have never told me they are gay, they just are what they are. And that’s fine. They do not label themselves as gay and they have never felt the need to.
                                                       I think this is a man in a skirt. I wouldn't argue
                                                          with him either way...

And now another celebrity has announced they are bringing their child up as non gender specific. Fair enough,  let the kid find it’s own way, I am all for that. But I suspect ‘it/ he/ she/them’ might be appearing in magazines with the parents discussing their/his/hers non gender status  to the ends of the earth as the XX or XY works  their  magic just as nature intended.
So when I get a bit of trouble with an employee for persistent lateness , I have to state to the lawyer if they are gay or not. Now the only answer to that should be, ‘I have no idea, it’s none of my business.’
Lawyer ‘Well you need to find out.’
Me       ‘Why, does being gay give you an inability to get to work on time?’
Lawyer  ‘No but..’
Me       ‘ Well why ask the bloody question then?’
Lawyer   ‘Yes, but they are a minority..’
Me    ‘Well if you look hard enough we are all a minority. I have green eyes, the last green eyed person will die in Finland in 2075 (I read that somewhere). I am so rare I could be persecuted. I am endangered.’

I think it might be my age.
Am I post feminist?  What does that mean? Ladies ( XX) fought very hard for the rights I have enjoyed, the equal rights I have enjoyed. I’ve never felt oppressed by men at work; I have a brain, I can speak and point out something that is unequal, hopefully without causing offence as often offence is not intended.

If a man stands up to let me sit down on the bus. I am not offended, but I’ll smile and say no thanks.
If an older man got on, I’d give them my seat. Same with a pregnant lady… or a pregnant man for that matter.  I’m not offended if a man holds a door open for me. I would also hold a door open for a XY coming through. It’s about people.

And equality. And the right to choose? Absolutely. And that goes both ways.
In my profession, I do believe that patients have a choice. They can see male or female practitioners as they do have to undress a little. Women not wanting to undress in front of men in the clinical sense, fair enough. Men not wanting treatment from a female because woman are not strong enough- well let’s hope they never phone up as an emergency on my shift!
Much more important is the protection of male practitioners from female patients who maybe have a different agenda than getting treatment for a sore back. And these women do exist and know how to work the system.

It’s about respect.
So I am now told  we are in an age where woman are expressing their sexuality freely. I thought that started in the 60’s but hey ho.  I was at an event recently where the women were dressed in knickers and suspenders, Basques and thigh length boots, in front of a male audience – which to me is right back where we started.
But that’s  err…. Something else.
I know it’s a deeper issue than that. Men paying women to take their clothes off is a win win for women, IF it’s her choice but it rarely is.  It’s normally an abuse of a vulnerable subject, and that abuse is not confined to women.
The event I am talking about so offended me - maybe that’s too strong a word- maybe I was struck by its incongruity and was uncomfortable with it. Any time I have witnessed a female stripper I have gone to the toilet so I don’t need to witness it. Anytime I have witnessed a male stripper I have gone to the toilet so I don’t need to witness that either. I see enough of that at work.
When I got my deal with Penguin, a male friend and writer (unpublished) said to me, ‘Well you would as you are young and blonde.’ I pointed out I was a lot older than him. He remains unpublished. He did not remain my friend.
                                  A Scottish woman in art....but she maybe not be either.

And as I have mentioned before, we have a movement called the Women In Arts in Scotland. For the promotion of women in arts. Men are not allowed to join.
So I refused to join.

It  makes me uneasy. Equality is equality. Not just for some. I said that at an event recently and got a spontaneous round of applause so it’s not just me.
And then at work we got a letter from a lawyer, it started Dear Sirs (British polite from one company to another). My PA walked into the back office with our reply and got dogs abuse from a 35 (ish) member of staff. ‘It’s not right to put Dear Sirs, I mean that just means men, that’s demeaning to women. It’s not even legal so you should get that changed… ‘etc. etc., no doubt there was finger wagging. Then I said, loudly, ‘If they Dear Sirs us, we will Dear Sirs them.’
The finger waver scuttled to my door, all pouting and knickers in a twist. ‘We are all strong independent women; you should not be condoning that sort of language.’
‘Well I am the sort of strong independent woman who runs this company and you are the sort of strong independent woman who let her mum wash her socks until she was 33 so think on.’
And that just sums it up.
Just as I was writing this, a diversity survey from the Scottish Book Trust popped into my inbox. It has four questions, they want my age, they want to know how I would identify  myself. The word passport is not an option; male, female, other, prefer not to say.  But you can specify in a special box.. And then a question about my sexual orientation; 8 choices there. A question about disability   and then a question about my  ethnic origin;  11 options there, everyone has the word Scottish in it.
So I guess I am saying I am fed up with labels!

Caro Ramsay (XX ,Scot, Brit, European, osteopath, heterosexual, unionist, green eyed, vegan, runner, dog lover, cat slave, crime writer, MIE blogger.)


  1. Bravo, Caro, Bravo! Over here on Mykonos I think it's safe to say that the entire alphabet is on the beach, Cyrillic and otherwise, freely demonstrating their vowels and consonants to the rest of the alphabet(s).

  2. I agree on many levels, Caro. But why do you begin by saying this is an "age thing?" I am old. I don't see a problem with that. Just yesterday, a fellow guest at a friend's country house looked at my 16-year-old bright red BMW Z3 roadster and asked, "Is that your car?" "Yes," is answered with glee. "I love being a little old lady in a hot car!" I do.
    Yet, when I call myself "old" many people suggest--quite seriously--that I should lie about my age. Why do they think that? Because there is something wrong with being old? Given the alternative, I am happy that--as Michael pointed out a few days ago--my heart is still beating.

    I am old and still cable of being: XX, American, of Italian descent, heterosexual, world traveler, omnivore, music lover, workaholic, crime writer, MIE blogger. And driver of hot car!

    1. Hi Annamarie. I just meant that the age I am I missed the real fight for equality, and have grown up just continuing to carry that baton. But some of the younger women of today seem to be in a different race altogether!!

    2. Ah, I see.

      I was in warrior mode in the 60's and beyond, fighting for women's rights. Now I am in warrior mode, trying to stop people from sidelining anyone over 65 as no longer relevant, or even interesting.

      Take nothing for granted! We in the US thought our Civil War was over. We thought Nazism was trounced in 1946. Now there are people in my country trying to restart both battles.

      Liberty is worth it. The right of all people to have respect is worth it. But the tiny minded are legion.

    3. Legion, and (unfortunately) constantly being replaced. You'd think those folks have nothing better to do than screw around all day and night...

  3. "It's about people" and "It's about respect." That is pretty much all of it in a nutshell.

  4. There are so many possible responses to this and the comment box is SO small (seriously, can't the code be modified to give us a LITTLE more space to view our comments? Or are you TRYING to make us be brief???) I'll just say: Mama Mia! Right arm, left field, outta sight!

    Just sign me: XWhy? Homo sapien most days, still sexual after all these years, omnibore, voracious reader, MIE heckler, and rebel without claws.

  5. Great post Caro. I try to treat all people with dignity and respect, and I'm becoming equally confused by the fact that we as a society (at least in the US) seem so busy fighting and putting one another down that we forget everything else - which is truly sad.

  6. Geez, there are so many problems in the States that are truly earth-shattering right now, with a new shock from the White House every day that we all need life-preservers.

    But I learned a long time ago just let people be who they are, be accepting of however they identify themselves, be kind, listen, support equal rights and no discrimination on any basis. Even if one doesn't understand everyone's self-definition, fine. Just be kind and listen and oppose bigotry and discrimination.

    I don't identify myself with too many labels. I'm proud of my Russian/Polish/Jewish and Irish heritage. I'm opposed to bigotry and for equality and fairness to all people. I love reading crime fiction, watching good mysteries and chocolate.