January 6th, 2013

breaking bad

What happened in 2012

I was just thinking that the biggest change I saw in 2012 is a kind of waking up about misogyny and sexual exploitation. Up until recently you just could not say that something (say a joke) was sexist or misogynist without being jeered at just for saying it. Suddenly it is something you can at least say sexism is bad in general conversation, even if people disagree with you. And I think - am I being optimistic - that some of the strategies misogynists use to shut down discussion are being recognised and named.

I have seen a similar change happen in my lifetime. Sometime about 1978 our whole culture woke up to racism in some way. What was acceptable in humour and drama just changed. I don't mean it suddenly all became lovely and harmonious and we all lived happily ever after but making 'Irish jokes' or 'Paki jokes' ceased to be respectable and normal almost overnight. Including one or two non-white faces in drama became expected (Blakes 7 is an example).

Also in the late 70s sexual exploitation of children became something that could be discussed. Actually, now I think about it, Blakes 7 is an example again. Again, a change in what was counted as 'funny' was a big part of it.

There have been serious issues raised in India and in the West about rape culture this year. I think an improvement can happen because it has happened before. That change in what can and can't be spoken, so that it is OK to complain, and not OK to condone.