I've been thinking about how we change and grow as the years roll on. In particular how my views have morphed in response to new experiences and meeting new people.
Here are a few things I've changed my mind about in the last, say, decade (or two).
Extended trading hours
Technology has changed everything since I last checked in on this. NFC means some businesses can operate 24/7 with self-service facilities (eg. 24-hour gyms). E-commerce means we effectively have "extended trading", which has introduced PROBLEMS of its own (that we'll get to in a sec), but has also solved many of the availability issues from back in the day. As a consumer, I LOVE having easy, all-hours access to retail and amenities, and look forward to a future where such things are even more conveniently within reach.
But what I've changed my mind about is how we get there. In my youthful impatience, I wanted convenience and availability right away, and would have been satisfied for a hard-line Darwinian "weeding out" of inefficient commercial practices in the wake of a new, disruptive decree. These days, I no longer have faith that our take on capitalism would allow us to practice this ethically and with people's best interests at heart. Having seen greed, narcissism, systemic discrimination, arrogance, self-centeredness and callousness in business environments, I realise human well-being is often the first thing to get "weeded out" when money is on the line. (This article from last year notes examples of the aforementioned problems.)
So, yes, hooray for 24-hour shopping and Sunday trading, but we're gonna need better checks and balances, please.
I resisted feminism for a long time, for most of my life to date. Not because I don't believe in equality or liberty, but because the brand of feminism sold to me all those years wasn't one I could relate to or feel right about supporting. To me, it seemed just like oppression but with a different coloured label and no room for individuals (male, female or otherwise) to be themselves and live authentic lives.
AND THEN I learned of intersectional feminism and sex-positive feminism. I met feminist people who appreciated the complexity of human desire, social dynamics, power structures, sexuality, and our still-evolving body of scientific knowledge. Most importantly, they appreciated the nuances of issues as applied to everyday life, and they could take questions for what they were and have conversations without leading the way into argument.
Because of them, I'm now excited to think of myself as a feminist, and curious to learn more and share with other newcomers who just want a fairer world.
Gender, race and other dimensions of discrimination
If you had asked me just a few years ago whether I've experienced discrimination, I probably would have said no, bar the rare incidents of teenagers shouting randomly from passing cars. Back then, I had a very narrow understanding of what discrimination looks like — that it had to be overt, intentional, easily describable, and obviously problematic.
Since learning about systemic discrimination and microaggressions, I've been looking back on my life and reviewing the things I'd decided were okay at the time. Some encounters actually made me feel uncomfortable, but for some reason, I still decided to call them "fine" and carry on. I suspect now that I was either masking or falling back on subconscious survival instincts, or I'm not sure what. I've learned this is a common thing "minorities" do in discriminatory or oppressive environments, and it's surreal to be lucid about it now.
So, in 2021, I'm revising my answer to YES. Yes, I have experienced misogyny and racism. I've experienced it in the workplace, in public settings, in social settings, from friends and coworkers, and even in my own home (not my current home, obv). Many sources of this discrimination are people who want to do good and believe they're acting in good faith, while practising fingers-in-ears conversation and not "doing the work". And yes, it still happens today.
This blog post is long enough!
There's more I wanted to talk about, but this blog post is long enough and I need a cup of tea. Suffice to say that, ideologically, I'm not the same person I was before, and I'm relieved about that. I feel it's important to adapt your thinking as you acquire new information and experiences, even if it means doing a complete 180 and admitting you were wrong.
Although I much prefer just being right, I've found it really rewarding to be wrong, because it means I've learned something new. There's life in the ol' girl yet.
What things have you changed your mind about over the years? What were the turning points for you? I'm sorry I don't host blog comments on this site — I don't want to collect and store personal information — but you can hit me up on chat or on the socials.