Steve Coogan

What's popular isn't necessarily good

I had originally planned a different post for this week. On election day, I was writing out all the reasons why you could skip the gym over the holidays. (Don't worry! This post is coming to you next week.) 

I woke up Wednesday morning filled with dread and doom. I imagined some kind of apocalyptic future. Will American refugees flee to places where it feels safer to be ourselves? 

The election of Donald Trump confirms a real human fear of mine. It makes me feel like hate is popular: sexism, racism, xenophobia, queerphobia, transphobia, ableism.  

This fear has often made me feel isolated, like I'm not supposed to be here, like I don't belong on this planet. There's a great scene in the show, Happyish with Steve Coogan. He describes a general feeling like he's an alien marooned on Earth. This planet doesn't share his values. I often feel that way: like I'm waiting for the mothership. 

And the body positive movement is an alien idea. 

What is currently popular in our culture is dieting. It's being thin. It's being "sexy." It's making sure you don't have too much hair on your pussy. It's making sure your voice isn't too high or too low. It's being "likeable." It's fitting into all these impossible norms. You can't be too nice - you're a pushover.  You can't be too mean - you're a bitch. If you're young, they don't take you seriously. If you're old, you're past your prime. If you're in between, you're probably going to have kids soon. So, you're not really worth the investment. 

Here's the worst part: we actually believe that these impossible norms are attainable. 

For the women who are fat, they should work hard to be skinny (even though diets don't work). We give women advice like "lean in" or "be more humble." We second-guess and rationalize that women are somehow responsible for their position. If we could just stop saying "like" so damn much, we might actually have equality.

But that is a lie. The real problem is not your pantsuit. It is the patriarchy.  

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a very very slim margin. But, actually, FUCK BEING POPULAR.  Fuck trying to attain what is unattainable. Let's stop trying to fit the mold. Because we never will. 

 Just like the 90s afterschool specials taught us, being popular is often not all it's cracked up to be. Being popular doesn't make you good or right. In fact, Billy Madison taught us that being popular makes you the villain. 

I understand that it's easier to grow weeds than it is to grow a rose. I know that in the current culture, dandelions often fare better. In this election, the sexist white man did better. He had all the nutrients he needed to thrive. 

It's easy to grow dandelions. 

But, I have a problem with a field so full of weeds that we can't grow anything else. We can't grow tomatoes. We can't grow roses. In the context of this election, we couldn't grow feminism or equality.

Instead of trying to figure out how to grow dandelions, let's grow something else.

Please please please keep being who you are. Please please please keep being brave. Please please please don't let the weeds or the president prevent you from being the beautiful person that you are. 

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