Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Being "lovable"...

Last night, I read an interesting article about Melania Trump.  It was posted on Medium.com by Kate Imbach, who had spent time looking at Mrs. Trump's Twitter account and noted the photos our current First Lady had posted before she was First Lady.  Imbach called Mrs. Trump a "Fairytale Prisoner By Choice" and likened her to "Rapunzel with no prince and no hair, locked in a tower of her own volition, and delighted with the predictability and repetition of her own captivity."

Although I don't read articles on Medium.com with any regularity, I have to admit that I was rather intrigued by Kate Imbach's astute observations.  And then I read the comments on her article.  The very first one, posted by Michel Courtine, was this...

A mother focusing on her family and protecting herself and her son from the tsunami of people like you Kate Imbach, that’s what you could have analyzed too if you were not ill intended. There are so many different things you could have used your energy for: create, innovate, produce, nurture. You chose to stalk in your quest for a fairytale moment of glory from the inside of your fame seeking prison tower.

I was a bit puzzled by Courtine's seemingly hostile response.  Especially when he followed up with this "gem" of a comment...

That’s not the way it works Kate Imbach. You first need to be lovable. Your sarcastic and bitter vision of life, picking words or images, twisting their meaning and dismissing the important will never lead you to happiness. Should a French citizen help you understand the spectrum of nurturing in your own language, especially in the context of my response? I was broadly talking about helping someone, doing something positive. But clearly, that would not benefit the instagram queen you wish you were, “with an eye”. Register to an art school and train it?

No constructive dialogue will ever come out of a manipulative, supposedly free, person like you. You’re iconic of your generation in the United States, the one that helped get Trump to power. That’s what I call irony. Good luck! Won’t help you get traffic anymore.

To her credit, Kate Imbach responded with brilliant snark...

Writing when I could have been nurturing! What was I thinking! Someone hand me a baby.

I find this topic relevant today.  Last night, I was also feeling a bit downhearted due to the huge wave of people in our community that seem to be threatened by intelligent, opinionated, educated women who express themselves.  While I have occasionally been on the receiving end of a lot of shit for offering my opinions, this time, I was observing other opinionated women being crapped upon in our community for making their voices heard.

All of a sudden, I realized that I'm getting kind of tired of this lifestyle.  I'm getting tired of being around people who have nothing better to do than make fun of bright, articulate people whose opinions don't happen to match their own.  I'm getting tired of being around people who aren't willing to broaden their perspectives.  And I'm really getting tired of so-called "mansplainers", especially when they can't handle a woman who speaks up.  

And yet... even though I know I'm getting tired of being in a community that regularly denigrates military spouses and anyone who voices an opinion that goes against the norm, this is the career path my husband is on.  He likes what he does and this is where his chances at employment are best.  And while I could also find employment, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself at this point in my life.  I have this tremendous urge to just get rid of all my possessions and move to a deserted island, where I live off the land and away from people and their expectations of what I should be doing with my time.

Mr. Courtine's comment about how Ms. Imbach needs to "be lovable" really struck me as an incredibly assholistic thing to say.  In a weird way, it was refreshing to read an assholistic comment from someone not in the local community.  It made me realize that I can find immature, insecure, threatened people no matter where I go.  So even if we took the so-called "geographic cure" and changed jobs and locations, it's likely that I'd still be depressed by people like Michel Courtine, imploring women to "be lovable".  Seriously... what an incredibly offensive comment.  Who is he to say the author of a piece on Medium.com is "not lovable"?  Would he write a similar comment to man?

Yesterday, someone told me that a person's education level means "nothing" in a discussion.  They completely dismissed the idea that formal education has any value.  Granted, in this particular situation, the person was writing about a young woman who cited her "high A" in a single psychology course as a reason why her opinion was valid.  I would agree that a single course in psychology does not make someone an authority.  However, a person who has a doctorate in psychology likely is recognized as an authority in their area of expertise.  So while everyone is entitled to an opinion and freedom of expression, at least if they are in a free country, not everyone's opinions are based on something of substance.

I find that many people in our community are very threatened by those who have been to school.  They don't value a person who had the time and money to attend an institution of higher education.  A lot of them automatically label that person a "snob" or a high falutin' asshole.  While I can understand not enjoying it when a person lords their education over another person, I also wonder how many of these folks who don't value education would knowingly visit a doctor or a lawyer who has never had any education in their field.  Right... you wouldn't want to do that because those people can't legally practice without having been to school (but that doesn't mean there aren't people out there who have fake credentials).  There is value in school, although some people don't want to admit it.  At the very least, a person who's been to school is more likely to know how to find out if their doctor or lawyer is legit.

I'm not sure where this contempt for thinkers and educated people, especially women, comes from in the military community.  My guess is that many people who disdain education do so because they think people who have been to school act superior.  And they're probably right that some people who are educated act superior when they shouldn't.  In my case, I probably use my education as a source of identity.  However, I'll bet another reason why this contempt exists is because of simple jealousy or because, somehow, they feel inadequate.  If they didn't feel inadequate, why would another person's education level affect them?  If that person's education doesn't matter and they don't care about it, why even mention it?  Why not simply disregard that person's comments if they aren't useful?

Recently, a woman in our local community (not me) mentioned in a discussion that she has a master's degree.  Although a lot of people seemed to think she was trying to be superior, I got the sense that she mentioned it because some people within the group were implying that she's stupid and in need of schooling.  This woman had simply voiced her opinion about something that was at odds with others in the group.  A lot of people piled on her for not going along with the crowd and mentioning that she's formally educated.  And you know what?  Even though the group members claimed not to care about this woman's education level and she's even left the group, they still talk about her with utter contempt.  Isn't it funny that I wasn't offended that the woman mentioned her higher education?  That's because I have an education myself and am not threatened by or jealous of that other person's master's degree.

Many people in our community have given me shit over the name of this blog (or really, the travel blog, since that's the one I share locally).  They think I'm "bragging" about my education.  Some of them have gotten to know me and realize I'm not an asshole.  Others won't get to know me because of the name of my blog.  And that's pretty sad, because it really is a reaction that smacks of ignorance.  You can miss out on a lot of great stuff when you make assumptions based your own insecurities.  That's a lesson that I'm still trying to learn myself.  But maybe I'd be more "lovable" if I'd simply graduated with a high school diploma and didn't write about these things...  I say, the world needs more brave people like Kate Imbach, who are willing to take a ration of shit for expressing themselves.  I wish I were as brave as she is. 

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