Some observations on 2017
Whilst getting back into the teaching term over the past couple of weeks, which has been great, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in the formation (and pretty much shutting down) of arguments academic and otherwise.
Though we still have two more months to go until CHRISTMAS!!!! the year is over, 2017 seems to have had a big impact (no, we’re not just talking political issues) – the year itself is being used as a term of argument.
So last week, I was facilitating some discussion on gender, and the use of terms such as masculine and feminine. We got into a great debate on the potential redundancy of these terms for gender and gendered traits, as ‘we’re in 2017’.
‘we’re in 2017 for god’s sake’
‘I mean, it’s 2017’
‘but in 2017’
These are the kinds of things I’ve heard being dropped into arguments, which seem to be used to make a statement point. They have appeared frequently in addressing issues such as gender, sexual harassment, and racism – big issues, issues that now, in this day and age, we shouldn’t have problems with.
I understand that the kind of term itself is not new (I mean, do we even need to talk about 2016?), but this year, using the term 2017 in this context seems to suggest that at this point, we are so far advanced, so progressive, liberal, whatever, that equality is expected, and it would be ridiculous to think otherwise.
But that’s not the case.
Hollywood is still riddled with ‘casting couch’ behaviours like it was decades ago.
Gender and gender related issues are still not understood – case in point: children’s toys and clothing.
To Kill a Mockingbird is to be removed from school reading lists in the USA, because it’s 'too uncomfortable'.
So, whilst we may be moving forward in some respects, to make out as though we should have reached peak equality / an issue free kind of society for the year that we are in highlights a wider issue. These issues are expected to no longer be an issue, but they are, so we must consider that 2017 isn’t as great as we might think.
An observation I have made, and will continue to reflect on, is that issues such as sexism and racism are not necessarily as explicit as they once were – the issues are a little more hidden, a little less obvious, and make you question whether it is you who is reading the issue wrong (see: death by 1000 cuts). This post is by no means a finished article. Just an observation.