Sunday, 18 January 2015

On ignorance

Salutations friends!

So, I wouldn't wish upon anybody the experience of being bullied, discriminated against, catcalled, or harassed etc. because those experiences are awful.

But at the same time, I would never wish upon someone the ignorance of never having experienced any form of the above.

It all comes back to the idea that we need to have the bad times to appreciate the good.
 photo daffadil1_zps31326c9a.jpg Without having been left out, it is harder to be aware of how exclusive you are, because seeing someone left out does not bring back all the painful memories you have of being excluded.
Without having been catcalled on the street, you don't know how it feels to be on the receiving end of these "compliments"; instantly hyper self-aware, embarrassed, awkward and knowing that you should do more than smiling uncomfortably and continuing like it was nothing, but feeling too afraid to do more.
Without having your identity used as an insult, it is harder to know why saying that's so gay, you're such a girl, tranny, you're a retard etc. is so damaging.
Without having someone bully you, and pick apart what you do and say everyday; without having someone physically or emotionally manipulate you, it is harder to recognise when you are doing it yourself.

You know objectively that to be a good person, you shouldn't do those things, but you don't have the memories to remind you why.
 photo daffadil2_zpsee161b3a.jpg The other day I was talking to a friend about the Imitation Game (side note: highly recommend) and she was saying that a mutual friend of ours found the flashbacks to the main character going through school really hard-hitting and surprising. I asked why, because to me the way he was treated by his classmates because of his intelligence combined with a lack of social skills was sad, but not unexpected. My friend told me that the reason our mutual friend found those scenes so startling was because she hadn't realised how terribly people with social or learning differences could be treated at school.

This confused me for a moment, because to me it was obvious, simply because I had never been on the higher rungs of the popularity ladder at school. But then I realised that, of course.
Of course she wouldn't know what that feels like. Of course she wouldn't have noticed it happening right under her nose at school. Of course she would find it surprising to learn that some people don't have a good school life, and that it isn't some mythical thing that only happens in American dramas.

She has a strong personality that can be slightly intimidating, but she is very kind, and fun to talk to, and liked by most people. A little left of popular is how I would describe her. And so she simply was not aware of how awful people can be when they don't like you, particularly in a school environment.

And so that got me thinking.

And like most of these posts, I have no definitive conclusion.

But I think that ignorance is something that is a problem, and an interesting thing to to think about, in terms of the cyclical nature of ignorance, and bullying, and how they are intrinsically linked.

ps. I updated my about page, if you want to have a wee look. :)


  1. Emma what another insightful post! I really adore how much you make me think and realize whenever you post something. I see that age comes with wisdom. Belated happy birthday by the way!

    Lovelots, ANNE
    Anne's Scribbles and Doodles

  2. I love how deep you think into things Emma. You make everything so interesting to read.

    Pretty pictures by the way. :)

  3. I agree with you. People can show a lack of empathy for others when they haven't experienced things themselves. Sometimes we're so caught up in our own lives that we don't stop and think and really try to imagine what it would be like to be someone else or have something happen to you. X

    Sinead | Dreaming Again

  4. This is so interesting Emma, I am glad to read this in context cause I wasn't super sure in our messages.
    I think experience definitely plays a huge part in how able we are to be empathetic but I try not to think about people in black and white. While this girl may have trouble grasping the pain and upset that bullying or harassment can cause, she is a multifaceted being and there are a thousand things and experiences that effect her reactions. I feel like the ignorance to other people's suffering is not the only thing motivating her response, there must be an underlying element of compassion and humanity that is partly born from her life experiences too. Some people would see that and feel uncomfortable but perhaps not care.

    And perhaps for some people, media and literature are a valid avenue to become less ignorant. It's not the same as firsthand experience but as long as they know to respect that when considering the issue, that's a good thing. It's sort of the idea of being an ally.
    It should be a constant goal of sensitive and intelligent people to respect the autonomy of those that have been oppressed based on their gender, sexuality, abilities, race or otherwise. I'd actually love to talk to you more about this one day. I'm not entirely sure what the role of an ally is, I think it's different for every person in every social situation. Maybe you could take away from this and awareness that you may not understand the experiences of others or talk to your friend about how it made her feel and how the same thing has effected you. Encourage this discussion with her? if you don't feel comfortable doing that though that's totally understandable :)
    I really enjoyed reading this. You are a very unique and thoughtful 18 year old. I am so grateful for that. x

  5. Hi Emma :)
    This is my first time to visit your blog. Stumbled it after clicking links after links from other blogs as well and found your posts very interesting to read.

    Anyway, this is a very insightful post indeed! I couldn't agree more.

    Almera | One Frozen Mind

  6. Wow, this was such a beautifully written post. I agree with you - this was such an interesting topic.

  7. At first, I was stunned by your point of view because it is nothing like the usual response to bullying.
    However, there is merit to the words in this post. Bullying is harmful but so is being stuck with the thought that every aspect of life is perfect - never having experiencing the ugly side of things. We learn something after every experience, good and bad, and these experiences shape our character. They allow us to empathize with others and even share advice. Interesting post.

    Olive Needs Popeye

  8. lovely blog, dear :)
    would you like to follow each other on gfc and bloglovin ?
    just let me know ♥
    love from Poland :)


Thank-you very much for commenting, you just brightened my day. <3

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