The Internet as a cesspool of people’s opinions on political and social issues is, in my opinion, contributing to the degradation of humanity. People’s consciousness lowers amidst the infinite spew of hate that is just another click away.
On the other hand, perhaps words are one of the greatest ways that we can express ourselves, and maybe we should refrain from holding everything inside.
I was sitting at the outdoor patio of a café, tapping away on my laptop’s keys regarding an experience that I had had recently at a local music festival on the pier. Lo and behold, a yoga instructor whom I know was walking down the street and approached me. I invited him to sit down, and we began to chat about my piece. I explained to him how, at this party, the day had begun with an uplifting yoga class and was proceeded by fantastic DJs bumping cutting deep house and people dancing. Yet, what bothered me about the event was that the yogis and the partiers seemed to be segregated; while the partiers were, in my view, dancing, laughing, and enjoying life in the present moment, the yogis were off in a dark corner doing Reiki on each other and chanting Oms- and ultimately missing out on all the fun. I told him that the point of my essay was that in one’s quest for spirituality and enlightenment, one does not have to forget to actually enjoy the pleasures of life.
He nodded away, and then offered his take on my piece. He mentioned how, for some people, dancing isn’t their way of having fun. He then warned me that my essay could sound judgmental or be off-putting to my audience- and that I don’t want to alienate anyone.
Feeling self-conscious, I agreed with him and accepted his critique.
After my encounter with the yoga teacher at the café, one of Christina Aguilera’s songs popped into my head. The lyrics go:
“What, am I not supposed to have an opinion?
Should I be quiet just because I’m a woman?
Call me a bitch ‘cause I speak what’s on my mind
Guess it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled”
Women are systematically told to be quiet, docile, neutral, and pleasant- to please everybody and not make too much of a stir. A woman who speaks what is on her mind is a “bitch;” a woman who demonstrates leadership is “bossy.” And here I was, cowering into my corner, accepting this male’s opinion on why I shouldn’t voice my opinion because I thought that he would know better than me.
I realized that I could go my whole life being a people-pleaser, creating art that everyone likes and maintaining a view on yoga/life that everyone agrees with. However, that would not be very interesting. Is not Picasso more interesting than the artwork in your dentist’s office, John Lennon more powerful than elevator music? Not everyone likes Picasso or John Lennon- in fact, they probably alienate a lot of people. However, their work takes a stand on something and makes a difference in individual lives as well as on a societal level. And while contributing to the addicting, click-bait, and opinion “news” culture of the Internet would probably not be for the betterment of humanity, what would be is women speaking their minds without fear of losing their femininity. Women have important, controversial, and thought-provoking things to say that need to be said. Women need to ruffle feathers and not just sew them together in a pillow to create some background furnishings.