If, all of a sudden-like, the brakes started failing on a certain model of car, and because of that, lots of folks were getting run over and killed, most of the general public would rise up in an outcry of “We have a brake failure problem, and something must be done!”
Actually, we don’t have a brake problem. What we have is a problem with folks getting run over and killed. You know… dead people. If the brakes failed while you were screaming across the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, there would be no problem. There’s nothing to hit, people or otherwise.
That example is the secret to solving problems… properly define the problem before you start trying to solve it. The cause is usually different than the problem. The cause of the above problem might very well be that a certain model of car has a major flaw in the braking system; therefore, it would make sense to take the immediate action of taking those cars off of the road. But the cause might also be hidden in ineffective regulatory oversight, or even a callous disregard for the death of the victims (the cost of doing business). The cause(s) could be many things, so we have to be careful to not imbed the cause within the problem statement. Otherwise, you’ll just end up solving a tiny part of the real problem… or not solving any problem at all.
So, I’m going to talk about some seemingly unrelated things, but they are indeed related. They are examples of people going after the cause (or perceived cause) before they really sit down and figure out what the problem is. First, I’m going to talk about our snowflakes who constantly look for microaggressions and perceived insults. Second, I’ll chat a little about the election of Donald Trump, and finally, I’m going to talk about female objectification. Hang on and stick with me.
Sometimes, we see or hear things that offend us or piss us off, and we tend to naturally identify that offensive thing as a problem. Of course, the real problem is that you’re pissed, and nobody likes to be around you when you’re pissed. Hell, you don’t even like to be around you when you’re pissed. So, as any wise problem solver will tell you, the solution to this problem is to do something that will make you not pissed… an almost always a burdensome and futile endeavor.
The election of Trump is a good example of how this (cause vs. problem) pans out. A lot of Americans were pissed, and it was no accident that they were pissed. The hard Right has been presenting the causes of our disgruntlement since the days of Goldwater… minorities, feminists, unions, homosexuals, welfare queens, immigrants, and etc. They finally sold many us on the causes, which spawned our current Nativist/Nationalist/Dominionist movement. Of course, the changes that happened to Post-WWII America have little to do with any of those things. It’s complicated, and if there is one thing that is beyond the reach of most folks it the concept of complicated. So, Trump gets elected to solve the national problem of “I’m pissed”. Yup, he’s going to make America great again (whatever the fuck that means).
Another non-problem is the objectification of women in the media (including pornography). This may very well be one of the many causes of the problem of violence against women, but it is not the problem in and of itself. There are a lot of conversations out there that heatedly argue about the difference between objectification and empowerment, and honestly, I’ll have none of that. I’m still stuck in Second Wave Feminism….
Men who want to support women in our struggle for freedom and justice should understand that it is not terrifically important to us that they learn to cry; it is important to us that they stop the crimes of violence against us.” Andrea Dworkin – (1975)
You folks who cheer during the showing of Game of Thrones should read that quote very carefully. Stop talking about female empowerment, and start talking about violence against women.
So… if you can show me that the elimination of female objectification will solve the violence issue, I’ll stand aside and apologize.
Have a Day.
primum vivere, deinde philosophari.