I try my best to be politically correct in what I say and do. I am actively interested in the rights of other. I am angered by their violation. I have a vested interest in the processes that effect and shape my own rights. I don't accept being called "political" in a negative context. Frankly, we are all inherently political (especially women), whether we identify as such or not. We all live in the world. We interact with others and our rights and responsibilities as global and national citizens are shaped by the important stuff.
Eyes begin to roll when politicians names are dropped at the dinner table, and confronting issues are swept under the rug by quick changes of topic and polite conversation.
I do think one needs to read the room before launching into a vein popping, word spitting left wing rant. I'm not suggesting you need to burn your bra at your aunt Enid's funeral service to make a statement. No way. However, I do wish that respectful and informative political discourse was a larger part of our culture.
Human rights. Feminism. Marriage equality. The wage gap. Healthcare reform - the meaty stuff really matters to me on a personal level , and I'm not afraid to make that known. It saddens me to see a lot of women in my life shy away from engaging in discussion on these important topics, under the guise that "thats just too awful to talk about" or simply "Oh well, I don't have an opinion on that".
I highly doubt that. As the old adage says, opinions and are like assholes, everyone has them, you simply don't need to be one.
I think what is more likely to act as a deterrent to most is that women of any age who are not afraid to participate in robust intellectual discussions about confronting issues that directly effect them and their families, are often painted as shrew. I mean, no one wants to be labelled as an aggressive harpy, right? Thats not cute.
Female politicians are critiqued more for their haircut and marital status than their actual policies. Women are barley holding onto the critical amount of power required to effect change in the Australian government, according to the united nations. That is the exact reason I feel we should encourage political engagement when we are passionate about an issue. Not doing so feels like a perpetuation of the idea that women should be emotionless features within the home; smiling and agreeable; not hysterical, and certainly not self determining.
There exists this false dichotomy that we can't be politically informed and feminine. We totally can. We can jump from the merits of dry shampoo or shellac nail polish to the in's and out's of the latest budget and the abhorrent treatment of refugees in offshore processing centres. We can and we should confront both realities of the world we inhabit without it being contradictory
If you take the time to engage with what is happening in the world around you, and examine the reasons why it is happening, you'll probably get angry. You might get sad. You might feel overwhelmed, powerless, or hopeless. That is the human experience. We are all of those things at any given time, and pretending that life is rainbows, sunshine, kittens and everyone is equal will not lessen the blow when we experience these feelings in our own personal lives.
However doing this may also broaden your horizon. It will give you a chance to challenge yourself; to grow, to learn, to seek, to research. Education is never ever a bad thing, for anyone, anywhere. it is empowerment. You may find a sense of belonging or sense of pride. You may find power simply thought being informed.
It is up to you to choose how, and when you engage. You might sign petitions, attend meetings, or simply read articles with your morning coffee. You don't need to shout you opinions from the rooftop, but at least have them. You don't need to feel entirely comfortable with the conflict that may come from a politically driven discussion in polite company, but don't leave the room or discourage those who are; you might learn something.