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The PH Effect (Paris Hilton is rolemodel for the homogenisation of women)

Flashback Friday, a column on feminist notions...

The friendship pool was meager then. We kinda hadta get on with our neighbors - they were either far from us if we lived in the country, or were living 15 to a double dozen in the same room as we were and wondering where to throw their swill. Thank God we had all those institutions in the olden days that homogenised us. Church on Sunday was only one of the ways we were in a straight jacket then. Education was bare and unsophisticated for the wider population. Politics was Nationalism. Philosophy was a bore. And it worked for us. People lived too far away from each other, or too close, to not have a dozen mechanisms propping up their friendships. A dozen mechanisms brainwashing them into being too alike to be challenging. Communities relied on each other then, to fight the Plagues, to fight the Wars, to fight the Poverty. The more the same you are, the less conflict. So it was a good thing that we all salivated when we could unanimously banish the Different, the Other, the Sinners, the Fornicators, the Sodomisers, the Adulterers to Hell. Who have I left out? We could all sit around the fire, tea in hand, Self-Righteousness beaming from ear to ear.

Ironically we were motivated by that scarcity, and that dependence, to slowly discover our friends, to find their dis-grace-ful gems one by one, cautiously revealed. And one by one we accepted the gems, understood them. They were just like us, the same, brimming with well-learned values, but human.

Now, of course, the friendship pool is huge, 'You've only friended 300 people'. 'I wonder what's wrong with her.' And there is something wrong with her. The same rules still apply in a totally different universe. You still have to be the Homogenised to a certain set of values, but the values look very different. They are blonde, siliconed, rich, guccied, facebooked, networked and Blackberry-literate. We still bully the Political, the Fat, the Gay, the Black, the Jew, the Asian, the Illiterate to Obscurity. Who have I left out? We can sit at the long table in the lunchroom, Blow under the table, Self-Righteousness beaming from diamond stud to diamond stud.

Ironically we are motivated by the glut, and the independence, do change our friends like underwear when we don't like the brands they worship by the magazine-ful, lavishly revealed. And one by one we reject their not-in brands, careless of the person behind the brand. They are not like us, too different, brimming with well-learned values, too human.

We are much less motivated to really develop a robust caring for a whole person now than we used to be. And even if we were, they would be so scared you would exchange them for a differently branded girl, that they try even harder to be the Homogenised.

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A bit bleak... hopefully I will feel different later. I should have written it yesterday. I was utterly manic then.

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Cinnamon Gurl sparked this off. Thanks. Each week the Flashback Friday: Feminist Edition will feature a story that has something to do with being or becoming a woman or feminist. This series will continue until I run out of stories. I love having guest bloggers. If you have a story you want to tell and you want to be a guest blogger here, please email me; or feel free to link to your own story in the comments.

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