This week on the blog is ‘Serious’ week. A real life friend who had been snuffling around my account pointed out that although it’s very ‘pretty’ (yes, said with a slight sneer) it’s not very serious. And as such, it was missing out quite a key element of my personality. Because, you see, I consider myself to be a Very Serious Person.
I like theatre and ballet and art and having arguments about politics and I love history and philosophy and I even read New Scientist sometimes. So I am absolutely and definitely Serious, alright? So why is my IG feed just pinky froth?
The first thing that occurred to me is to question what exactly we mean by being serious. My friend (who happens to self-identify as male) meant my feed is about emotion as opposed to fact. I focus on how we’re all feeling today rather than analysing the latest Bank of England forecasts. My feed is all flowers and fashion and family; things that people like to dismiss as not serious.
There’s clearly a gender bias here. It is a well known phenomenon that when women dominate an arena it’s ’emotional’ and ‘amateur’ and ‘frivolous’. The centuries of skills amassed by midwives were jettisoned in the 18th century when male doctors got involved*. The Royal Academy of Art only began to elect women Academicians when their old school style of art went out of fashion and was damned as being superficial and decorative by the avant guard male artists of modernism. And Mary Beard recently questioned the link between increased numbers of women going to university and the gradual devaluing of a university education in the eyes of the general public.
Of course, if we took a serious analytical and economic approach to the things I feature on IG, I think we’d be able to prove that fashion, flowers and the unpaid caring work women do are massive financial contributors to the world’s wealth. If these aspects of life, as well as interior design, food , travel and fitness, those other IG stalwarts, weren’t massive money spinners then IG wouldn’t exist. The point is to make huge profits. So just a bit serious, eh?
I did a brief google search on ‘being serious’ and it seems that many people see being serious as being responsible, boring, cold, unloving. I find that a bit harsh. I like the notion that being serious is about making a commitment, fully embracing something and being authentic in your approach to it. I am serious about you; I will not fuck you around or behave like a dick. I am serious about the French Revolution; I love learning about all aspects of this, from the political repercussions to Marie-Antoinette’s jewels. I am serious about life; I will make the most of this onetime spin around the world, loving, laughing, learning and dancing all the time.
So you see? I am definitely a Very Serious Person.
Note 1: But just to prove it, this week we are having Serious week on the blog, I would love you to join in, there’s even homework and everything! Don’t miss “But Seriously Part 1“, on the blog now.
Note 2: In googling being serious I came across this blog post ‘The Art of Being Ridiculous’ which I loved. Please read!
Note 3; * the advent of male student surgeons taking over childbirth in Vienna led to vast numbers of maternal deaths due to poor infection control. This was only rectified when Semmelweiss noticed that fewer women died when care for by mid-wives than doctors. Women used to beg to be taken to the ‘poor’ hospital to give birth because so many of them died when cared for by the doctors. Basically midwives knew you had to wash your hands after playing with cadavar).