Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The "Good Old Days" sucked

Since returning to Aus, I've had to endure a lot of conversations (monologues) about how things were so much better in "The Good Old Days". I don't remember these conversations occurring before I went to Japan; they probably did, but they certainly bother me more now.

Since the people waffling on about how depraved the present is are either my parents' or grandparents' generation, I'll assume that they heyday of the past was when they were in their 20's which means the 50's through to the 70's.

I am so glad that I do not live in those day, below are a few reasons, there are many more:

Right to work 
I graduated from high school in the top 1% of school leavers in my state, and finished University (in IT - a male area) with a GPA of 6.96 out of 7.00. It is not conceited therefore to say that I am far more capable in my field than the average man off the street, and also better than many men in my field. Yet in the 50's, or even much later, I would have struggled to work in a traditionally male field. Also, when I got married, there was no expectation that I would be leaving my job so I could focus on domestic work, and why should there be?

Equal pay
Until 1969 (in Australia), employers were allowed to pay women up to 25% less simply because they were women. Yes there is still a gender wage gap, and this is a complex issue with much work yet to be done, but few people today would argue that a woman deserves less pay for exactly the same work and performance.

Domestic violence
Domestic violence wasn't even recognised as a problem until the feminist movement of the 70's. Rape within marriage was not recognised in Queensland until 1989! Although prosecution for domestic violence is still fraught with difficulties, at least today the police don't send a woman home with an admonition to try not to provoke him.

Social justice
Today is far from perfect, but for people in the Western world, there's never been a better time to be gay, or transgender, or have a mental illness. I'm not sure if it also extends to people with disabilities, or people of colour, but I'll wager that on the whole, now is a pretty good time for them too. Although I am not personally included in these categories, nor am I particularly close to anyone who is, nevertheless, I find it hard to understand the mindset that is willing to throw these people under the bus to return to a time when things were supposedly rosier, at least for white straight cisgender men (and to a lesser extent women).

Yes, I love the Internet. Without the Internet, my mind would be much smaller. Not only does the Internet give me direct access to information online, but I can use it to look up and buy books that I wouldn't have otherwise known about or been able to get.

The current era has so much still to fix, but I'd rather be living now than at any time in history.

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