I checked my phone three times while watching The Social Dilemma. The documentary is about an hour and a half long, meaning I averaged a pick up every thirty minutes or so. It’s only fair to tell you that I resisted the temptation to pick it up another six or seven times because I’m painfully self-aware. Scrolling while half-listening to a twenty-something tell me my mind is being penetrated, data harvested and my psyche transformed is too satirical, even for a woman of my tastes.
Now I really don’t want to pick my phone up at all.
Thirty-six hours before a ball is kicked, the narrative is taking shape. In the vernacular of the British tabloid press, England’s plucky Lionesses are now pitted in an ideological battle against the arrogant US Women’s National Team (USWNT). Not for goals, victories or honours, although one can assume that a game of football will break out at some point, but for the title of most dignified.
Megan Rapinoe won’t be winning that. She and her trophy hoovering cohorts’ behaviour on and off the pitch have been endlessly scrutinised and critiqued since this latest incarnation emerged onto the world stage, consistently failing to impress despite winning a World Cup, Olympic Gold, two CONCACAF Gold Cups and two SheBelieves Cups. They’re arrogant, apparently.
Do I have a responsibility not to self-harm because of the impact it will have on those around me?
Not exactly a party starter, is it? But it’s because this is a deeply uncomfortable question with significant and numerous ramifications that we don’t engage with it – we try not to think about it at all – despite the vital insights it might offer.
Stereotypes tell me that at least 50% of you are going to recoil from this post because of the title. Because you’re men and have a genetic condition that renders you incapable of seeing the word tampon without having a panic attack, let alone stride confidently through the aisles of the supermarket grasping the box of Tampax Super your other half requested.
I choose not to believe in stereotypes. They’re a luxury from a bygone age, when we didn’t use them to obfuscate and externalise our responsibilities.
I don’t want anyone who knows me – whether in real life, via social media or even just as a distant shape in cyberspace – to say they haven’t heard about this or haven’t had the opportunity to watch it.
If you choose not to watch it, that’s fine. That choice is part of the wider principle that Jon Stewart is articulating in this monologue and one I will defend to the best of my abilities.