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Jazz Bagpiper Rufus Harley: A man who really did go his own way

The Men Going Their Own Way “movement,” such as it is, has got to be one of the most ridiculous offshoots of the Men’s Rights movement, a haven for misogynistic manbabies who don’t even have the guts or the imagination to actually carve out their own paths in the world. In other words, most so-called Men Going Their Own Way aren’t. Most of them seem to be going nowhere at all.

So today I present you a man who truly did go his own way: Jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley, who played a kind of music that was truly his own. (The folks on I’ve Got a Secret certainly couldn’t figure him out.) He also seems to have been a pretty decent guy, to boot.

There’s a bunch more of his music on YouTube if you care to have a look, along with this interesting profile/self-portrait. Check out his take on Sunny, which is unlike any version of the song you’re ever heard.

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serrana
serrana
6 years ago

That was awesome. Happy New Year, everyone!

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Silly story:

My parents make and play cheap imitation bagpipes: a.k.a. rubber chickens wrapped in plaid, with kazoos in their mouth. One person hums the drone, the other does the melody.

Real bagpipes playing Jazz is much cooler.

This really was awesome! Thanks for extending my Jazz education to the sadly neglected bagpipe.

🙂

bbz
bbz
6 years ago

Great idea! You’ve shown men who have actually went their own way with grace and fabulousness. Remember the dancing picnic-ers?

Moggie
Moggie
6 years ago

Jazz. Bagpipes.
Are you sure this is legal? There must be some international convention which covers it.

maistrechat
6 years ago

yessssssssssssssssssssssss… we need more bagpipists.

gillyrosebee
6 years ago

Okay, panelist #2 looks like a 50s version of Matt Damon, and panelist #4’s face at 4:23 is PRICELESS!!!

I used to work in downtown Boston not far away from where the police dept bagpipers would practice (outside, because the sound was pretty strong for indoor practice).

Love me some bagpipes!!!

paradoxicalintent
paradoxicalintent
6 years ago

Whoa!

Whatever I was expecting, it was not that. That was way more amazing.

grumpycatisagirl
6 years ago

Sorry, OT, but also not really personal and I needed to come her to dump a vent, since I just saw the top thing that’s trending on Facebook right now is yet another 20-something actress I’ve never heard of saying she isn’t a feminist. Isn’t that ever going to get old? Blech.

Nequam
Nequam
6 years ago

Huh. At first it sounded like his bagpipes were in a different key from his accompanists’, but it started to grow on me. Either way, mad props for him.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

That was fun, thanks! I was kind of dreading it but it was surprisingly enjoyable. To me, sometimes it sounded like it was way out of tune but I don’t think bagpipes have the same scales as, say, a saxophone, or the piano that’s accompanying him. Got to reading about it just now. That would be… frikken HARD. His later stuff is cool too, and even better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQXtXCLTge0

Wikipedia says he had 16 kids!!! dang

ty, David!

BritterSweet
6 years ago

The Q&A section reminded me of that show on Nickelodeon, “Figure It Out,” except without slime or charades clues.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Grumpycatisagirl, maybe she’ll change her mind? I had a very messed up view of ‘feminist’ and ‘feminism’ when I was in high school and college (so it unfortunately lasted a little into my early 20s). According to the people around me, those were scary words. Basically, I had a ton of (now embarrassing) misconceptions. I learned. Hopefully, she can.

grumpycatisagirl
6 years ago

Thanks, Skye, I hope so, but I’m tired of these interviews happening and getting so much media attention.

That also brings up a question I’ve always thought about asking here because I’m curious: are others on this board aware of a moment in their lives at which time they made a conscious decision to identify as a feminist?

For myself I’m not sure exactly when I learned the word “feminist,” but it was sometime when I was extremely young, and I’ve absolutely identified as a feminist ever since I knew the word. It just seemed like the obvious thing to be. So I always find it really interesting when others talk about what brought them to feminism, etc., because I’ve called myself a feminist since I was a very little girl.

Also, when my peers throughout school, college, would say they weren’t feminists, I would think to myself “well, why the hell not?” I wish I had asked that question to them out loud more often.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I’m pretty sure I identified as a feminist since childhood. It would’ve never occurred to me not to be.

K Winter
6 years ago

I remember calling my father a “male chauvinist pig” when I was 4. I can’t remember where I first heard the term, but it was an accurate description.

Also, I never imagined jazz bagpipes, but that was awesome! It’s kind of inspired me to maybe pursue my lifelong dream of starting a classical kazoo ensemble…

ncc1707d
ncc1707d
6 years ago

I remember calling my father a “male chauvinist pig” when I was 4. I don’t remember where I learned the term, but it was an accurate description.

Also, jazz bagpipes are awesome! His audacity has reawakened my lifelong dream to start a classical kazoo ensemble…

grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

hahahahahaha! When I told my mother that I’m a feminist, she smacked me and ran and hid in the bathroom and cried for a 1/2 hour. This was awkward, as it was my house. I was in my early 30’s. If Judgey Bitch didn’t swear so much, I’m sure that my mom would think she was dandy (if she knew about her. I’m not going to tell her about AVFM, because she’d donate).

And, I made the grave error of introducing Mr.Grump to Rufus Harley, and now I have to procure the albums. I don’t think I’ll tell my mr. about your ambition, ncc1707d, as it might give him ideas…

Mouse Farts
Mouse Farts
6 years ago

Delurking for the first time! Don’t bite me XD

I was raised hardcore conservative Christian (like Southern Baptist evangelical “masturbation is cheating on your future spouse and that’s a sin” sort of conservative) and started questioning those beliefs in my mid-teens, but it took a while. When you’re raised with a specific set of assumptions about life, untangling reality from all the indoctrination (and figuring out what you actually think vs. what’s a knee-jerk rebellion) can be…a process.

So I didn’t specifically identify as a feminist until about a year ago – and I’m thirty, isn’t that sad? – when I stumbled on a link to Captain Awkward and started clicking links. From there it was an epic wiki-walk through Yes Means Yes, Feministing, and We Hunted the Mammoth, all of which culminated in a little lightbulb going off above my head and me running to Mr. Farts and excitedly exclaiming, “hey! Hey! DID YOU KNOW I AM A FEMINIST?! because I didn’t!!!”

And then Mr. Farts gave me the side eye and offered me a bourbon.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

Ever since the current feminist movement began in the late 60s, there has been a more or less organized attempt to convince people that feminists are bad people with bad ideas: feminazis is the usual formulation. This is being done for a quite obvious reason: feminism upsets a lot of apple-carts by questioning a good deal of conventional wisdom and challenging a lot of established entitlements. Almost as soon as feminism appeared as a vibrant movement, anti-feminists appeared to claim that feminists were all a bunch of angry, ugly man-hating lesbians who were bitter because they couldn’t get a man. (Logic and consistency have never played much of a role in anti-feminism.) Anti-feminists range from the crude blather of Rush Limbaugh to the sophisticated sly deceptions of Christina Hoff Sommers, but they all have one purpose, which is to demonize feminism and make as many women as possible reluctant to identify themselves as feminists. Nowadays they all bring up Valerie Solanas’s 50-year-old article on the Society for Cutting Up Men as evidence, and Sommers loves to quote the since-retracted view of a feminist music critic that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is about a rape. Obviously in any movement you can find somebody with extreme views, and academics of all philosophical stripes frequently say outrageous things because that’s what gets attention. But specifically anti-male animus has actually been surprisingly weak in mainstream feminism, considering the lies and abuse that anti-feminists have employed. But you can always find some anti-male animus SOMEWHERE and claim it’s the mainstream. And if you can’t find it, you can make it up.
In any case, “I’m not a feminist but … ” has been around from the start. As a man, it is really not my place to try to convince women that they should openly and proudly identify themselves as feminists, but I believe I am permitted to regard anti-feminism as a deceitful pursuit of self-interest and to silently wish very hard that more and more women will come to the same conclusion.

tesformes
6 years ago

Just going to leave this hilarious anecdote from Rufus Harley’s life here, courtesy of his wiki article:

Harley became inspired to learn the bagpipe after seeing the Black Watch perform in John F. Kennedy’s funeral procession in November 1963. Then a maintenance worker for the Philadelphia’s housing authority, Harley began searching the city for a set of bagpipes. Failing to find one, he traveled to New York City where he found a set in a pawn shop. He purchased the instrument for US$120, quickly adapting it to the idioms of jazz, blues, and funk. On several occasions, when a neighbor called the police to complain about Harley’s practicing in his apartment, he would quickly put away his bagpipes and feign ignorance, asking the officers, “Do I look like I’m Irish or Scottish to you?”[2]

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

And, I made the grave error of introducing Mr.Grump to Rufus Harley, and now I have to procure the albums.

Uh-oh. I’m now thinking it might not be safe to play that clip where Mr K might hear it, even though I’m the one in this family who likes the pipes.

Still, if it meant I could persuade him to wear a kilt …

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

tesformes – I laughed at that, too! (Though my sympathies are with his neighbour.)

KathleenB
KathleenB
6 years ago

Jazz… bagpipes? How odd.

KathleenB
KathleenB
6 years ago

I was raised with the assumption that I could do any damn thing I put my mind to, and fuck the haters. In other words, a feminist. In fact, my father’s attitude that racism and misogyny were… maybe not gone, but not much of a factor in American life caused some problems between us. Attempts to point out the giant problems in his bootstrap narratives just caused fights.

Damn, how I miss him. My first thought on seeing the post title was that dad would get a kick out of it. Sometimes I can’t look at bonsai or orchids without crying. Millions of horrible people in this world, and a man who had an enormous impact on so many lives died slowly.

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Hi, Mouse Farts! Have a Welcome Package!

Love your nym – and that punchline. 😀

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

My mother raised me as a feminist. I can’t pinpoint a moment where I consciously identified a such, I just always was a feminist. And it all seems to go back to how my mom raised me. I do remember, as a teenager, working through my high school libraries pitifully scant selection of feminist books, though. If I recall, they consisted mainly of The Feminine Mystique and a couple collections of essays.

Mouse Farts
Mouse Farts
6 years ago

Thanks Kittehserf!

Yeah, the punchline would have worked better if he hadn’t proceeded to DRINK said bourbon. And that is why the good whiskey gets locked up.

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Evil Mr Farts!

tesformes
6 years ago

O my god guys, this “I Got A Secret” show is hilarious!

GardenGallivant
GardenGallivant
6 years ago

I do like the bagpipes. The local high school is the highlanders so they have a bagpipe and drum band as well as they more usual brass band. I hear them practice in the summer and fall while the weather is good.

I also have a picture of my father in Highlander’s regimental kilt, sporran and bearskin cap from after my parents married during WWII. Since he was American it must have been a lark to get his picture to send to his relatives in rural Texas and maybe get them ready for a war bride from the north of England near the border.

My mother influenced my feminism in the sixties. We talked about her memory of getting the vote and the then current movement to make abortion legal in Washington. Both of my parents were pro-choice. However most important to me was changing the rules so I could wear pants to school.

Skirts were still required attire and even changing to pants after school was not common so got me my first harassment. Leaving school in pants to catch a ride with my brother on his vespa I got asked if I “turned tricks”. Not understanding the words at 14 (though I got the tone) I had to ask my brother what had been the intent of the insult.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

I was raised hardcore conservative Christian (like Southern Baptist evangelical “masturbation is cheating on your future spouse and that’s a sin” sort of conservative) and started questioning those beliefs in my mid-teens, but it took a while. When you’re raised with a specific set of assumptions about life, untangling reality from all the indoctrination (and figuring out what you actually think vs. what’s a knee-jerk rebellion) can be…a process.

YES, I really understand that. (Assemblies of God here, not as hardcore, but not terribly far off) I started really questioning it when I was 14: I remember sitting in a library getting angrier and tenser by the minute, thinking it was SO unfair that my brothers could reasonably expect to have both careers/education AND sex/marriage/families in their futures, whereas I was going to have to make an irrevocable choice between the two, and soon.

“Everyone knows mothers who work are bad at both things: no man can serve two masters! nyuk nyuk!” and “Babygirl, I don’t know about this college thing… you are probably just going to get married and have babies anyway!”

argh This was in the 90s! (Yes, the 1990s. ) lol

Then I started reading about world religions and thinking how silly it was that all these people believed in these ridiculous gods and performed all these strange and pointless rituals, just because their parents taught them to.

Anyway, I was really, really angry in a deep down kind of way, for a surprisingly long time. I’m not angry anymore– my parents were mostly doing the best they could with their own pool of received and accumulated wisdom. They were so young, and so fricken broke, with so much responsibility on their plates, and little margin for error. I know a little bit more about what that’s like now.

But yeah, that bit about figuring out what YOU think vs what is honestly just overreaction to crap from the past? Yes! Messy. (meantime I’ve been raising my own pack of kids and probably screwing them up in some way I won’t understand til they’re 35 and it’s too late to do much about it.)

Anyway, welcome!

Kyla Ball
6 years ago

What I don’t understand about the men’s movement is that many say that it’s not about women, it’s about men’s issues (eg. increasing prostrate cancer awareness, equality in the court system for men) but it seems to me, they spend 24/7 thinking and talking about how evil women are. They don’t set out to actually help a suffering man. They say they are “going their own way” but everything they post or talk about is about women!!

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

I was raised in a very bigoted household, but I never understood the bigotry. I remember kiddie-me listening to various family members ranting about Aboriginal people or gay people or poor people, and just thinking… Why? Isn’t the operative word there “People”? So, yeah, when I first heard the word “Feminist” in my late teens, I picked it up without a second thought.

(Preemptive apologies in case this sounds like I’m putting myself above anybody who used to believe or still believes what their family told them; I’m absolutely not! Just, my Asperger’s means I have trouble completely understanding others’ points of view when it comes to that sort of thing.)

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I was a feminist before I even knew the word, and when I did hear it I just thought “so that’s what you call it”, but it took until university for me to be exposed to radical feminism, which basically felt like “finally, people who’re willing to be honest about all this stuff and put it in a clear sociopolitical context without sugarcoating it to avoid offending anyone”. So for me the awareness of injustice and belief that it needed to be addressed was always there, and then the theory helped me make sense of why things were the way they were and what to do about them.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

I have a friend who is a piper. If he hasn’t heard Rufus Harely before, he’s going to hear about him today, Thanks David!

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

ceebarks – cripes, that’s bad. I worked with a trio of Assembly of God members in my first job, in the mid 80s, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t that far down that rabbit-hole. Maybe they were outliers, I dunno.

Kootiepatra
6 years ago

I grew up in a religious and politically conservative home. (I’m still religious, but not so conservative anymore.) We were kind of an “I’m not feminist, but…” family. My dad thinks really highly of my mom, not in the pedestal way, but in the sense of actually deeply respecting her, and it shows. I was raised being told I could be whatever I wanted to, and I had an assortment of toys marketed at both girls and boys. But because we were politically conservative, “feminist” was synonymous with “man-hating feminazi” so we definitely weren’t that.

As a young adult, I blundered into the Shapely Prose blog because I saw one of its posts trending on the WordPress dashboard. I was reading it and blown away by Kate Harding’s incisive, hilarious style, and how OHMYGOSH I’ve never had the language to talk about these things, but I feel EXACTLY THE SAME WAY!

I was about ten posts into it before I realized it was a feminist blog. Not gonna lie: I freaked out and left.

I found my way back there after I had taken some time to think it over and be less closed-minded. The post that was the real tipping point, though, was “Schrodinger’s Rapist” by Phaedra Starling. Between the post itself and the comment section, suddenly the light bulb went off on privilege, oppression, intersectionality, and why feminism is A Thing even though women can already vote and go to college.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
6 years ago

I think I’ve always been a feminist, in that I’ve always agreed that women and men should be equal, ever since my mum told me about the Suffragettes when I was a very small child. I dunno if I ever really called myself a feminist until sort of my late teens, and it was only at university that I found out about Intersectional Feminisms.

I now feel disappointed in my parents, especially my mum, because she brought me into feminism, but she now claims to have done the “PC thing” in her youth and emerged out the other side, with a “more balanced” view of things – by which she means she’s gone back to being comfortable with things and not examining her internalised prejudices.

She thinks racism against white people is a thing, and has a very dim view of my having a friend who is trans, because she thinks I’m just parroting *their* “extreme lefty woolly liberal crap” if I call her out on bigotry. She thinks I don’t have my own opinions, and she’ll “win” by misstating my position back to me in a way that makes me sound ridiculous (e.g. “You’re saying we should be ashamed to be white”).
I can’t have any conversation with her without feeling the need to call her out on something, so it’s a constant battle, and we ALWAYS end up disagreeing in a way that means she’s left thinking she is the one who is right and that I am just stupid.

In fact, it came up on a car journey last night – parents talking about girls in a care-home who were preyed upon by a paedophile ring, saying it was partly the girls’ fault for being wayward and “making bad decisions”, and I felt compelled to call them out on victim-blaming, though they denied that was what they were doing.

It made me feel awful, partly because my much younger brother was with me in the back seat, and I don’t want him picking up on that attitude, and partly because it made me question how they would respond if either one of us were in an abusive relationship and needed their support.
They didn’t really listen to what I was trying to say, got defensive and actually shouted me down over it, whilst saying “of course” they would believe me, and that I could simply phone my dad and be whisked away from any situation like that, but they also said that if I stayed, they would tell me I was being stupid.
And I know they mean that out of a position of “snap out of doing things which are bad for you”, but it actually felt really upsetting, because while I think I could trust them for practical support if I ever needed it, (a van to move out, a place to stay, etc), their response made me feel that, on an emotional level, there might be a level of victimhood that I’d be required to meet, or that they just wouldn’t be able to offer me any support emotionally, because their being “right” is always more important than whether I feel safe or accepted in their presence.
And that just hit a nerve in a way that still makes me feel weird and vulnerable.

I think this has gone waaaaay off-topic and into a very rambly emotionally-charged place. But I guess I identify with what Mouse Farts and ceebarks said about “untangling reality from all the indoctrination (and figuring out what you actually think vs. what’s a knee-jerk rebellion) can be…a process.”
I my case, I’m pretty sure I know what I think and know to be true, it’s just my parents who don’t trust me to know my own mind. And I feel like I’m being gaslighted every time I express an opinion in front of them.

Sorry for the personal teal-deer. Dunno if I feel better for saying it out loud, or not.

gillyrosebee
6 years ago

Sometimes I think Cassandrakitty and I are the same person!

My family was both highly patriarchal and very conservative and I became who I am philosophically by constantly butting up against things they said or did and thinking, “well, that’s not right!” but I didn’t know that my rage against the injustice I saw was called ‘feminism’ and it wasn’t really till college that I read deeply enough for it to be more than a sensibility.

I used to be kinda shocked by the “I’m not a feminist” thing, and even more so by anti-feminists, but over time I have come to understand it as the result of a powerful “marketing” effort, and I’m not surprised that so many of the folks who seem to be parroting that line seem to be awfully young. It doesn’t surprise me now that some actress or musician in her 20s would think feminism isn’t a thing she needs because for the most part she’s out there, achieving her dream with the support of her friends and family, who may even be serving as a buffer between her and the worst of the institutional sexism (and/or racism) that is embedded in the system. In other words, folks like that are lucky, and given how we as human beings so often conflate luck with our own virtue, I can’t hold it against them.

I have had the experience of watching friends who would have run screaming from the word feminist when we were in our 20s progress through dawning realization and then abject disgust as things they were convinced couldn’t be true come back to hit them in the face more and more as they got older. As you start aging and losing the shell of seeming privilege provided by benevolent sexism, it is harder and harder to ignore the other side of the coin.

Anyway, a hearty welcome to Mouse Farts. And to AltoFronto, a shared “UGH!” because I have been there.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
6 years ago

we as human beings so often conflate luck with our own virtue.

I shall tuck that piece of wisdom deep into the folds of my brain for future reference.

Thanks, gilllyrosebee, and comradely hugs to everyone whose family hold harmful, yet stubbornly-entrenched worldviews. I’ll bet there are a lot of us.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

@AltoFtronto: One of the fundamental problems that virtually all of us have to deal with is that as children we know very little of life and have to trust information and ideas that others hand to us, so we end up absorbing a lot of crap — if not from our parents, then from society at large — that later on we have to spend a lot of time and effort seeking out and discarding: the mental muck that was shoved in there before we were sophisticated enough to be critical about the things people try to teach us. And it seems that if you don’t begin this process when you are fairly young, it will never happen.
Sadly,you will probably have to be somewhat philosophical about your parents — they have settled into the comfortable world-view that says that the way things are is basically fair, people get more or less what they deserve, and that if you fare poorly in the world you probably deserve it — you’re not a victim, you just make bad choices. They don’t want to accept that not only do bad things happen to good people — everybody recognizes that — but that some of the bad things are a result of systematic flaws in society. Your parents simply have too far to travel — essentially they would have to discard almost all of that comfortable world view to get to where you are — and it’s hard enough to discard all of your notions about life and build up a new and very different world view when you are young, and almost impossible when you are old.
The first rule I tried to teach my children was “Question authority.” But if one is a member of the favored groups in society, it tends to be a lot easier to never ask “Why?” when someone says “That’s just the way it is.” Feminists make a lot of people uncomfortable because they are constantly questioning (mostly male) authority, asking “Why?” when authority doesn’t have any good answers. I’m afraid when your questions make your parents uncomfortable, they’ll just retreat farther into their shells, like frightened turtles.
I was fortunate to be raised by a father who spent his whole life questioning authority, who managed to become something of a feminist in his 70s.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Heh. Yeah, I absorbed a lot of crap from my parents growing up. I still remember trying to like Ann Coulter because I felt I had to. Thing is, though, that the conservatism and religiosity didn’t really appear much until I started to drift away from it in high school. Once I started expressing more liberal opinions, or atheistic ones, suddenly religion and politics were the most important things in the world to my parents, and I was getting brainwashed for watching particular shows too much.

Anyway, apart from that, my politics and world views definitely have been more of the product of a slow osmosis than rigorous thought. I was basically pretty passive with everything, so sometimes I feel like I could have turned out very different if I was around a different crowd. I can’t say I was ever anti-feminist (I wasn’t really strongly anything), but I just went with the flow with the guys in the all-boys dorm in high school, which was generally pretty cluelessly misogynistic.

I dunno… one day everything started clicking. I tended more liberal, I tended to enjoy philosophy of justice and ethics, and all of a sudden a bunch of the groups I hung around started repeating the same basic things. I think I started reading this blog after being referred to it from Pharyngula (I think, it’s been a long time). I saw the people who were generally not sympathetic to feminism behaving poorly, I saw the people who were sympathetic or outright feminists expressing the same sorts of things I remembered from philosophy class. Even if there was a schism in one topic (atheism split over social justice issues), the people I followed all trended toward the same goal.

Every good thing I already knew about fed into good things that I didn’t, and I became a feminist simply because it seemed like the only tenable position with everything else I believed. My views have been constantly evolving and refining ever since.

grumpycatisagirl
6 years ago

Just wanted to thank everyone for the insights/responses to my questions. Every now and did it seems I could really use a reminder of how lucky I am to have been raised by parents who have always both rather supportive and progressive. And if ever I tried to like Ann Coulter it would only seriously worry them, LOL.

So my hat is really off to those of you you were raised in a familial framework that you really had to fight against in order to decide to call yourselves feminists.

yutolia
yutolia
6 years ago

My mom was a radical feminist, and participated in a lot of action when I was a kid. I remember going to pro-choice rallies and such. She is also a scientist (geologist) and battled her way into being allowed to have a job in that field. Because of this I have always known that I am a feminist.

I remember specifically that I really hated most mainstream tv for kids because it represented women in such a limited and pretty insulting way (things have gotten a little better, but still have a long way to go). A lot of the other kids in the neighborhood thought I was super weird because I would comment on how I thought the commercials and stuff were sexist (or racist, or homophobic) while at their houses. We were the weird hippy family. It took them until about now to get used to us.

One thing that was a big process for me was getting involved in the disability rights movement. I suffered a brain injury when I was being born (which very luckily didn’t manifest as cerebral palsy). It took me a long time to get over the shame and stigma of having a disability. I never admitted the discrimination that I faced (and still do) until about 5 years ago, when I turned 30. Up until then I had convinced myself that all of the hardships I had faced were my fault. Then I met a very outspoken person who had also suffered a brain injury, and she helped me come around to the idea that having a disability doesn’t make me less human that anyone else, and that what happened to me as a child was discrimination, not something that was caused by me.

grumpycatisagirl
6 years ago

Ack, my comment was a proofreader’s nightmare.

every now and then, I mean.

always been rather supportive and progressive, I mean.

to those of you who, I mean.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I often think about how lucky I am to have progressive parents and to have grown up in a liberal city. I’m pretty sure I’d be miserable in the bible belt. I too admire everyone who managed to unlearn harmful ideas.

sunnysombrera
6 years ago

I was raised religious but not fundamentalist, and progressive. There was never any talk from my parents about how X is for girls and Y is for boys. Me and my brother played with the same toys and got the same opportunities. My mother in particular had the attitude for both of us that we should be able to do what we want with our lives, she’s always valued our independence (my father too btw).

Equality and fairness (ergo feminism) has always been a keen idea for me ever since I was young. I’ve always lived by the belief that I just want everyone to be happy, and that involves freedom to do and be what you want. For everyone. I hate gender roles and when people try to force other people to behave how they want them to. So I instantly agreed with the values of feminism even though I never actually called myself one until recently. Partly because of the “feminism = man hating” idea, partly because I try not to label myself things. My parents were and are very much egalitarian in marriage (actually my mum wears the trousers) but they had the idea that feminism is extremism. That’s where I got that from until I started reading about the kind of thing people here have mentioned, religious misogyny, and the Social Justice Warrior side of me got really mad.

Things went from there when I started reading about secular and institutional sexism and now here I am.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 years ago

I had pretty progressive parents as well, and as a result never really had to think about a lot of this. I didn’t really clue into how lucky I was until I got to University and ran into a lot of students who really did not get along with the rest of their family.

As for bagpipes… well, I have a soft spot for Enter the Haggis, a local band. Imagine bagpipes playing along with an electric fiddle, bass guitar, and drums, then mix things up every so often. The piper tends to do all sorts of odd things on live shows, like playing 1970s TV show theme songs on the bagpipes, or a mashup of Scotland the Brave and Hava Nagila: