Bare minimum is a phrase we hear a lot in interactions surroundings actions we think should be commonplace but aren’t. I must admit I’ve been part of the “that’s what they’re supposed to do” crowd a lot and I don’t regret it. However, I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently and I can’t shake the thought that sometimes bare minimum is all that’s required.
Say I’m sitting in a coffee shop and a man comes and hits on me, I tell him I’m a lesbian and he apologises and walks away. Doing that, respecting me and my sexuality, is the bare minimum but in that case, what more do I want? A mural dedicated to Sappho? An award? My Oriki? I just wanted him to leave me alone and he did, so is it so bad to be thankful for it?
If I go online to talk about that experience, I’m not asking the community to give the man an ally award, I’m just talking about something nice that happened. And although it should be the norm, it isn’t.
We want a world where people’s gender identities and pronouns are respected, but that’s not the world we live in. Our ideal world is lightyears away from the one we’re in. When people do things we want normalized, I think the thing to do is to acknowledge their effort instead of shouting about how it’s the bare minimum.
I understand you, I too will burst into flames if I see another post praising a new dad for knowing how to change a fucking diaper. But I also understand the side that wants to give him flowers. It is the bare minimum but it’s behaviour we want to see more of, so expressing gratitude for it isn’t such a bad thing (although I wish the gratitude would be a lot less loud). Positive reinforcement yunno.
The bare minimum isn’t such a bad thing, neither is being thankful for it. Sometimes the bare minimum is okay, sometimes it’s all we want, sometimes it’s all that can be given. I think we need to recognize what each situation calls for and act accordingly.
With love and everything nice,
P.S I wrote this three times because word kept crashing and a lot of it has been lost in translation. Microsoft Word has joined the long list of artificial persons who hate me.