The Prevailing Narrative is a phrase I have read and heard a lot over the last months. It seems to denote something stronger than conventional wisdom, but is not quite as forceful as prevailing paradigm. It is used in practically every context you can imagine: politics, health, sports, world situation, the corporal whereabouts of bin Laden, climate change, drugs, religion, everything but fashion. I am changing that.
In case you haven’t noticed, for quite a while the prevailing narrative regarding women’s hair is that all women have very long, very straight hair. And if they don’t, they should have, and I am referring to women of all ages. Thus there are extensions and irons and waxes or whatever else is necessary to keep the hair flat and straight. This is mostly in the world of entertainment and fashion. But those worlds have a strong influence on the prevailing narrative of how women see themselves.
It has become a problem for me because I am beginning to have trouble telling women on TV apart. Maybe I am just dazzled by their great big white implanted teeth. I think this is going to change (the narrative of the hair, not the teeth) because lately I have seen a few women who obviously have not pressed their hair, and it seems to be going awry.
I think it is proving too time consuming, expensive as well as unhealthy for their hair to keep it straight.
We will see. I have been wrong before. But like other pundits, it will matter little a week from now if I am wrong.
On a more serious vein of concern to women, the prevailing narrative for sometime has been that it’s a woman’s own fault for being raped if she dresses or acts like a slut. In this case, you could say that slut is like porn to men: They know it when they see it.
I say if men would accept the paradigm that they have absolutely no control over their own sexual behavior, women will be more considerate and strive to protect them from themselves.
And also in a serious vein: Prince Charles of Wales was in the United States meeting with President Obama to talk about organic farming. He spoke at Georgetown University on the subject. He talked about agriculture as opposed to agro-business or agro-industry. He made a convincing argument (to me) that the reason non organic produce is cheaper than organic is that the industry does not have to pay for the damage and pollution their fertilizers do to the water and land or for the water that they waste. Governments are left to clean up after them. His message: to get the healthiest food possible from the healthiest environment possible. Although a few people responded with “he is right, of course,” most of the responses were in line with the prevailing sentiment that anybody with any connection to any government, stay out of our lives… and especially our food.
And finally, dare I touch on religion? Another prevailing narrative seems to be that people who are religious or believe in God (here, put in the God of your choice) are more moral and ethical and charitable than atheists or disbelievers. That it is our love of God and desire to go to Heaven and our fear of Hell that pushes us to do good deeds. Well, lately, according to statistics, agnostics and atheists and non believers, or more positively, Humanists, are growing in number and can be just as good, honest, kind and charitable towards their fellow humans, even other animals without an eternal beacon or dire threats.
There may not just be a change in the water levels in the world; there may be a sea change that is occurring among the inhabitants that will result in what Martin Fleck calls counternarrative.