Flat White

What’s woke this week?

27 February 2020

1:40 PM

27 February 2020

1:40 PM

This week the dial on our woke-o-meter tried to keep up with the circular reasoning employed by professional offence takers and activists. It spun wildly, touching on po-faced vegan victimhood, a Twitter pile-on over tea, and this week’s runaway winner; one woman’s quest to fight masculinity norms and shake off her uneasiness with her boyfriend’s fondness for frocks. With that, shockingly, it blew a fuse and spiralled out of control, sucked into the maelstrom of malcontent that is the world of woke. 

Strictly a female he-male

You can always count on The Guardian for some wheedling woke-stoking but one article this week went above and beyond the woke call of duty. My boyfriend’s wedding dress unveiled my own shortcomings over masculinity is a pathos-plumped piece by Emily Halnon, who blames herself for her uneasiness over her boyfriend’s fondness for feminine frocks. Well, she would, wouldn’t she? 

Here are some of its breathless gems: 

This was not the first time I’d found myself a little uncomfortable with the sight of Ian in women’s wear. It’s not an unusual sight to spot him sporting a skirt, dress, or sarong at a party, picnic, or trailhead. He uses his unconventional apparel as a display of his individuality and a reflection of his fondness for fun. I adore both of those qualities, but I was realizing I was less fond of seeing them exhibited through floral numbers or tight sequined garments or wedding dresses.

As we interrogated our feelings about masculinity, we recognized gaps between our ideals and reality. I’m quick to blame men for perpetuating toxic behavior, but in this case, I, the woman, was part of the problem.

And to move further into delusion we have: 

“Do you find your boyfriend as attractive as I do?” whispered Eli [the writer’s gay flat-mate – inevitable, really], as we watched Ian plant his poles confidently in front of his flowing skirt, his hairy and silky chest beaming proud against the horizon, his laughing smile nearly detectable through the back of his floral sunhat.

A smile that’s almost detectable through the back of his hat? Along with the rest of the article, that’s the familiar sound of someone bleating through their bonnet. 

No jokes, please. We’re vegan.

Spare a thought for all the poor, persecuted ‘ethical vegans out there and the unspeakable horrors they are forced to face on a daily basis. The Guardian last week featured an article about veganism in the workplace, following the UK Vegan Society’s release of helpful guidelines for employers in response to a British employment tribunal decision in December that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief that should be protected in workplace law 

More on their oh, so helpful suggestions later, but first below are some excerpts from the article, entitled Colleagues tease you – then steal your plant milk: the problems vegans face at work 


Trigger warning, people. Among other monstrosities, you’ll learn that one subject recently opened her office fridge to see a half-eaten roast chicken sitting on a shelf near her food and that another faces ‘a lot of teasing from my colleagues’. Oh, the humanity! 

 Burgess does not think non-vegans understand why having to see meat in communal fridges is so distressing. ‘It upsets me … I don’t like the idea of animals suffering and being killed for food. Having to see that in shared fridges is a visceral reminder of that suffering on a day-to-day basis. As someone who has chosen not to engage with that, I should be able to avoid it.’

‘If meat or dairy products touched my food, I wouldn’t be able to eat it,’ says Crimes. ‘It would make me feel sick to think there might be animal products on it.”

Just try telling your supervisor that sitting next to that man wearing a dress and make-up is making you feel slightly queasy and see how protected you are. 

And the guidelines? Here are some of their pearls of wisdom (with no swine in sight, obvs!): 

Harassment does not have to be directed at the individual. For example, jokes or comments made between colleagues in the vicinity of vegans could constitute unlawful harassment.

One simple measure you can take is to add ‘vegan’ to your list of denominations on equality monitoring forms so that vegans have the choice to participate in the collection of demographic data.

And I thought they said it was non-religious philosophy. 

Brewing storm 

The Yorkshire Tea Company is one of Britain’s success stories, selling the UK’s most popular black tea and exporting around the globe. At least it was, until Britain’s newly-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunakposted a picture of himself making a cup of their tea on Twitter 

Nothing to see here, politician cashing in on a British icon, would be the response of most sane people. But Twitter, as we know, is increasingly the playground of the woke unhinged. 

Reminiscent of Monty Python’s famous She’s a Witch scene from The Holy Grail, cries of ‘Boycott them! Boycott them!’ resounded through the Twitter echo chamber. How dare a Conservative politician be photographed with Yorkshire Tea? It must be Yorkshire Tea’s fault. Let’s abuse them. Because we can. 

Here’s one example: 

I’ve stopped using Yorkshire tea since then as I don’t want to use a product that received publicity from an [sic] xenophobic fascist racist Political Party. I got rid of Yorkshire tea from all three of my offices and from home. All staff and other family and friends feel same.

Funny how nobody was overly-concerned when Jeremy Corbyn posted a similar image in 2017 while trying to make some of his own political das kapital   

Known as much for their amusing advertising campaigns as their tea, the ‘proper’ senses of humour displayed by those in the company’s marketing department have been sorely tested but remain gloriously intact, if a little bruised, as a quick look at their Twitter account shows.  

I’m off now to buy a really large packet of Yorkshire Tea. Oh, and to burn a witch. 

Illustrations: The Guardian/Twitter.

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