Tallulah Bankhead and Zelda Fitzgerald, especially the latter, are two of my favorite Southern Belles. There’s a gross misnomer regarding Southern Belles as being all “proper” and well-behaved in the traditional sense. Well, in their day, Southern Belles had a sense of decorum – yes. They were charming, polite… BUT they had their boundaries and self-respect. You crossed a Southern Belle, you’d find yourself incapable of fitting back into her good graces. Cross one of us, and like a cat, we’ll swat you.
Southern Belles had a feminine iconoclastic streak that broke norms while trend-setting new norms for femininity. A type of “new woman,” these Belles broke social barriers in their own way using feminine wiles instead of rejecting their very female nature. Third wavers could learn much from the Belles of long yesteryear, namely a lesson of kindness and class. I always say try kindness first. And if that doesn’t work, go Scarlett O’Hara on their ass.
Yes, Southern Belles are charming like pretty vixens, but we’re the straight-forward ladies you’ll find south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Unlike much of hen-pecking, passive-aggressive habits associated with women, a Belle’s gonna tell you what she thinks. And your behavior depends on exactly how she’s gonna tell you. You show your entire ass, she’ll own it.
I’d contemplated a YouTube Channel for a while before actually just making one. Twitter buddies helped me set it up, and liked my “Southern Belle”title. It sets the entire flair of my channel. I’ve been accused of being a Southern Belle before, so I thought it a rather appropriate label.
But what are the objectives of my channel? I’m not a “communications” major. I find them rather obnoxious and pretentious, especially in their attitude that they alone should own the right to speak on current events and politics. My M.A. is in English Literature; I’m a teacher. And that’s reflected in the podcasts I do with friends and colleagues on literary subjects, such as my H.P. Lovecraft podcast: All About Lovecraft
I discuss humanism, atheism, and secularism, as expected, too. Sometimes I’ll invite a social media buddy on to talk about current events. But the purpose of Southern Belle Humanism is to demystify atheism in the South. To show that Southern humanists/atheists, namely female ones, actually do exist. I wanted to do something to change the culture for my girlfriends who have been so discriminated against that they’ve lost children and family via the corrupt court system. It’s proven difficult to find contributing Belles because women still fear for their job security and how family members will react. Non-religious folks are still marginalized, even barred from holding public office in much of the South. Conventional paradigms and preconceived notions still defame humanists as “evil” or even “satanic.” Often, it this is a willful ignorance, the proverbial excuse to socially “burn a witch.”
This gig is a conversation between myself and someone I know, like, and admire. As we say in the South, we’re “visiting.” My channel is not an argumentative editorial or sarcastic alias account. There’s a very earnest purpose. And I bring decorum, demystification of atheism, and discuss my interests in a cafe setting. Sometimes we even drink wine! Topics abound from humanism, social issues, human rights – to art, culture, literature, and sharing funny anecdotes while doing so. I’m proud to say that Southern Belle Humanism is an asshole-free zone. I, along with my visiting guests, bring a sense of southern decorum to the Interwebs.
With a foot in the whimsical and the other in common reality, I hope to make my idea of an open cafe and polite, informal conversation a trend. It’d definitely be a nice change from all the silliness and misuse that the Internet sees today. I utilize the Interwebs to make friends, bring people together, and education. Now, how are you going to use it?