Being a hostess to hundreds of strangers a day, and the few who were my actual guests.
I want to talk about identity. And nationalism. Did I mean patriotism? It’s interesting that identity is such a deeply personal concept, and yet so widely significant and discussed.
Growing up with a Danish mother and an English father, I moved between those countries and then gained what I perceive as a third nationality when I got to Paris. In the light of recent geopolitical events, I have realised the potency of my European identity. Finally, just to make the melange more quirky, the past few years have revealed to me a deep affinity with “Africa”, as far as an African concept or diaspora can be defined. So how are these elements of my identity interacting, are they in a hierarchy, and how do I explain this to the unsuspecting questioner?
I’m a liberal, leftist Dane who also spent four formative, tough and valuable years at an English public school. I was pushed academically and I benefitted from fantastic facilities, teachers and opportunities. It’s a mixed bag. I met people with views I found unpleasant and others I appreciate greatly. How do I reconcile my fundamental beliefs with the reality of my privileged upper class education?
Interestingly, feminism was never of intellectual importance or interest to me until a few years ago, as those around me stopped perceiving me as a child, but saw me as a young woman. Emma Watson’s powerfully honest discourse and #freethenipple are empowering, but only really to those who already support those ideals.
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