If someone were to produce a word count of one of the most overused words in our language today, I imagine that the word “pride” would come very near to winning the contest.
“Pride” is our zeitgeist word: it’s the spirit of the age. We’re constantly told how “proud” we should be about every aspect of our lives.
When the Duchess of Sussex, as Meghan Markle, spoke at the United Nations, she declared: “I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist.” But being a woman is, in the majority of cases, a biological fact decided at our conception by the miraculous fusion of genes and chromosomes. Why should we be “proud” of something that simply occurs in the course of nature?
“Grey pride” instructs us to be proud of being old. But as Dame Joan Collins so memorably exclaimed about ageing, “it’s better than the alternative”. I’d suggest we should be grateful to grow old, rather than being “proud” of the date on our birth certificate.
“Gay pride” has taken centre stage in this universal inclination to pride in circumstances. It was inspired by a predecessor, “black pride” – both arising from protests against injustice and discrimination which black people and homosexuals have suffered in the past.
The gay pride marches are now a worldwide phenomenon in the summer months, perhaps replacing the more traditional fiestas or harlequinades of yore, when people dressed up in outlandish costumes for celebration and theatrical display. It has also become highly commercialised, with big brands using the opportunity of marketing their products.
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