The Most Infuriating Misconceptions

A mother doesn't have to choose between family and career, the capital of Canada is not Toronto, and not everyone can become a web designer.

Mother and Child with Laptop Computer

This article was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Misconceptions.

Quoting Wikipedia, a misconception occurs “when a person believes in a concept that is objectively false.”

There are so many misconceptions in life. I was trying to decide which one I would like to talk about in this post. It was a rather difficult task for me to make up my mind. And then it dawned on me, why not talk about all the ones that infuriate me the most. So here we go:

1. There can be no true friendship between a man and a woman

Many people would argue that this is not a misconception, but a well known fact. All I can say to those people is that I’m sorry, I’m truly sorry for you, that you’ve never experienced such friendship. In its true pure form, a friendship between a man and a woman — or a girl and a boy — is much more sincere and free of competition and envy than the one between friends of the same sex.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I have two slightly younger brothers, but hanging around boys and being friends with them since forever seemed natural for me. I had very close male friends who were confessing to me about the troubles with their girlfriends. Often I was helping them to resolve their love issues. The opposite was true as well — my male friends were the best confidants I ever had.

It’s not surprising when I sense a suspicious look or hear gossip behind my back. It infuriates me to see how some people misinterpret the true friendship between a man and a woman. Even Hollywood failed to properly answer the question “Can men and women ever just be friends?” in the movie When Harry Met Sally. Everything was going so well. The two were friends for 12 years, until one night spoiled everything. Of course, the movie had a typical Hollywood happy ending — they eventually make up and fall in love. But what was the point of the entire movie? Was their message that No, Men and Women cannot be just friends forever? I still say Yes, they can, but obviously not in Hollywood.

2. Working mothers sacrifice their family for a career

First of all, let me start by saying that sometimes it is true — some women take it to the extreme and do sacrifice their family for the career they’re after. But not all do. Some women manage to find the right balance between the family life and career. It’s not an easy task to accomplish, but it’s not an impossible one.

One should keep in mind an important thing — it’s not the quantity that counts but quality. Some stay at home mothers (read: mothers who don’t run a business from home) spend all day with their children, but the actual quality time they dedicate to their kids and husband can be less than working moms manage to devote to their family.

Don’t get me wrong — I have nothing against stay at home moms. My mother was one of them. She committed her life to raising three children and giving all her attention, love and care to us. For that I’m forever grateful to her. All I’m asking here is don’t judge career moms too harshly. It’s not the career we’re after, but the accomplishments, the realization of the fact that we can be devoted mothers and love our kids to death, and at the same time we can still pursue other passions and be good at them.

I live and breathe for my daughter. She is in my every thought; everything I do is for her. Unfortunately, life is expensive, and unless I win a jackpot, I have to work to provide the best for my daughter. On the other hand, work is not good enough for me. I need to get a sense of accomplishment from my work, and the only way to achieve it is to make a career (not necessarily the one of a CEO), and pursue and realize goals.

3. Everyone can become a Web designer

I’ve met many people throughout my teaching career who believed that anyone can become a Web designer if they go to a school that teaches Web Design. They think they would graduate the school and would become professionals in Web Design. I was teaching in several of such web design schools and, believe me, I’ve seen my share of tears and disappointments when some of such students were coming to a realization of their mistaken beliefs.

However the saddest and worse part was that not all of them did realize the truth. Some were still sure that they are good at Web Design (it’s just the programming part that they didn’t like). I’ve had several such students come to me and say that they don’t like programming, but they do like Flash, or they like Photoshop, and that’s enough for them to know to become a Web Designer. The pitiful reality about those students was the sour truth that they weren’t good with Graphic design either.

I wish people would realize that Web Design, just like any other profession, is not everyone’s calling. Then perhaps we would see less copycat “web-2.0” style websites on the net.

4. Misconceptions about other cultures

I won’t be going into many details about each country, but I really wish people would behave less ignorant when it comes to other cultures, race, foreign traditions and values. I will give only two examples that directly relate to me.

  1. Other than one of the 50 states, there is another Georgia — a separate country that was formed in 1991 after the break up of Soviet Union. Soviet Union cannot be used interchangeably with Russia. USSR has consisted from 15 republics, and Russia was just one of them. So if someone says that they come from Georgia, don’t automatically assume that they are either Americans or Russians.
  2. Misconceptions about Canada:
    • Canada’s capital is not Toronto; it’s Ottawa. We don’t have a president, and the country is not ruled by Queen, but by a Prime Minister.
    • Winter is not the only season in Canada. It’s not always cold here and the bears are not walking freely in the streets.
    • We don’t fight in wars not because we’re weak, but because we’re peacekeepers and wise. There are other ways to solve the issues between countries and communicate the message besides attacking another country
    • Just because Canada has two official languages, it doesn’t mean that everyone here speaks both English and French.
    • Not everyone in Canada plays hockey. It’s a pretty expensive hobby, and not all families can afford to buy the hockey gear for their kids. Hockey is not the only official sport in Canada. Lacrosse is Canada’s official summer sport. Furthermore, not many people know that basketball was invented in Canada. Baseball is as popular here as it is in States. Canadians do play football, but a different one – Canadian football.
    • It’s not true that Canadians say “eh” after every sentence. Perhaps every 10 sentences or so, eh 🙂
    • Next time you try to recall at least one famous Canadian, check out this extensive list on Wikipedia of celebrated Canadians that includes Frank Gehry, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Shania Twain, Martin Short, Michael J. Fox, Brendan Fraser, Keanu Reeves, bands like Guess Who, Nickelback and the list goes on.

If you would like to read more of what Vivien – the Canadian blogger/Career Mom/Web Designer – has to say about facts of life, head to her blog Inspiration Bit and get inspired to argue.

15 thoughts on “The Most Infuriating Misconceptions”

  1. I always wondered why I didn't like Keanu Reeves. I aways thought it was the bad acting. 😆

    Speaking about point #1, you would have to be a guy to understand. It'd be nice to have a true girl/guy friendship and I think I've had a few, but there are too many jealous people out there.

    Point #3… I think the misconception here is that people can learn a software tool and be a designer. That's like opening Microsoft Word and calling yourself an author. It just isn't the case. If people go into a class with the wrong ideas/aptitude, then of course they won't be a good designer/programmer.

  2. #1: I'm still on the fence on this one. I tend to believe it's possible, but I'm still not totally sold.

    #2: Yes, it's the quality of the time you spend with your children that matters, but you can't sacrifice too much on quantity either. Especially in their younger years, your career (or your husband's) can't be your first priority. Of course, I'm single and childless, so who am I to talk?

    #3: I just read another rant on this a few days ago. Hilarious, annoying, fascinating, and distrubing all at the same time.

  3. Ronald, why are you so jealous of Keanu Reeves? 🙂
    Care to elaborate on what would I understand if I were a guy?

    Luis, career is not my first priority, not at all. If I had a million (or two, or three) dollars like Barenaked Ladies sing (Canadian band), I'd give up my career and would only blog from time to time 🙂

  4. inspirationbit,

    Guys are visually stimulated. Even if we're with a girl that is considered just a friend, there is still that constant thought in the back of the mind every second or so.

  5. Interesting comments on misconceptions, especially about Canada.

    Canada IS ruled by the Queen of Canada (also Queen of England, Scotland, Wales, etc. etc.) through the Governor-General. The Prime Minister does not 'rule', in fact the Prime Minister has no official standing, but is the leader of the party currently in power.

    Basketball was not invented in Canada, but was invented by a Canadian, James Naismith, while he was employed at the YMCA College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

    So I guess we all have some misconceptions.

  6. I'm not going to start debates about Queen "ruling" Canada. There are enough debates about it in Canada. Let's just say that what's "in paper" and what's "in fact" happening in Canada are two very different things.

    Quoting Wikipedia: "Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in Spring 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a Canadian children's game called "Duck on a Rock", as many had failed before it. Naismith called the new game 'Basket Ball'". Looks like Basketball did get its roots in Canada.

    And of course, we all have misconceptions – nobody is perfect here.

  7. It's not as popular as hockey, but everyone here loves watching NBA. Basketball was very popular in Vancouver, until Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis, and now are called Memphis Grizzlies.

  8. I totally agree with you on #1. I’ve had many close female friends, more than close male friends actually. I wish you hadn’t thrown in the opposite generalization, though: that friendship is difficult between people of the *same* sex due to jealousy and competition.

    Just like some friendships between people of opposite sexes have trouble due to sexual tension, some friendships between people of the same sex have trouble due to sexual competition. But in both cases it’s only some. I’ve had male friends I was jealous of, and male friends I wasn’t jealous of, just like I’ve had female friends I was attracted to, and female friends I wasn’t attracted to. Not only that, I’ve had male friends who I was a little jealous of and still been friends with them, just like I’ve had female friends who I was attracted to and still been friends with them. I think that when people are mature and know how to deal with their feelings, all of these problems usually turn out to be pretty minor. The real friendship deal-breakers are selfishness, nastiness and hypocrisy, which exist equally among men and women.

  9. Maybe Canadians play Canadian football, but the NFL is bigger (in general) than the CFL in Canada…THIS IS WHAT I’VE HEARD! I am not saying its definite, because I am not Canadian.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AhXVSMNSWwY6FMzCFNxI4EDsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20080322083558AA5On8R

    That link above is to a question I posted on Yahoo Answers. I got a very thorough answer. And I’m proud to say I did not have those misconceptions about Canada (and I’m from the D.C. metro area).

    And it’s only idiots who think that everyone in Canada plays hockey. No, wait. I should have said, “even enjoys hockey” because that is like saying all americans like/play american football.

    Oh, and one correction: Basketball wasn’t invented in Canada, it was invented by a Canadian. It was invented in Springfield Massachusetts. That means it was probably all or almost all Americans who played.

    Anyways, this was a truly insightful article and I’d give it two thumbs up.

  10. Lucas, thanks for the thumbs up.
    Yes, we did establish in the comments above that Basketball was invented by a Canadian, although not in Canada, but based on a Canadian children game. 😉

  11. I stumbled upon your blog while researching something for one of my classes. I am a student of Axia College of the University of Phoenix and I was asked to write a Definition paragraph (in terms of a Definition essay, which is an essay in which the writer defines a certain term or concept and discusses it) and I chose the topic of friendship. I wanted to take it to another level though and discuss how people usually associate friendship with two people of the same sex, and that friendship is not defined by age, sex, or race. While researching, I came upon your blog and I just wanted to say that I agree with you whole-heartedly that it IS possible for men and women to JUST be friends. I have two best friends and one of them is male. We have been best friends for about 2 years and he is one of the best friends that I have ever had in my life. Our relationship has never gone any further than friendship and neither of us would ever want it to. I am very happily married and have been with my husband for what will be seven years in September. He is absolutely fine with my friendship and has no reason not to be. It is possible for men and women to be friends, it is all a matter of the mind; some people can’t see past sex, age, or even race issues when it comes to friendships but what it takes is an open mind and an elimation of the stereotypes that society engraves into our minds from the time we are children even up until we are adults.

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