Fandango’s Provocative Question #206

The question that Fandango has posed this week is a tough one for me. I have very mixed feelings about it which I’ll endeavour to explain.

What does the word “woke” mean to you? Is being “woke” a good thing or a bad thing? Do you consider yourself to be “woke”? Why or why not?

I think I first heard this expression a few years ago but I didn’t know what it meant. Even today I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a good or bad thing. Some people say it the way they say “Greenie” or “Leftie” as an insult. Actually, I don’t like the expression much.

As for whether or not I am “woke” it probably depends on who you ask. I’m British by birth so I’m aware that as a nation England, and other colonialist countries treated the nations that they invaded very badly. I am embarrassed by what they did in India, in Africa and closer to home in Ireland as well as here in Australia. Most nations who founded colonies overseas to exploit those country’s wealth treated the native inhabitants like rubbish, in some cases they didn’t even consider them human. I’ve been reading a series of books by Australian historian David Hunt, “Girt”, “True Girt” and “Girt Nation”. It is very easy to see why our indigenous peoples still feel anger over two hundred years later.

Many aboriginal people feel that celebrating Australia Day on 26 January, which is the anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 when white settlement of Australia began, is insulting and hurtful to them. I can understand why they might feel this way. At the same time I used to love Australia Day, for me it was a day of going to see a parade, BBQ’s, fireworks in the park and just celebrating living in Australia. I used to feel strongly that the holiday should be held on the proper day because I like things being held on the proper day not the most convenient one. Now I feel uncomfortable about celebrating it because of what I now know. I still want to celebrate but maybe not on that particular day. We could pick a less controversial day to celebrate so that we can all enjoy it. Some people might consider that this means I am “woke”.

Photo by Hugo Heimendinger on

On the other hand, I feel that there is way too much political correctness about many things. Today I was reading “Girt Nation” and the author made a comment about “Thomas The Tank Engine” a popular children’s TV show taken from the books written by Rev. W. Awdry and his son Christopher. He called the program out for so many things racism, being sexist, capitalist, classist, ageist and a number of other things. The whole footnote is 450 words and I am not sure if he was joking. My reaction to this tirade was to be very annoyed because I like the Thomas stories. Some of the events in them were based or real events that happened on the UK’s first preserved railway, the Tallyn in Wales. Naturally the style of the books seems dated now, they were written a long time ago. The first books came out in 1945.


I admit that I never had children so I don’t pretend to be an expert, but surely little children are more likely to get their ideas and opinions from the adults around them, their parents, grandparents, teachers etc than from a TV show about toy trains. I have often made the same argument about Barbie dolls when people demonise them for how they look. In my childhood I read Enid Blyton books, I played with fashion dolls and golliwogs and I think I grew up to be a reasonably thoughtful, empathetic adult and I never wanted to look like Barbie. However, I realise that these opinions might mean that to some I am a stupid Baby Boomer and wrong about everything I ever thought.

So, I don’t know if “woke” is a good or bad thing. I think most older folks like me are trying to adjust our ideas about many things and I don’t like being labelled.



I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.


  1. Well stated. Words seem to take on new meanings these days and so many are politicized and become divisive. I consider myself to be “woke” because I’m aware of and sensitive to the societal and political deeds that have hurt people in our country, even today. Others seem to want to ignore that, sweep it under the rug, and whitewash any references to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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