times up

#TimesUp- the new ‘it’ slogan for sexual harassment in not only Hollywood, but for the sexual harassment and mistreatment of women in the workplace and in general. Dozens of celebrities- both men and women- donned stunning black designer attire as they hit the red carpet at the Golden Globes. They voiced their opinions, saying enough is enough in Hollywood with the mistreatment and disrespect of women in the industry. It has sparked a new movement in women’s rights, and not going to lie, it’s about flippin’ time and I’m just praying, hoping, doing my best to ensure, that it is one that sticks and isn’t just a tokenistic occurrence that’s currently trending.

With the plethora of revelations coming out last year against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and co- by both men and women- there’s no wonder that Time’s Up has been formed. Some may argue why people care the second celebrities are involved? As much as this does irritate me as it can be interpreted that celebrities are more important than the average person, these people who have been affected are still human. These are people that have been idolised for years and they’re using their platform to allow others to come out and voice their truths. There’s something reassuring and comforting in being able to relate to someone who seems to have the perfect life, and then realising they have experienced similar things to you. Personally, thank God, I have not suffered anything remotely similar to what these men and women have, but I know people who have. Even if I didn’t know anyone who had been affected, as a decent human being, I’d be just as passionate.

Usually, there’s the argument that these ‘it’ issues seen in Hollywood only affect a certain number of women, or the focus is on a said group of women. The thing with this particular issue is that it’s a global one, that women around the world experience, in all sorts of occupations. I could sit here and write thousands of facts and examples of sexual harassment in the workplace, but I won’t because I’d be here for about 10 years. Let’s just say that in 2009-2010, 21% of complaints made to the Australian Human Rights Commission were for sexual harassment and 88% of these cases occurred in the workplace. It’s evident that positions of power have constantly been abused and people, in particular women, have suffered for it. On top of that, women in male-dominated workplaces are more likely to experience sexual harassment and sexism than those in female dominated or equal workplaces. Yabba-dabba-doo! Although the legal defense fund is only in the US at the moment, it’s essential that we need to do something to set up similar legal support organisations around the world.

A concern that I have with this movement is that it’s just a trend and the media and its followers will just get swept up in the hysteria and forget about it as soon as it dies down. This sort of thing just doesn’t go away as soon as celebrities see fit, it stays with the millions of women around the world. Sure, it provides closure for some. The key word being ‘some’. It will still be an issue for so many and despite having a bit of coverage at the moment, chances are that it’ll eventually die down and minimal changes will be made. And movements like these have died down in the past, leaving only the original activists and a loyal band of supporters to continue to fight for what is right. Take Kony 2012 for example- honestly, I heard it was a bit of a scam, but still, there are hundreds of thousands of children that are child soldiers. Where’s the media coverage of that? Where’s our will to help these kids have a childhood? Then there’s Make Poverty History, which is obviously so 2005. Yes, there are countless people working behind the scenes and continuing the extraordinary work to help these causes, but how many more could be helping if it was broadcasted and maintained in the media. It could be argued that I’m naive in saying this as we all know that news cycles only last a remarkably short amount of time, and yes, I do agree. However, I’m just making the point regarding trends and the media’s ability to control them. I’m hoping more than anything that this movement doesn’t fall down the same abyss that past movements have and I believe it’s our job as people and decent human beings to keep it going. Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to keep these issues circling around and ensuring that people are made aware of them.

Another concern I have is that the interpretation of the message by some could lead to further tensions between men and women and the wrong message being sent across to people. The generalisation of men in particular as being sleazy, disrespectful and just straight out don’t genuinely care for women is ridiculous. The response to when males say “but not all men” is partially warranted (as quite a few guys who do say this, do actually fit that generalisation), but it’s also partially not warranted. There are so many respectful and kind men out there who genuinely care about women’s rights that are being thrown into this generalisation and it’s disgustingly disrespectful. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with that, but honestly, if we want change, we need to respect everybody. Nothing is going to happen if we disrespect and downgrade groups of people. In fact, it’s hypocritical. We complain about the way we are being treated, yet treat others the same? Two wrongs do not make a right in this instance and if we want a change, we truly need to treat everyone as an equal.

That being said, my concerns should not override the point of #TimesUp. It’s a spectacular cause that I am so grateful is finally gaining momentum and attention. Bringing up the startling facts and demanding change is necessary in making people around the world realise the ordeals so many have to go through on a daily basis. As long as we ensure that all people are accounted for, no matter who or what they identify as or what they do, it’s a positive and essential step in the right direction.

kyra-preston-245830

 

Whether we like it or not, social media plays a pretty decent role in how people see us or even how we see ourselves. It’s become a battleground for labels- whether you’re a self-confessed such and such or whether it’s someone calling you a name after you voice your beliefs or interests. We often spend what feels like forever trying to come up with the perfect bio that sums us up as the person we want other people to try and see. Whether or not it actually is us, is another story in itself. In this day in age, so much of what we do ends up online- whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or somewhere else. Some of us just want to stay in touch with family, see what our old friends are up to or just have the accounts for the sake of having an account. Others of us just want to post photos of what we’re up to,where we are and who we hang out. I mean, I guess when you think about it there is a sense of showing off about it, especially when you’re on a holiday and everyone else is stuck doing their usual daily grind. Or, there are those photos when you’ve got a new hairstyle or you’re looking super fabulous and you wouldn’t mind a few more people commenting like “Gurrrrrl” or “*insert flame emojis here*”.

We’ve all gained solace from likes, which in the short term is satisfying but when you really think about it, it’s quite sad to see what society has become. But then again, technology and the likes of social media are the new age of communication. It’s basically an easier way for people to comment on your photos- instead of face to face when they’re holding a physical photo of you, they’re just doing it online.

Labelling and name-calling has become a bit of a thing on social media. Some people define themselves by how they’re viewed and that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Well, usually it can be annoying more so than bad. You have the people who have online brands for their blogs that take a more business aspect to it which is fair enough. I mean, that’s what I’m working towards establishing. Then you have the activists who list every possible -ist that fits them that often leaves the average, non-Twitter or Instagram user reaching for the dictionary.

I’ve found with a number of political and human rights issues in particular, the name-calling is rife. I feel like many people are often wary of what they say online, both for the fact that they don’t want potential employers seeing something they wrote and disagreeing with them and also for the fact that they don’t want to be labelled as something deemed negative and frowned up. Or, more so, they just cannot be bothered taking part in an online feud that really gets nobody anywhere. Usually these feuds are filled with names, often dissing the opposing party for their views. Both sides of politics have been at fault for this and it is really, honestly, seriously so immature.

I’ve been deemed a social justice warrior. I’ve fallen into the class of a supposed snowflake. I’ve been considered anti-feminist. I’ve been considered as a radical feminist. If it was up to some people, I’d be named as a warmongering murderer. Even if you’re not directly called any of the above, when you see other  people who have the same or similar views to you being labelled as such, you subconsciously class yourself by those labels too no matter how hard you try. The result is that you become hesitant to voice your opinions, often weighing up whether you can deal with being called a name with negative connotations.

So am I a social justice warrior? Am I a snowflake? Am I anti-feminist? Am I a radical feminist? Am I a warmongering murderer?

Well according to social media, it really depends who you ask.

Honestly, I really don’t care. Well, yeah I do in a sense. But then I also really don’t? I mean, yeah, I care enough to write this post because I’ve realised the dichotomy of name-calling that you can face when you use social media. But I don’t care enough to get riled up when I’m called a snowflake (trust me, I’m not) or if someone complains about my support for the defence force. More often than not, those people who do call me names or call others with similar views names generally just fly off the handle after a couple of words without getting the entire perspective.

Personally, I have a multifaceted view on political issues. There’s a reason I label myself as a centrist. I support elements of both the left and the right. I generally roll my eyes at the extreme left and the extreme right because you know what, that’s my right (well, supposedly). We’re all entitled to opinions. We’re all entitled to disagree with them.

But come on social media, I thought we left the name calling to the bullies in primary school. You have a brain, you have the internet that has a wide range of resources to do your research. Stay open-minded, articulate your point of view in an intelligent and understandable manner.

But please, grow up and get over the labeling and the name-calling.

 

Usually from the middle to the end of January, our newsfeeds are often clogged up with different opinions on when Australia Day should be. You have one side who think the ‘lefties’ are back at it with their social justice warrior ways, saying that the date does not need to be changed and these ‘lefties’ are just overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing. Then you have the other side (the ‘lefties’) who advocate to change the date of Australia day because it is appalling that such a day that has affected so many native Australians is celebrated like it’s one big party. The day stirs up controversy every year without fail and it’s always the same arguments from both sides. I hear it on the news, at home and online and honestly, it’s getting a tad annoying. Year after year, it’s always the same sort of rhetoric spat out and no real changes have been made. Honestly, I just have to roll my eyes and bang my head against my desk.

But now it’s April, and gone is the hysteria associated with having a couple of beers with the fam around the barbeque whilst Triple J’s top 100 countdown plays in the background. Australia Day is not even a passing thought at the this time of year for most Australians. Hence, that’s why I’ve decided to bring it up. Something I’ve found with a lot of issues is that the controversy usually only lasts a couple of news cycles, if that, and then the media tosses it out and it’s onto the next thing. Many of these ‘controversies’ are usually rights issues, which makes it even more frustrating and leaves marginalised groups on their own again.

I’m a true blue Aussie who’s proud of her European heritage. I’m second generation Australian from my mum’s side and first on my dad’s. I’m not the typical skippy whose family has been living in Australia for generations. When my relatives first came here they experienced racism, being called wogs and being discriminated against because they didn’t have the typical Anglo last name. Even then, I’m proud to come from Australia. My dad insists that I call myself an Australian every time I say I’m Croatian. I’ve even considered getting a southern cross tattoo to which a number of my friends have called me a bogan for having such a thought. I mean, I’m planning on representing this country at the Olympic Games.

I would love more than anything to have a day where we can celebrate Australia and realise how lucky we are to be living in such a wicked country. I’d love to don the green and gold (like I do the red and white checkers) and wave around an Aussie flag, watching the fireworks and singing along to I am Australian and Horses like an utter dork.

But I can’t.

I physically and mentally cannot bring myself to get caught up in the festivities of January 26th. I’m proud to be Australian, but I’m not proud that we celebrate being Australian on a day that has so heavily affected the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Mate, I reckon we should change the date. I don’t know when, but to another day that doesn’t have such negative connotations in the Indigenous community.

It’s just a date, some say. It was over 200 years ago, others say. The Indigenous people need to get over it, another group says. If it wasn’t for the British, there’d still be kangaroos hopping down Flinders Street, more say.

A) It’s not just a date.

B) And? You’re not allowed to remember the past? Oh wait, maybe that’s only when it suits you.

C) Tell that to the Jewish community and the Holocaust. Tell that to the countless of other groups who remember and will never forget the things their ancestors had to the go through.

D) It’s true that the British brought progression to Australia. It’s also true that immigration  has enabled Australia to progress to what it has become today. That, however, is not a valid excuse for not changing the date of Australia day. That still doesn’t overshadow the number of Indigenous Australians slaughtered on that day, let alone the oppressive laws that have followed. Sure, Indigenous Australians aren’t perfect- but is anybody? Everyone has issues and it’s unfair to just pinpoint a specific group and use their flaws against them.

When this argument pops up every single year in January, some people miss the point. They think the Change the Date movement is saying we shouldn’t celebrate Australia Day.

Change.

The.

Date.

The word change means to make different or to use another instead of. It doesn’t mean to not celebrate Australia at all. It means to, quite literally, use another date to celebrate Australia Day instead of January 26th. I don’t know how I could put that any simpler.

Then there’s the argument of tradition and how for decades Australia Day has been celebrated on the 26th of January. Well actually, the 26th of January has only been a public holiday since 1994. So much for decades.

One of the most common arguments regarding Change the Date is that it won’t change anything. It’s not going to solve all the issues that Indigenous Australians face. It’s not going to change the past. It’s not a big deal.

No, it won’t solve all the issues. It’s not going to change the past. Nothing can change the past. But changing the date is a step in the right direction. It’ll indicate that this country is as respectful to cultures as it’s supposed to be. It’s an ounce of relief for so many Indigenous Australians.

And besides, if it’s not such a big deal then what’s the big deal in changing it? If it’s no biggie, then why are you so adamant to keep the date? It’s just a “date” afterall. What’s it to you, the average person, if it’s on the 26th of January or May 8th? It won’t affect you at the end of the day, but it’s a small reward for Indigenous Australians.

No, this isn’t white person’s guilt. I personally, nor my ancestors, have anything to do with the First Fleet. I have nothing to do with imperialism and the like. As someone whose family has experienced the horrors of war, I wouldn’t appreciate people getting rowdy on days where so many people’s lives had changed forever.

Look mate, all I’m saying is that we should just change the date of Australia Day. Australia Day is supposed to be about coming together as a nation and unite as one, but that doesn’t happen and it’s understandable why. Yeah sure, there are always going to be unhappy people- but changing the date is a step in the right direction, even if it seems like a minor detail.