Woke Feminism is Toxic Feminism!

The definition of ‘woke feminism’ is a hard one to explain.

I watched a few videos on YouTube talking about feminism and how it is growing increasingly toxic, one of which I took a lot of points from in this post called Everything Wrong with Woke Culture so check that out and do your own research and reading. 🙂

 

In recent years, there has been a rise in female empowerment in media, whether that be in film, tv shows, books, etc. But that’s not necessarily true…

Bad-ass, empowering, strong and brave women have been in the media for ages. Not as much as we would like but they have been there. These include characters such as Katniss, Black Widow, Mulan (cartoon), The Bride, Ellen Ripley (Alien), Trinity (The Matrix). However, in recent years, there has been a rise in many woman-led main roles, such as Captain Marvel, Ocean’s 8, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, Birds of Prey, etc. Although I do like a lot of these films, there is a serious issue within most of them regarding ‘woke feminism’.

 

These characters are designed to be powerful, strong warrior like people, but can also be very arrogant and act very entitled and toxic. There isn’t much growth and learning within these characters, too, displaying that women are born skilled and strong and invincible whereas, in real life, that’s definitely not true. We are raised and we grow to be strong and talented and skilled and brave, we aren’t handed that at birth.

But, Shay, they’re just films, not real life!

With my own experiences as evidence, I have always yearned for representation of women and women of colour in the media because as a young girl, growing and vulnerable to insecurities in this society, I needed someone to look up to and use as a tool to encourage myself to be confident in who I am. I think representation of women, of all backgrounds, colours, sexualities, etc, are important, for the reason being that young girls need that! That being said, we need representation of real women. That’s the whole point of this ‘rise in female roles’; it’s to increase representation. But their representations are wrong with this perception women do not need growth and do not need to work hard to earn their skills and rewards. Growth is important! And so is learning.

 

Something I find common in bad portrayals of women is that they can be very arrogant and entitled. How are these traits going to benefit younger girls and even older women in any way? We are not entitled just because we are women. Just because we’re women and demand equality and want to break down the patriarchy does not mean that we should be fed success instantly without working for it or having any reason to earn it. Teaching girls that they are entitled to anything and everything is toxic. There’s a contrast between the old cartoon Mulan and the new live-action Mulan. Old Mulan started off as this girl, who was a little anxious and had empathy and compassion but still strong and built up her confidence and bravery throughout the film whereas this new Mulan starts off straight away as incredibly strong and skilled. Very realistic. This is the same case with Captain Marvel, who barely worked to get where she was and was emotionless and kind of boring.  Yes, they are strong and brave but they’re boring, unrelatable and unrealistic because they’re so superficial and shallow. And it has nothing to do with them being women dominating the screen because Wonder Woman does it well and was a good film with an amazing female character! In general, using the excuse ‘I am a woman’ to explain why a character is so strong or basing her whole personality and motives on the fact she is a woman, or using society as the villain is tiresome. It’s great to hear the encouragement that ‘women can do anything’ since it’s so inspiring but that doesn’t mean we can do EVERYTHING. This can create a negative effect on younger girls and other women. Sometimes this can be done well, but done badly, it just takes us ten steps back in feminism.

 

The women written nowadays aren’t written as if they’re people, they’re written as an agenda to bring down men. That is not feminism. Feminism is not taking down men to lift ourselves up. We demand equality not world domination.  In fact, it’s almost insulting to women watching, seeing that these female characters are only elevated by belittling men as if that’s the only way a female led film can do well. For example, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi is so condescending and hateful towards men and I understand that there was a need to display her as a strong woman with high power but that’s no reason to bring down a man. He just wanted to help. There is no superior gender, but these movies are making it out to force that. Hermione Granger is another example. The books describe a very dynamic, 3D version of Hermione, who is intelligent, strong but also loving and relies on her friends and is relatable whereas movie Hermione is very perfect and way better than her male peers, and although I still like movie Hermione, I can admit she was hard to connect and relate to.

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with having male villains; sometimes in real life, men are obstacles for women. But these ‘woke feminist’ female characters and movies are so obsessed with trying to take down men as a whole.

 

And when these films with poor female leads don’t do well, or people don’t like them, it’s because they’re sexist. No. If a film is bad, that film is bad. There are so many films with amazing women in that do well, so sexism is not an excuse. I have found that a lot of people find some female characters to be cringey when if a male doing the same thing wouldn’t be and that is sexism and discriminatory but if a character is cringey, arrogant, 2D, entitled, unrealistic and boring, regardless of their gender, that’s a problem with their production and writing not with sexism.

Take Mulan, for example. Why did the cartoon version do so much better than the live action one? Same concept of the character but different execution.

Of course, if an important part of the character for the sake of the story is arrogance and entitlement, etc, then fine, but we want confidence not arrogance and hard work and growth not entitlement. We need dynamic and different characters, not the same superficial archetype every bad-ass female movie has. WE WANT QUALITY NOT JUST “FEMINISM”!

 

I am grateful we have moved far from the ‘damsel in distress’ type ladies like old Disney princesses and the ‘fixer upper’ girls like Laney in She’s All That and Allison in The Breakfast Club but we might be going a bit far off course. Feminism is steering into a bad direction and it’s feeding into the stigma around it. I know SO MANY people, who do not consider themselves feminists or who judge me for claiming to be one, and I believe it’s because of this woke feminism. Woke feminism is related to elite feminism, where people believe that women are superior. In particular cis-gendered women too. NO! NO ONE IS SUPERIOR!

The feminist message these toxic portrayals are delivering aren’t going to be listened to. It is spreading the wrong message and creating more toxicity and stigma.

We need better female portrayals!

 

Do you agree?

-Shay

Can Positivity Be Toxic?

Can positivity get toxic, really?

YES!

 

Positivity is great and all but toxic positivity ignores the fact that a person is suffering. It is saying “be positive, be grateful, other people have it worse” when someone is in pain. It says to pretend to be okay when someone clearly isn’t. It masks the problem.

You’ll get over it!

Look on the bright side!

It could be worse!

Everything happens for a reason!

Just keep smiling!

Stop being so negative!

These are some examples, out of many, of toxic positivity. And I’m sure you have used one of these phrases, or something like it, before. I for sure have. Saying it to yourself might help to cheer you up but saying it to another person can be harmful. It can even be harmful to you if you’re burying your problem. An analogy I used to explain this was like taking painkillers for a malignant tumour that’s causing pain without actually dealing with the tumour; it’s only going to get worse.

 

I have been at fault of toxic positivity multiple times, like many people, maybe even on this blog, because as a society, we don’t address mental health well. We weren’t really taught how to encounter mental health issues in a proper way and we’re told be happy, be positive constantly. But it needs to stop.

 

I either read about this or heard it in a podcast, but I came to understand negative emotions aren’t bad. Anger isn’t bad. Envy isn’t bad. Sadness isn’t bad. We divide emotions up into good and bad; happiness is good, sadness is bad; we’re taught to suppress and avoid the bad ones. But we have the ability to experience these emotions for a reason! They’re not there for no reason! Toxic positivity sees these emotions as bad. In fact, personally, I believe no emotion is bad at all. We need to embrace them and channel them in a healthy way. A clinical psychologist, Dr Jaime Zuckerman, says, “Avoidance or suppression of emotional discomfort leads to increased anxiety, depression, and overall worsening of mental health.”

 

So how do we be non-toxic positive?

  1. Address your raw, real emotions. Don’t bury it. Don’t try and find a way to be happy without actually dealing with your anger or frustration or stress or sadness. If you’re feeling stressed about a workload, make a schedule and divide your work up into smaller pieces making it seem less stressful or daunting, for example. Or if you’re feeling sad or angry from a conflict with someone, talk to that person face to face or through text or a letter, etc, whatever you feel comfortable with. Brainstorm a solution to the problem you’re having – the solution could be simple or complex, getting someone to help you might be useful too.
  2. Find a way to cope with it inside of faking a smile and saying “be positive”! This could be through:
    -Listening to music
    -Channelling through art (painting, writing, playing an instrument, etc)
    -Meditating, yoga and breathing exercises (the one to the right has helped me before)
    -Vent in a journal
    -Dance it out! Or even just do a workout
    -Go outside on a walk or somewhere nice and calm
    -Watch a film in which you can relate to so you don’t feel alone or find comfort
    -Talk to someone about how you’re feeling
  3. Don’t shame other people’s negative emotions. Everybody experiences emotions like anger, stress, sadness, frustration, etc; it’s a very normal thing. We shouldn’t look down on people experiencing these emotions and judging them or shaming them will only make it worse for them! Instead, change your perspective on emotions and understand that it’s a normal human reaction and behaviour, helping us to tackle our everyday lives and problems.
  4. Step away from social media. Social media is a breeding ground for toxic positivity where it’s spread by people, who aren’t really aware that it is toxic. Taking a break from it could be beneficial to you and make you feel a bit free and more in control of your emotions instead of being fed quotes and posts that won’t help you.
  5. Spread awareness about toxic-positivity! Point out toxic positivity to people and correct them for it. I’ve put a table of correct things to say in place of toxic positivity below to make it clearer what is right and wrong. Non-toxic positivity accepts a person’s emotions and suffering instead of just trying to move past it and ignoring it.

Alternate phrases to avoid toxic positivity #CoolGuide | Mental and emotional health, Emotional health, Positivity

I hope this helped to make you familiar with what toxic positivity is and why it is bad.

 

-Shay

Death Celebrations!

Death is a strange topic because it sounds scary but it’s inevitable and universal. The thing every single one of us have in common is death (and the fact we’re alive, duh!). But we’re all going to experience death one day, unless somehow science manages to make us immortal. But is immortality even a blessing?

 

Death is something people fear, leading to existential crises and worrying about every move but really, death is kind of a blessing. Without death, what would we even be doing? Life wouldn’t be exciting and adventurous. We wouldn’t have bucket lists, which encourage us to live our lives to the fullest.

 

Because of this fear we have of death, it has become this taboo topic, we avoid speaking about. But we have to speak about it more. Especially with children. Most people seriously underestimate children and how much information and big topics they can process but it’s the prime time to bring them to familiarisation with these big topics whether that be mental health, climate change, racism and sexism and of course, death. They can handle a lot more than you think.

Discussing death with children can make it seem less scary, supporting them. It can be a scary and confusing thing and it enables children to ask questions. Kids are curious by nature and allowing them to better understand topics like this means they can explore it and question it in their own way instead of being confronted with it head on when someone dies later on in their life.

When I was younger, I went to a lot of funerals; being in a big family, there were a lot of deaths. At first, I didn’t really understand death, seeing people cry and the dismal vibe in the air was a bit overwhelming. I wasn’t close to any of the people that died but it’s still quite a bit to process for a child. The first death, close to me, was my cat, and still is my cat. That was one of the worst feelings in my life; it was confusing, shocking, overwhelming, heartbreaking, devastating and left me bewildered, lost and confused. I didn’t know how to express my feelings and I wasn’t encouraged to talk about it and felt ashamed to cry and show any extreme emotions so it all bottled up. I was never spoken to about it. It took me god knows how long to get over it. I can only wish, now, that my parents had talked to me about it and in the future, I will make sure to talk to my own kids about it (death, not my cat).

Talking about death will give you peace of mind.

 

As I said, the funerals I went to were very dismal, icy and melancholic. However, death is celebrated very differently by many cultures, different to the Christian and Catholic-like rituals most Western society and cultures have. Here are some of the different celebrations:

 

Mexico

Everyone has heard day of the dead, also known as Día de Los Muertos, which is celebratedCelebrating Dia de los Muertos at Dominican | November 1st and 2nd. Families are reminded of their dead loved ones, keeping their memories alive and visiting their graves to clean and deliver gifts like flowers. The festival is celebrated in a blast of colour and parades, singing and dancing. It’s truly beautiful and an amazing way to celebrate the dead.

 

Brazil

A few other places in Latin America celebrate Día de Los Muertos but in a calmer way, such as in Brazil, families come together and bring gifts to cemeteries. They also attend mass and eat Churrasco together, which is Brazilian barbeque.

 

Sweden

In Sweden, when someone dies, the body is kept somewhere special for one to three weeks before being buried or cremated. Swedish flowers are laid on the coffin and songs are sung.

 

Poland

The Polish open doors and windows of the house of the person who died so the soul can pass to the spiritual world from their house. Mirrors are also covered and clocks are stopped.

 

Ireland 

Like in Poland, the Irish open windows for two hours so the soul of the deceased can pass out to leave. Blocking the open windows is believed to bring bad luck. After two hours, the windows are shut to prevent the soul from coming back.

 

Muslim Rituals

One of my manager’s cousins died recently, in which he had to travel for the Muslim rituals of death, which is when I first came to learn about it. The Islamic law (sharia) appeals for the rituals Funeral-Islam - Islam rites of passageand burial to happen as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours. The funeral happens at a mosque after washing the body and covering it whilst the body’s hands are placed in prayer. The body as well as the funeral attendees face mecca while being led by the holy leader (Imam) in prayer. The coffin is buried facing mecca followed by prayer (salah). The burial is usually only attended by men and three handfuls of dirt are thrown in by each person. The next several days are followed by other death rituals such as on the seventh day, people visit the grave and bring food to the poor. On the fortieth day, mourners start to wear regular clothes instead of black. In comparison to other mourning rituals and death celebrations, it lasts a lot longer.

 

China

Like Día de Los Muertos, the Chinese have Qingming. It’s Tomb Sweeping Day and the graves of their loved ones are taken care of by cleaning it, cutting weeds, etc. Gifts and offerings are alsoHolidays: Tomb-Sweeping Day also known as Qing Ming takes place in early April, people sweep tombs, and give food a… | Festivals in china, Chinese festival, Holiday brought such as paper, symbolising money. Kites with lanterns are also flown to represent good fortune. This is their way of paying respect to the dead.

 

South Korea

Koreans have Chuseok, a festival in which families wake up early and prepare their tables with food (food is an important part of this celebration as they believe their ancestors harvest the crops of fruits and grains during this time). They bow twice at the table and proceed to eat. They also visit their ancestors’ tombs. People view this celebration as the South Korean Thanksgiving.

 

Japan

The Japanese celebrate the Obon festival, celebrated for three days (13th to 15th of the 7th month on the lunar calendar). Lanterns are placed around the city, rivers and lakes to guide their ancestors, they believe have returned during this period, back to their origins. The graves of families’ loved ones are also visited to be cleaned and to pray at.

Pin by Morikami Museum on Spy Vibe Novel | Japan, World photography, Japanese festival

Egypt

In ancient Egypt, when someone died, there was a lot of worshipping towards the different gods they believed in. They would parade around town with mud on their faces. Organs would be removed and kept in jars from the body, except for the heart. The priest would wash the body and put oil as well as water from the Nile river on it before mummification. The body was then mummified, proceeded by people following the priest while he prayed over the body. I couldn’t find a lot of information on current Egyptian traditions when it comes to death, it was mainly about ancient Egyptian rituals so if anyone knows a bit about current traditions, I would love to know.

 

Hawaii

There is a thousand year old sacred tradition called the Clean Burial where after the body is partially cremated, the bones are salvaged and buried. The bones are placed in a a Hawaiian-made cloth in a burial container. However, I think this tradition has stopped because of health concerns. Nowadays, the funerals are a combination of ancient tradition and modern traditions of the West. In the eulogy, funny stories are shared and laughter is encouraged to show affection.

 

Nigeria

Nigerian funerals contain a lot of singing, dancing, music. In fact, they believe the more of this, the better chance of a successful afterlife the deceased person has. There is prayer, poetry and eulogies. Sometimes there are animal sacrifices such as goats to eat. Burial preparations can last a long time but this depends on the religious beliefs of the family. As I said before, Muslims bury the body facing Mecca but sometimes Nigerians bury depending on gender: men are buried facing east to see the sunrise and women are buried facing the west to see the sunset and so she can prepare dinner for her husband in the afterlife. The body is covered in black earth (red earth is believed to cause blemishes in the afterlife). Special and significant items may be buried with the individual to help them in the afterlife.

 

Ghana

Ghanaians announce the death of a loved one with a letter or email. The main celebration occurs Saturday morning after the burial. There are many different tribes in Ghana who haveWelcome to Ghana, where the funerals are gigantic parties – The Denver Post different death rituals and religious beliefs from the Ashanti tribe to the Mole-Dagbon. In the Ashanti tribe, the family will prepare the body. The festivities include respecting the body as it goes to the ancestral world (Okra). Hundreds of people may attend the festivities; it isn’t just intimate. The Ashanti chief sits under colourful umbrellas, observing. The family members wear red or black. It is common for Ghanaians to sing gospel hymns and other religious songs. Fantasy caskets are commonly used too where casket makers will shape it to look like something the deceased loved such as a plane or bird or sea-creature, etc. A week after the loved one has died, the family will gather to remember them and their life.

 

South Africa

The window of the house that death occurred in may be covered in ash and all beds are removed. Sometimes there is an animal sacrifice to please ancestors. After the funeral and burial, attendees wash off any dirt before entering their houses to get rid of bad luck. Sometimes there is a wake known as the After Tears party entailing drinking and joking, comforting relatives and remembering the deceased.

 

Tibet

Another death ritual I found extremely interesting was the Tibetan Sky Burial. It is a funeral tradition where the corpse of the deceased is put on a mountaintop near a hoard of vultures where they eat at the dead and take it up into the sky. This is a way of giving back to the elements.

Sky Burial Custom in Tibet

Every family is different, no matter what country you are from so rituals differ from family to family but these are some of the traditions that these countries hold. Some bits of information may not be accurate; I’m not an expert on the different traditions in each culture, this is what I have learnt from research. Please do correct me, if there are any mistakes.

Death isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or a curse. Of course, it is a sad, devastating thing but there’s no point stressing or dreading it as it will happen to all of us and we can’t change that. Instead, we should embrace our lives and celebrate the lives and accomplishments of our loved ones, too. Discuss and talk about it and normalise it, not just within our society but within yourself.

 

I would love to know your opinion on death and any cultural rituals you know of.

 

-Shay

When Harry Met Oprah | The Interview

As you know, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from the royal family, which depicted Meghan as this villainous figure trying to break up the royal family. People have disliked Meghan since before she got married to Harry, I’m not sure whether the reason is race, her history and fact she’s an actor or just her overall but one thing I do know is I have heard nonstop gossip and rumours about her and how ‘bad’ she is when really no one has ever heard what she has to say.

Oprah recently did an interview with Meghan and Harry and this is where Meghan finally got to say her piece.

 

Meghan Markle Said Kate Middleton Made Her Cry During Wedding Planning

In the interview, the rumour that Meghan made Kate cry before the wedding, which circulated like crazy, was brought up. Meghan cleared this up, explaining that actually this was not the case at all and the reverse actually happened where Kate had made Meghan cry. Kate had apologised and Meghan forgave her, over a small mishap. A mishap that any pair of people could have; it wasn’t deep or enormous. However, six/seven months after the incident, the rumour was spread and in my opinion, I think this to be the classic case of the media pinning women against each other. Especially women who have such an influence and are held high in society (they’re the royal family!!!). Another thing which was odd was the fact no one, even though there were masses of people who knew the truth, cleared the rumours. Since Harry and Meghan’s wedding, Kate and Meghan have been compared between each other non-stop, almost putting them at competition.

Example of Kate and Meghan being pinned against

 

One striking question to me during the interview was “Were you silent or silenced?”

Since the beginning of Meghan and Harry’s relationship, Meghan was controlled and told to keep quiet including her family and friends.

 

Another rumour circulated by the media was that Meghan and Harry didn’t want their child, Archie, to hold title as prince, when in actual fact it was taken away from him as well as security, going against convention. The tradition was kept that each grandchild had the title as well as security but not Archie.

Meghan went on to explain how there had been conversations, before Archie was born, about what the colour of his skin will be, how dark he will be and what that means for the family. That is straight up disgusting! There is not only racism directed at Meghan, being spoken about without her presence, but also an UNBORN baby, innocent and helpless. A baby!

What if he were too brown? Would he be treated better if he were whiter?

The fact that he’s the first baby of a coloured parent and first baby to be excused from tradition is not a coincidence.

 

Meghan has received so much extreme sexism and racism, articles stating her race and brownness will ‘taint’ the royal family, that she’s a ‘monkey-faced (blank) whore’. With what seems like steps forward having a woman of colour and now a baby of colour in the royal family, we take a million steps back with comments like these and the way they are being treated.

Examples of the racist tabloids

Because of all these horrific rumours, sexism, racism, death threats, Meghan suffered so much with her mental health, struggling with suicidal thoughts, as any person would in this position. And she was completely disregarded, getting no help. Meghan highlights the fact that you never know what someone’s truly going through behind closed doors.

Harry came on and mentioned that the racial discrimination and attacks wasn’t just an attack on Meghan but also on the people she represents, mixed race, black, and even ethnic people as a whole. The royal family, as an institution, didn’t defend or speak up about the racial discrimination, which is shameful, especially as they are placed at such a high status in the world and are a symbol for the UK, which holds ethnic diversity. Their silence speaks so much for those, who are not white, and see where they stand on racism.

 

Both Harry and Meghan stepped back from the royal family due to lack of support and understanding.

They have created Archewell, a non-profit foundation to “uplift and unite communities – local and global, online and offline – one act of compassion at a time”.

 

Something a little more light-hearted, but Meghan’s dress features lotus flowers, symbolising rebirth and revival, a resilient reflection on the lotus seed, which can survive for thousands of years without water. A strong flower, if you will. This completely represents Meghan as a person, a strong flower. She has gone through so much and has survived it all and will continue to stand strong.

I hope the interview clears things up and exposes the toxicity that tabloids can have and have had, particularly on this case.

 

-Shay

🖤 Black Lives Matter! 🖤

black life matters headers | Tumblr

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. Somewhat forgot it existed. But so much has happened this year and it’s only June. We had World War Three Scares, the fires in Australia, the pandemic and so much more. But I’ve come to revive this blog to speak up on the #blacklivesmatter movement and the murder of George Floyd as well as many other black people, who did not deserve to get their lives snatched away from them.

Educating yourself is important in bettering society and opening our eyes to the reality and cruelty that is racism and discrimination. You can skip this post and disregard it but you should be playing your part in educating yourself.

 

#blacklivesmatter

trayvon martin

On February 26th 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American student was shot to death, unarmed. Martin was visiting relatives at the Twin Lake housing community in Sanford where George Zimmerman, a community watch member, reported to the non-emergency police number that “there’s a real suspicious guy” and that he “looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something”. The police suspected Zimmerman was following Martin in which they told him “we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman replied by saying “okay.”

After the call with Zimmerman and the police, there was a violent dispute between Martin and Zimmerman, even after agreeing not to follow him and that was when Trayvon Martin was shot by the back door of the house he was staying at.

At first Zimmerman was not charged but eventually, he was charged and tried but in July 2013, he was acquitted by the jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

 

A petition to prosecute Zimmerman was created on Change.org in 2012, resulting in 2.2 million signatures, the biggest petition in the site’s history. There were marches and rallies, one of the biggest being the “Million Hoodie March” where protesters wore hoodies to symbolise how Martin too wore a hoodie that night and they protested against racial profiling used against non-white youths who wear hoodies. Social media blew up with opinions on the acquittal of Zimmerman.

In 2013, Obama gave his speech about the trial and race in the US, adding “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” There were peaceful rallies that followed this across many cities.

 

Black Lives Matter - Wikipedia

Pin on Stickers

The 2013 acquittal of Zimmerman on the charge of murdering Martin, inspired a Facebook posting that included #blacklivesmatter, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement created by Black organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

That’s how the movement began.

 

George Floyd

Jay Park, Tablo, others speak out against murder of George Floyd + ...And now, as you all know George Floyd was murdered, also unarmed. And many more black people before him. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tamir Rice. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Samuel Dubose. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Terrence Crutcher. The list goes on.

George Floyd was murdered by white policeman Derek Chauvin with the help of three other officers, who kneeled on his neck preventing him from breathing. Much like Eric Garner, he repeated “I can’t breathe” multiple times before he died. His cause of death was asphyxiation AND RACISM!

He was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20. Compare this to Dylann Roof, a white mass murderer, who executed the Charleston church shooting. Unlike George Floyd, only suspected of forgery, Dylann Roof was arrested peacefully for his murders. He was not killed.

Floyd’s death was a result of inhuman police brutality. And that police brutality stems from the already existing racist system. It did not become like that, it was built like that. Built on black slavery.

 

But George Floyd will not die in vain.

 

White Privilege 

A lot of people over the past weeks have been unclear on what white privilege is. It’s the advantages that come from simply being white. It means that as a white person, you do not need to fear that your skin colour may jeopardise your survival. It means you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable conversations in your day to day life. It means you don’t have to feel alienated, ostracised, judged, isolated, ridiculed in many situations just because of your skin colour.

You can be poor, disabled, gay, struggling and still have white privilege. We’re not saying that your life isn’t hard but your skin colour is not one of the things making your life hard.

It exists due to historic and enduring racism. As Little Marvin stated, “your white skin privilege is not a benign and celestial gift bestowed upon you. It is a benefit accrued over generations of erasure, and genocide, and enslavement, and torture, and capture, and segregation, and redlining, and predatory lending, and prison pipelining, and exclusion, and dismissal, and contentment, and convenience, and complacency, and neglect, and apathy, and silence. It didn’t materialise. It calcified. It wasn’t earned. It was stolen.”

 

White privilege allows more opportunity. I watched this video a while ago but it still stands and portrays white privilege quite well.

 

Yes, all lives do matter but not all lives are in danger. Black lives matter is shining light and attention onto the fact that society does not think that black lives matter. Blue lives, on the other hand, do not exist as being a police officer is a choice not an unchangeable identity; a job that requires you to protect others but that is not what is being demonstrated.

 

You may not have even realised you have it but it’s important to acknowledge it and use your privilege to help those who do not have it. There’s no shame in deciding to educate yourself and changing your opinions and actions because of it.

You need to play your part as a non-black member of society. Having to constantly educate and spread awareness can be emotionally and physically exhausting for black people so don’t let it rest on their shoulders only. It’s not just their responsibility to educate.

Use your privilege to fight black oppression.

“One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.” – Ibram X. Kendi

 

What to do

It’s easy to say black lives matter and to say you stand as an ally. It’s easy to simply post a black screen for #blackouttuesday but what else are you going to do? It is not enough to just not be racist, you should step up and be actively antiracist. You should not stay silent. 

 

»Donate:

Donate if and where you can. I’ve listed below places that you can donate to. However, if you can’t donate, Zoe Amira has posted an hour long YouTube video of art and music from black creators that will create a lot of ad revenue that will be split between different black lives matter organisations. All you need to do is stream it. Click here. Do not donate to change.org as donations only go to them, not the causes.

Organisations to donate to:

 

»Petitions

we live in a world where trained cops can panic; act on impulse but untrained civilians must remain calm with a gun in their face

If legally able to, try and sign these petitions below.

 

There are many more organizations and people to donate to and other petitions to sign HERE. Ones including those related to other black people who were murdered.

Signing petitions does make a difference. The three officers are now charged and the degree of murder was raised to second degree.

The George Floyd petition is now the biggest on change.org with over 13 million signatures.

 

»Learn and Listen

Go that extra mile in being an ally and educate yourself and others through films, books and podcasts, articles, etc.

TV Shows and Films:

  • When They See Us
  • The Hate You Give
  • 13th
  • Dear White People
  • Selma
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  • Black Power Mixtape

Books:

  • Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race
  • This Book Is Anti-Racist
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria
  • White Fragility
  • Me and White Supremacy
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  • So You Want To Talk About Race

There are many more things you can check out HERE including other books, films and podcasts, articles, websites, etc. Please have a look.

 

»Social Media And Protests

how to protest safely

Use your social media platform to spread awareness and information for others to learn from. Even if it’s just ten people viewing, that’s still ten people you’re influencing. Spread awareness amongst family and friends by bringing up these conversations.

Protest if you can. Make sure you bring water, food, hide anything identificable on your body, wear masks, know your rights. I understand going to marches and rallies may not be accessible or an option for you but you can protest in other ways for example, calling out the behaviour of racists, support marginalised businesses and refuse to support companies who are not fair or who are not antiracist.

 

This is not just a trend – black lives always matter.

“It may take a while to comprehend your role in racist systems, but keep in mind that people are dying while they wait for you.” – Jen Winston

 

-Shay

Outrage Culture!

Today, I want to talk about something that’s important but everybody disregards. And that is, the fact that schools force children to learn different languages, different from their own, which in my opinion, is a clear form of cultural appropriation. Conditioning these young people, the future generation, to normalise and glamourize speaking a language that belongs to another country and culture is wrong!

OUTRAGE CULTURE!

 

What is Outrage Culture?

Outrage culture, also known as outrage porn (don’t ask), according to the great and brutally honest Urban Dictionary is:

“When people play the victim card and bend over backwards to be as offended as possible when they really aren’t. Using hissy fits, political correctness, character assassination, and a false sense of moral authority, the outrager hopes to gain power and public recognition for their brave act of justice as well as a sense of control over their meaningless existence. Often accompanied by demands for financial compensation for their “pain and suffering.”

 

With the positive that is the progression of society and social justice, a negative must follow. I think that negative is outrage culture… and arrogant, brave conservatives.

I’ve seen a lot of people use topics like feminism to the extreme in a way that is just ridiculous, for example, getting outraged at the fact a girl on a TV show wore the colour pink. What’s wrong with the colour pink, you ask? Well, it’s obviously stereotypical of women to wear pink and by wearing pink, that character is conforming to the stereotypes and enforcing other women to follow it, DUH. It makes serious topics like feminism seem stupid and something a group of overly sensitive people are a part of, when it isn’t.

 

One in particular case I want to talk about is the ex Cbeebies presenter, Cerrie Burnell. She was born with part of her arm missing. Parents complained about her due to the reasons that  it could “possible cause sleep problems” and “scar toddlers”. They also complained because it forced parents to raise a discussion about disabilities with children before they were ready, apparently. Let me repeat: parents complained. They went out of their way to complain and discriminate a woman, who has a disability, which she can’t change. Because. They. Were. Outraged!!!

I don’t understand why people go out of their way to outrage against harmless things. A disabled presenter on a kids show exposes children to the real world because there are other people in the world with disabilities. And other children, with missing parts of their arms, might feel represented and more comfortable and normal.

 

With all this outrage culture, content creators and social media influencers need to be extremely careful about what they say and put out online, in fear or offending and upsetting. I’ve heard people say that it’s the liberals getting too offended but it’s actually illiberal liberalism. It’s hate and negativity. Okay, it is important to educate and voice your own opinions but there’s no need to get overly offended and patronise and belittle people.

 

However, I was having a conversation with a boy, who is pretty homophobic (that context is important). We were talking in a group about outrage culture. At the end of the conversation, the boy said that there are so many people trying to promote more diversity and representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media and that it’s silly how people are so passionate about it since in real life, there aren’t that many people in the LGBTQ+ community anyway. I was a bit shook.

You best believe I put him in his place. This “outrage culture” is valid because it will allow society to move forward, positively, and it’s true that more representation of the LGBTQ+ community is needed. It’s important to note that this boy is slightly homophobic, of which he has admitted himself, and hence, would surround himself with similar people or at least, surround himself with no one involved in the LGBTQ+ community, so is probably why he thinks there’s not a lot of non-straight people.

 

Outrage culture can be, at times, quite debatable, for example, the whole fiasco with Moana and how Dapper Laughs, a comedian, whose UKtour was cancelled due to the rape jokes he made.

I personally think we all just need to chill. It’s important to raise awareness, promote positivity and diversity and point out when people are wrong and educate them but at the same time, everyone should be chill while doing it. I guess there are certain valid exceptions but at this point, it’s almost as if we’re not even allowed to talk anymore without offending anyone.

What’s your opinion of this dark side of social justice?

 

-Shay

Tears Are Okay.

Crying is seen as a weakness.

 

I find a lot of people prefer hiding their emotions and tears, which is also fine, but reinforcing to others that it’s a sign of weakness. I also find that amongst boys, it’s seen as weak, ‘gay’ and ‘girly’.

 

Today I’m going to tell you why it’s not.

 

It’s going to get a little science-y but I hope it’s not too confusing! When you’re stressed and depressed, your hypothalamus, in your brain, basically instructs the pituitary gland (the ‘master gland’ that controls secretion of hormones) to order the adrenal cortex to release cortisol. Cortisol is, basically, released to combat and deal with stress.

However, excess cortisol or high levels of cortisol can be really damaging, for example, it can cause:

  • High blood pressure (could lead to strokes)
  • Insulin resistance (can cause type 2 diabetes)
  • Carbohydrate cravings (provoking you to binge eat)
  • Fat deposits on face, neck and belly
  • Suppressed immunity (weakened immune system)
  • Loss of muscle mass (so actual physical weakness)
  • Loss of calcium from bones (again, physical weakness)
  • Loss of cognitive function (e.g. reduced memory, problem solving, etc)

 

Crying, however, releases excess cortisol in your tears.

The behaviour we do and the bodily functions we contain are there for a reason, no matter what you believe.

If you believe in Darwin’s theory, then you know that everything that aids us in survival will carry on in future generations and our genes that help us succeed in survival and reproduction will get passed on. Crying is something that has been passed on to EVERYONE so it’s not there for no reason. Why do you think we feel like crying when we’re sad? It doesn’t happen for no reason!
If you believe in God, then surely God would have put the behaviour of crying in you for a reason.

I could go on.

 

Emotional crying is there for a reason. You don’t need to suppress it.

At the same time, do not wallow in your tears forever because too much of something, as you probably already know, is bad. Even vegetables.

 

And if you don’t trust me, trust Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. He stated that stress “tightens muscles and heightens tension, so when you cry, you release some of that” and crying “activates the parasympathetic nervous system“, which is involved in resting your body and digestion, “and restores your body to a state of balance.

 

So if you think crying is weak, remember that not crying can actually weaken you.

It’s okay to cry. 

 

-Shay

The Island of Misfit Geniuses!

I remember when I did Media Studies at GCSEs, we had to research about game shows and how they became so popular in the UK. We studied Mastermind, a BBC television quiz, and we studied Fred Housego, who was a taxi driver. He won the game show in 1980, which brought a wave of shock to everyone, because he was just a taxi driver. This impacted people’s mind-sets on what it meant to be somebody clever and the future of game shows. People, from all walks of life, obtained more confidence and hope, after Fred Housego won Mastermind, as it proved that you didn’t have to have a degree to be intelligent.

“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.”

-Albert Einstein

 

There are different types of ‘Genius’, which is something, I’ve found, a lot of people can’t come to accept or understand.

 

Having taken primarily science-y subjects for A levels, I’ve worked with, socialised and made friends with a lot of other science based students, since we are centred around the same areas of my school, we learn similar stuff and we all have similar goals, like working in medicine or labs or with telescopes, etc. And although all of that has taught me a lot and made me even more excited about learning new things in science, there have also been a lot of little discoveries I’ve made. A lot of these science-orientated people can be quite arrogant. I’m not saying all of these people I’ve met are but there have been a good share that are.  They’re so pinned on their own ideas, for example, the big bang theory is the only way that the universe began. And that’s okay to believe that. I believe that. BUT, a lot of those people do not accept the fact that others think differently. They’ll believe that science is the only way, nothing else is true. I guess you can dismiss that point, considering some people are just strong about what they believe is true. Sure. However, I’ve also found that these science-y students think they’re entitled. Of course, if you’ve put in the hard work, you’ve studied, you’ve done your research, you’ve done every titration experiment and every calculation with great accuracy and care, you can have bragging rights and you can show off because you do deserve it. And obviously, you’ll know more about a subject you’re specialised in than someone who isn’t specialised in that topic. But that doesn’t mean you’re better than everyone else, just because you know the position of equilibrium or how to work out standard deviation.

I’m just basing this idea of people feeling entitled on science-based students, because that’s who I’m most surrounded by but I know this applies to other people as well like musical geniuses, etc.

 

I think the education system and the way society works, in general, is to blame for this, but I’ve noticed a lot of people comparing their intelligence by asking “okay, so then what grade did you get in maths?” to see who’s smarter. Grades are another thing that do not define intelligence. Academic intelligence is measure with grades. Being academically intelligent or not does not define whether you’re a genius or not. There’s actually a 0.2 correlation between IQ (intelligence best measure) and grades.

 

With all this rambling and venting, I’m trying to explain that not everyone needs to be a scientist or a straight A student or watch plays all the time to be somebody intelligent. I feel like nowadays, there’s a stigma around people, who choose to lead a more ‘chill’ creative path or work in other jobs like retail and services, assuming they’re not as clever, as their intelligence is not defined in society. It’s almost as if all these other smart people, from all walks of life, other than people involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) related careers and choices, are chucked onto this island of misfit geniuses because their ‘genius’ doesn’t fit in with what people think being a genius is. And that’s a shame because I’ve met a lot of people that are incredibly intelligent but don’t think so because they work in clothes stores and didn’t get good grades in school and society claims that means you’re stupid, which I think is a stupid claim.

 

I want anyone reading this to understand that you do not need to be a Darwin or Newton to be a genius. Referring back to Einstein’s quote, you just have to find and work at the thing you enjoy. Not everyone can be good at everything and not everyone is good at the same thing. If that was true, society and the world just wouldn’t work. Despite the people that hate differences, we do need difference. 

You can be and do whatever you want to be and still be a smart individual so long as you work hard and maintain a positive attitude that you’ll succeed.

 

-Shay

When Harry Met Meghan | The Royal Wedding

Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (9684230fi)

How did you spend this special day? Watching the royal wedding? Complaining about the royal wedding? Complaining that it isn’t a state-occasion?

Me?
I had to go to work.

 

No, I actually did watch until about 12:45, before I had to head off, meaning I did watch the majority of the ceremony.

There were so many people, from all sorts of backgrounds, with A-List celebrities and well known figures (Oprah, the Clooney’s, Elton John, the Beckham’s, James Corden, Serena Williams, etc) and some of the cast from the beloved Suits, members of the royal family (obviously), and ambassadors of charities and there was even Amelia Thompson, who survived the Manchester Arena Bombing. There were so many people. And the chapel was beautiful, as well as the ceremony.

 

But today, I don’t want to talk too much about the actual wedding and the details about how things will work out now and all that shenanigans. Today, I want to spotlight on Mrs Markle, who is now the Duchess of Sussex.

 

Aspects that make Meghan Unconventional

This royal wedding is historic for the reason being that it is a rare occurrence. Meghan Markle is a beautiful woman, rich in personality, but is also an unconventional bride to a member of the royal family. Firstly, she’s considered a ‘commoner’, even though she’s a famous actress. She is a ‘normal’ woman. She went from being a Hollywood actress to British royalty. It’s pretty much a real life fairy tale!

 

Markle has gone through a previous divorce, which to me, isn’t a big deal, but in terms of royalty, being divorced is judged and regarded as a deal breaker. In 1955, Princess Margaret had to make the decision of choosing the divorced man, she loved, and her royal title and the privileges she had, concluding in her siding with her royal title and privileges.

 

Meghan Markle is also not a citizen of the UK. She’ll obviously apply for one and move to the UK but that’s just another reason it’s unconventional. It’s also uncertain whether she’ll maintain her American citizenship.

 

She’s part black. Although race shouldn’t matter, especially since mixed race people are the fasted growing ethnic group in the Britain, it still plays a role in why this wedding has been described as a “cultural revolution”. The fact that she is half black isn’t the full reason, however, for this “cultural revolution”. I don’t think colour matters, it’s about what that person brings in terms of their personality, background and beliefs. However, because of her being biracial, she’s helped to empower other coloured women and help others to realise that colour should not define and divide people. That’s why her being part black is important.

She said on Elle, “To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman. That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.'” The whole article is absolutely empowering and moving so if you want, click here to read more.

 

She’s involved in female empowerment. She’s been a strong advocator for women (since even before she was a teenager, where she became an ‘accidental activist’) and I expect she’ll continue to be so. At the Royal Foundation Forum, Meghan said “I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s’ empowerment,” Markle started. “You’ll often hear people say well, you’re helping women find their voices. And I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they have a voice. They need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing so many campaigns—I mean, #MeToo and TimesUp—there’s no better time than [now] to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them…It [the spotlight] makes such a tremendous difference.” She’s a proud woman and feminist and has explained that “we need a global understanding that we cannot implement change effectively without women’s political participation…a wife is equal to her husband, a sister to her brother. Not better, not worse — they are equal.”

In short, Meghan Markle is an inspirational, empowering and beautiful role model for not just young women but older women and men.

The Queen approved of Harry proposing to Meghan, which shows that she sees something good in the marriage between her grandson and his now wife. I mean, the Queen denied her own sister’s marriage request in 1952.

 

Aspects that made the Wedding Untraditional 

Meghan made a bold move of walking down half of the aisle by herself, before being accompanied by her father in law, Prince Charles. This was a break, through the tradition of being walked down by the bride’s father, which Meghan couldn’t do anyway, due to unfortunate circumstances. She will also break the tradition by making a speech at the reception, alongside Prince Harry.

 

Moreover, from Chicago, Bishop Michael Curry, who’s a black Episcopal priest, presided over the royal wedding, which wasn’t following tradition, where typically, British priests are invited to chair over royal occasions. After Bishop Michael Curry gave a passionate and powerful sermon on the power of love, there was a gospel choir singing Stand By Me.

 

The service was truly a modern and diverse wedding, which is reflective of the modern and diverse couple.

 

I know this may seem like a stretch and over-analytical (well what else am I supposed to use my English GCSE for) but this rare, unexpected and unconventional event of Meghan and Harry tying the knot, is almost like a metaphor for social change and society developing, progressing and moving forward in the right path.

A̶l̶s̶o̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶s̶u̶n̶n̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶d̶a̶y̶.̶.̶.p̶r̶o̶o̶f̶ t̶h̶e̶ ̶G̶o̶v̶e̶r̶n̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶t̶r̶o̶l̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶e̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r.

 

What do you think? Were you interested in the wedding?

 

-Shay