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Culture News Retail and Marketing

#NotAllFeminists #NotAllTransAllies

Popular Australian clothing,  brand, Peter Alexander, has come under fire for pulling pajama tops saying “Boys will be boys”, after one mother complained that the slogan was sexist on their Facebook page.

Did you read that? ONE mother allegedly complained that the slogan ‘boys will be boys’ was offensive and sexist.

To be clear, I think the complaint was silly, as was the move by Peter Alexander. What next? Are radio stations going to pull the Choirboys’ song of the same name?

 

I agree with Herald Sun columnist, Sky News presenter and 3AW regular, Rita Panahi who said that the brand should not have bowed down to one complaint.

I want to emphasise this. There was ONE complaint by ONE woman. Needless to say that this is NOT representative of all women or all feminists.

This is NOT representative of tarnsgender people, non – binary people or their allies. 

This is one idiot who made one comment and Peter Alexander was a fool for such a knee – jerk reaction.

So, in the coming days, let’s not turn it into something it’s not:

  • It’s not representative of all feminists
  • It’s not representative of all progressives
  • It’s not representatives of all transgender/ non – binary people and their allies

It is only representative of one idiot who decided that a well – known saying was offensive and one idiotic company that decided to overreact to that one complaint.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Sarah Huckabee – Sanders vs. Red Hen: this will be used as a weapon against the LGBTQ+ community

President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was recently told to leave Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia along with her husband and other family members.

Owner, Stephanie Wilkson later explained that her actions were in response to a number of gay employees being unhappy about Sanders’ support for a ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

While the exchange between the restaurant’s owner and Huckabee Sanders was allegedly cordial, according to Wilkinson, it has caused fierce debate on social media .Conservatives have likened the Huckabee Sanders incident to LGBTQ+ people being \ denied service, while progressives have been adamant that restaurants should be able to refuse services based on political affiliation.

Ironically, this comes only days after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favour of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips who was sued in 2012 for refusing to make a cake for a gay couple.

Secular Talk’s Kyle Kullinski lashed out at responses from both conservatives and progressives on his channel. He’s torn, but is leaning he reluctantly concluded that Sanders should have been served in case it backfires on progressives later on.

He denies that this is the equivalent of denying someone service because of race or sexual orientation, arguing (rightly) that the latter are not things that can be chosen or changed.

Yet, this case is strengthening the arguments against rights of LGBTQ+ people. Conservatives, like Newscorp columnist and Macquarie Radio guest presenter, Andrew Bolt have already made the comparison and treating it as ‘left’ hypocrisy.

I am against LGBTQ+ people being denied service because I see it as a slippery slope. As I’ve demonstrated in the past, in certain US states, it’s legal for mental health workers to deny to treat LGBTQ+ patients, unless their lives are in immediate danger. In 2015, a Michigan pediatrician refused to see a toddler who was being raised by a lesbian couple.

It’s happening in the US, and I fear that there’s a chance that Australia’s anti – discrimination laws will also be watered down in the not – so – distant future.

 

So, what should happen? If you’re a business owner or work for one, serve your customers. Simple. Of course, if someone is abusive or destroying stock, etc, then kick them out, by all means. But anything else will only backfire.

UPDATE:

I read yesterday that Red Hen owner, Stephanie Wilkinson resigned from her position after about seventy – five conservative protesters against the treatment of Huckabee Sanders. One allegedly threw chicken excrement aiming it at the restaurant (it landed on the pavement).

They have the right to protest. Throwing excrement is uncalled for, though. It’s also a pity that Wilkinson felt like she had to leave her job.

What do you think about the Sarah Huckabee Sanders/ Red Hen saga? Do you think businesses should have to serve customers no matter what (except for abuse, destruction of property/ stock, etc)? Let me know in the comments below. 

 

 

Categories
News

We still need to change out attitudes to mental health

Mental health image of brain
Image: iStock

Content warning: This post briefly talks about suicide and may be distressing to some readers.

People were shocked and saddened to hear about the recent passing of fashion designer, Kate Spade and celebrity chef and media personality Alan Boudain.

There has been well – meaning outpouring of grief and awareness about mental illness.

Encouragement to get help for mental illness in the aftermath of a suicide and standing in solidarity with surviving loved ones and those struggling is great. However, it’s often not consistent. Earlier this year, ’90’s pop star, Mariah Carey came out saying she’d been suffering bipolar disorder for nearly twenty years. A number of responses on social media was that of disbelief. People accused Carey of using it as an excuse for the demise of her singing career.

Australian celebrities haven’t been free from this scrutiny. I was appalled by some of the reactions to tennis champion, Bernard Tomic when he admitted that he was struggling mentally shortly after appearing on I”m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

And that’s not all. Over the years, people with mental health issues have been mocked. There have been suggestions that mental illness has become ‘fashionable‘. Um, what?

In the aftermath of the deaths of Boudain and Spade as well as countless others, isn’t it obvious that we need people to admit when they are struggling? Even if they aren’t clinically depressed or have anxiety disorder (or have yet to be diagnosed officially)? We do! We can’t make people feel like they have to go through these struggles alone.

We can debate about treatments for depression; whether medication is always the answer, whether Attention Deficit and Hyper Active Disorder (ADHD) can be treated without Ritalin, or the role of the pharmaceutical industry in over prescribing medication, whether some mental issues can be eliminated (or at least better controlled) by change in environment, etc. What we don’t need is people  accusing those who open up about mental health issues of faking it or seeking attention.

Over the years, articles have been written to spot ‘signs’ that a person is faking their mental illness. This topic has fired up both mental illness sufferers and therapists on YouTube alike.

Mental illness is real. Most people who open up about mental health issues are not making it up (Kati Morton briefly touches the topic of Munchausen Syndrome, where someone may exaggerate or make up symptoms. I’m guessing that they’d be in the teeny tiny minority). To  be honest, it can be easy to misdiagnose yourself. You may feel down for a while and suspect you have depression, but then things become better after a while. That’s why to be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms will be consistent over a number weeks (about six) before you get officially diagnosed and, sometimes, medicated for depression (I’m guessing it’s similar to other disorders like bipolar, anxiety, etc).

 

The  stigma around mental illness needs to stop. It’s deadly. Be there for loved ones who are struggling and encourage them to get help. If you’re suffering yourself, please get help. You’re not alone.

If you are struggling and you live in Australia, you can contact LIfeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue via their web chat or 1300  224 636. If you are in an emergency situation, call 000 (if you’re in the US, 911 and UK, 999 or 112 (the last number is for members of the EU).

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Cultural appropriation: a war no one can win

US funk, soul and pop singer, Bruno Mars was caught up in a cultural appropriation controversy earlier this year after he was accused of ‘appropriating’ African music. (Does this sound familiar? Wasn’t Elvis Presley condemned for a similar thing sixty or so years ago?). African American celebrities ended up coming to his aid.

Mars’ mother is Filipino and his father is Puerto Rican and Jewish.

To me, this proves that nobody can win the new aawar of cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is:

…the act of using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing you understand and respect this culture.

From further reading I’ve done, I think cultural appropriation is about power, especially the power that the British had for decades over African and indigenous peoples (Aboriginal Australians,  Native Americans, etc).

As I said above, this has become an unwinable culture war. It is seen as nothing more by many people as an encroachment of free speech and expression.

Representations

A frankly absurd new rule I’ve been hearing and reading about is don’t write about something about a minority that you aren’t part of. Now, this is encroachment of free speech and expression. People should be able to write about and from any perspective that they like! As long it doesn’t aim to portray negative stereotypes, (unless in the form of satire or black comedy), why shouldn’t they? Should I be able to write a novel about a Syrian refugee, even though I’m not one? Yes! But I’ll make sure that I researched the topic, made sure I didn’t undermine their experiences or stereotype them.

Writing and the arts in general often require a level of research, sometimes extensive. At times, actors work in certain fields to get real – life experience on what it’s like to do that job.

Then, there are representations of minority groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community. Sure, some shows have done a fairly poor job of it. One thing that has annoyed me in the past is when a character is allegedly LGBTQ+, but are in a sams – sex relationship only briefly and their same – sex relationship, or alleged attraction is never spokwn of again. Then, there are shows that porttay lesbian or bi women, but seem to appeal to straight men.

One show has done things differently is Channel Eleven’s Neighbours. In 2010, teenager Chris Pappas, (played by James Mason), came out as gay.

Since then, Neighbours has had other LGB characters: Steph Scully (Carla Bonner), who has dated men and women on the show and jas been outed as bisexual and David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) and Aaron Brenner (Matt Wilson), a gay couple.

Screenshot of David and Aaron from Neighbours

 

None of the actors (to my knowledge), are LGB, but the way Neighbours portray the LGB community I think should be commended.

Eight years since Pappas came out, many of Neighbours’ fans are eagerly waiting tor the marriage of Brennan and Tanaka, with comedian Magda Szubanski set to play their celebrant.

Negative stereotypes can be harmful. It’s important not to dehumanise others. However, people should be able to express themselves and write, act or other things without being  seen as nefarious.

What do you think of cultural appropriation and media representation of minorities in general? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.