These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: APRIL 2019

See ya later April! You were pretty awesome if I do say so myself! With some epic strings of public holidays, I was able to take my first even paid leave (wow the perks of job security) and have a little holiday. With work swinging into full force (and absolutely loving it) things are going really well. I’ve started back at yoga and taking some time to reflect and reset towards focusing on my health and wellbeing. With the weather cooling down, I’m determined to keep things active and interesting! Before we jump into May, let’s take a look back on the month that was!

🎈Soph’s Birthday

I love birthdays and I love it even more when I get to help celebrate other people’s birthdays. Especially when it’s your girlfriend’s birthday, well it kinda feels like Christmas. I seriously had THE BEST weekend with Soph! On Friday night we went to see Cub Sport at the Enmore in Sydney. We went with Jayno and CMO and boogied the night away. On Saturday, we went on an adventure down to Berry to hike the Drawing Room Rocks track. After a little smokey car incident, we decided to hike the track while we waited for the NRMA. On our run up the mountain, we stumbled across a snake, which completely highlighted my paranoia of snakes apparently. We got to the top, took it all in, then ran back down just in time to meet the NRMA. We topped it all off by enjoying a burger at the Hungry Monkey in Kiama. After a night of bar hopping all over Wollongong and ending up the Harp, even backing it up with a Sunday sesh at North Gong, I think you could call Soph’s birthday weekend a huge success! I love you Soph!

🏖️Byron Bay

Just in case I didn’t get enough Summer, Mum, Elly and I headed to Byron Bay over the Easter break to soak up the last of the beautiful rays of sunshine. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Byron Bay several times before and absolutely loved it. Though I must admit, something felt a little different this time. It’s very busy with lots of tourists (us being some of them). A holiday to me is chillin, eating icecream, going for brunch and drinking all the coffee and beers you want. I didn’t exactly feel those relaxed vibes in Byron, but we had an amazing time around it. On the beach in the sun, relaxed. Swimming in a waterfall, relaxed. Sinking beers at Brunswick Heads, relaxed. Eating fish and chips in Lennox Heads, relaxed. Waiting 45 minutes in traffic driving down the main street of Byron, not relaxing. But thankyou to Mum and Elly for putting up with me and encouraging me to eat ice cream!

🏘️Home for Easter

There’s no place like home. For the Easter long weekend I headed home to Port Stephens. Not only was the weather amazing, but my amazing girlfriend came with me and we got to enjoy some sunshine together. We went to the beach, went walking, grabbing coffee, caught up with my amazing cousin Mel and found some cute but embarrassing photos in old photo albums. It’s nice to smell the familiar scent of home and go to your favourite cafes, and waking up in your very own bed. I may not go home near enough, but I love every second of it when I do.

🎶 Tunes

Slowly Slowly
Aw damn I have been loving these guys! Their Like A Version was incredible and I’ve since been digging deeper into their album! Damn it brings back all my teenage angst by rocking out to this grungy sound. Love love love!

Beyonce and Beychella
Ok so this one straddles music and film. Call it what you want but wow! Really, what a goddess! I seriously got emotional during parts of her performance. Especially during ‘Flawless.’ You don’t have to be the biggest Beyonce fan to recognise the immense impact she’s made on the music industry, in popular culture, and especially for young women of colour. I feel so strong and empowered listening to her music but I know that what she represents is not targeted at me. I can’t even begin to imagine the impact Beyonce has made on the lives of people of colour in Australia and across the world. I am in absolute awe and I think this is an incredible work of art.

🎥Flicks

Made In Dagenham
I absolutely loved this film! Based on a true story of the fight for equal pay during the 60s in England, this film is a great reminder of the fight for gender equality and the struggle to have women’s work recognised as skilled work deserving of equal pay. A part of the film that particularly stood out to me was when a woman who held a First Class Honours Degree from Cambridge in History and Political Science, was only respected by her husband when she was cooking and cleaning.

The Green Book (March)
So I forgot to add this to my March Favourite Things, but I actually went to the cinema to watch this film (yes cinemas actually exist). OMG I absolutely loved it! And it wasn’t because of the fact that I got the popcorn all to myself. It won the Oscar for best picture yet received a lot of criticism for ‘white saviourism.’ Whilst there’s no denying the complexities of race in this film, taking it at face value, it was brilliant. On a deeper, more critical level, I think the ‘Western white’ gaze is used to portray the South and Dr Shirley, but nonetheless, I would strongly recommend this flick.

📚 Books

No Friend But The Mountain, by Behrouz Boochani
Wow. This book is absolutely incredible and when you find out how it was written, curated and leaked from Manus, you will find it even more incredible. I am a passionate advocate for refugees and asylum seekers. It is not illegal to seek asylum. But it is illegal to detain these people indefinitely. Due to the secrecy of the offshore detention centres run by the Australian government, receiving information about what actually happens in these prisons has been very limited. Behrouz’s story is important. It is the story of many and it is a story that should never be allowed to happen again.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
This book is so powerful. Whilst it claims to be a fictional book, it is too close to reality for too many people. It tells the story of Starr who is the only witness to the murder of her friend by a white police officer. After being disgusted with the treatment of people of colour around the world by police, this book is aggravating, frustrating but reality. I smashed this one out in a few days because it’s very visual, easy to read and in the end, you just want the justice that the main character wants.

Any Ordinary Day, by Leigh Sales
I’m pretty skeptical when a book becomes ‘mainstream.’ Are we all just reading the same thing, forming the same opinions and becoming a herd of the same people? It took me a while to jump on board with Leigh Sales’ new book, but I am so grateful that I did. I smashed this one out in three days because I was absolutely hooked by the stories she was sharing and the message she had to convey. I really do believe the universe has our backs and has a plan for us, but at the end of the day, we are stupid to think we are special in being spared the pain, suffering and tragedy we see on the news every night. The one certainty we have in life is that we will die. My mission is to make sure it’s all for a reason.

📸 Bloggers, Vloggers and Podders

Sexism and the City
I absolutely love Jan Fran and am literally obsessed with everything she produces. When I found out she had this podcast, I absolutely binged it. WOW. I have the biggest crush on Jan Fran and it’s so inspiring to deep dive into the ways in which gender inequality affects women around the world. If you’re interested in travel, pop culture, politics and feminism, this is for you!

Roeqie
I absolutely love following this account! Her artwork is so bright, colourful and joyful. I love seeing when it pops up on my feed and I feel instantly brighter and lighter. I need more of this on my Insta feed and in my life!

Chessiekingg
Speaking of brighter and lighter, I am loving Chessie King’s Instagram account. I just stumbled across it and love the positive body vibes! Her videos are fantastic and I know it may sound superficial but it’s so nice seeing a real body with rolls, flabby bits, curves and cellulite. We put so much pressure on ourselves based on the ‘perfect’ bodies we see on Instagram, but they’re not so real afterall. Chessie is sweet, fun, sexy and a great addition to my Insta feed ‘sparking joy’ all over my life!

📝 Quote

Given the book I just finished I guess this quote has just really resonated with me. Like I said, there’s no guarantee for tomorrow. And life is one big crazy rollercoaster. My main mission in life is to firstly enjoy it, and secondly, make it matter. Be grateful for what I have and continue to grow to be the person I want to be. Whether that’s meeting new people, trying new things, pushing my boundaries, travelling or simply taking in a sunrise, I want to keep growing and enjoying the ride.

April, wow. What a whirlwind. I am so grateful for the amazing times I’ve had with some amazing people. May, bring it on!

Wokeness, Inequality and Awakening: All About Women Festival

Individually, we are one drop. Together we are the ocean.

On Sunday 10th March, I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do… attend an event about empowering, educating and inspiring badass women. All About Women is a festival celebrating women and our achievements whilst critically engaging in the global discussion surrounding gender inequality, and what it looks like for women around the world.

As I was on the train en route to Sydney, I firstly took some time to think about my experience as a woman in the world today. I am a proud feminist and feel relatively ‘woke’ about women’s issues in today’s society. But no matter your ‘wokeness’ level, if you’re a woman navigating today’s society, gender inequality affects each and every one of us in different ways. This is what gender inequality feels like in my everyday life;

  • I am terrified to walk home from the train station (5 minutes from home) at night.
  • I am scared of having my drink spiked when on a night out.
  • I feel ‘lucky’ for getting a job, rather than feeling I’ve ‘earned’ it.
  • I am labelled hysterical and psycho when I am angry or emotional.
  • I think twice about what I wear out, in case I attract unwanted attention.
  • I question my male friendships.
  • I get offended by trashy hip hop music videos.
  • I second guess when I hold hands with my girlfriend in public.
  • I’m constantly told my body is not sexy enough, slim enough or (insert health influencer buzzword here) enough.
  • I’m worried I won’t have enough superannuation when I retire.
  • I hold off disclosing my sexuality straight away.
  • My heart breaks every time I hear about a woman who has died at the hands of violence.

These are just some of the ways I do not feel equal in society. But being a white woman living in Australia, I know that my experiences are vastly different than those experiences of women of colour, transgender women, women with disabilities, women of faith and any woman who identifies as part of a minority.

This is why I wanted to attend this event. To hear, learn and grow from women whose experiences are different to mine, reflect and challenge my own knowledge, and think about what the future of feminism and gender equality looks like.

The Cut On Tuesdays featuring Clementine Ford

I attended a live recording of one of my favourite podcasts called ‘The Cut On Tuesdays.’ If you haven’t heard of it, and if you’re reading this blog, you will love it and I implore you to pause. go download. listen for the 40 minutes. come back. and say with me now. WOW!

I’ve never been to a live recording of a podcast, so I can truly say I had no idea what to expect. I attended with my friend Zina, and her Mum, which was a très cool duo to attend with. Under the beautiful arches of the Sydney Opera House, in the newly refurbished Utzon room, Molly Fischer brought the house down with her brilliant episode and presentation. With such a strong voice and even stronger ‘can do’ energy, I was immediately hooked. The fact that I could see Australian feminist icon, Clementine Ford, sitting in the front row, had me wriggling nearly off my seat!

Molly spoke about ‘women’s media.’ Everything from the sealed section in Cosmo, to the buzz word badass, to evolving from a fashion blog to a major political news company, now known as The Cut. When she invited Clementine Ford on stage to discuss gender and women’s rights here in Australia, I found myself nodding along to everything they were saying. As a young woman who recently graduated from a media and communications degree, it’s pretty inspiring to hear directly from the horses mouth, the experiences and challenges associated with being a woman in the media.

When the interview was wrapping up, Clementine Ford asked Molly what she thought of Australia and the way in which we treat women, after rather explicitly suggesting Australia is a rather sexist country. Her response was interesting. Whilst having only been in the country a few days, the first thing she mentioned was the luxury Australians have by having Medicare and universal health cover. Compared to the US, we are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful system where a doctors appointment doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars. It was also interesting to see them apply a feminist lens to healthcare. Women’s rights are human rights and society as a whole benefits when women are treated equally. It was pretty damn awesome to be in a room where I felt excited by the challenge of being a woman with a passion for the media and the critical ability to engage with it.

Wokeness and Radness: Ayishat Akanbi and Jan Fran

The next session I attended was titled the ‘The Problem With Wokeness,’ presented by Jan Fran and Ayishat Akanbi. My first question was, well what is wokeness? And is there a problem with it?

I think the first time I came across the term ‘woke,’ was Childish Gambino’s Redbone, with the line ‘Stay woke, n*ggers creepin. They gon’ find you. Gon’ catch you sleepin.’ Fast forward a few years and being woke is one of the trendiest things you can be. Upon doing some light research before this talk, I found that ‘woke’ or ‘staying woke’ originates from American people of colour about racial injustice in the US with regards to police brutality. Woke is the past tense of ‘to wake,’ implying that wokeness equates to waking up to yourself and the world around you. Seeing the world for what it really is in all its messiness. Now, wokeness equals being aware of various social injustices affecting our communities and livelihoods.

So… what’s the problem with it? Well I must admit, I was so completely absorbed by her conversation and what she had to say, that I stopped taking notes and decided to just take it in. But one of the biggest takeaways is that she argues that wokeness has stripped us of our compassion. At the end of the day, regardless of our identities, we are painfully similar and have a lot more in common that we could believe. Compassion is fundamental for creating empathy and real connections with people who are similar to use yet have experienced the world in a different way to us.

I learnt that you really can’t be woke about everything. At the end of the day, we will never truly understand everyone’s unique experiences of the world. Oppression and inequality affects people in many ways. It’s up to us to listen, learn, be allies and speak up. I learnt it’s also not worth your time or energy to argue with people who are less intelligent than you. And by less intelligent, I mean, stupid idiot internet trolls who have already made up their mind and will attack you to break you. I found this enlightening because it’s a reminder to not always take things personally. That people can be passionate about a situation, whilst being respectful to you. And when they’re not, they’re not worth your time.

Ayishat also recommended if you want to have real conversations and attempt to really debate ideas, then leave your DM’s open. It’s funny how reactionary people are in the comments section. They type first and think later. In the DM’s, it’s a whole other story. People are respectful, polite and articulate. Even when disagreeing on a topic. I honestly believe this is how you have meaningful conversations that lead towards long term change.

I left the Festival feeling incredibly inspired yet apprehensive. It’s kinda crazy attending an event where everyone there is like minded, especially in the fight for gender equality, and then you leave the safety of your bubble and realise that there are some not so woke people out there. But the takeaway is that there are people out there. Fighting the hard fight, speaking out and standing up.

We’re not there yet, and we’ve got a long way to go, but in the meantime we can lift each other up and enjoy the ride.

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