Things we need to stop celebrating

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 Permalink

A week or two ago a clip featuring Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau talking about being a feminist was trending on social media.

Watching this I was reminded of a now-famous speech Joss Whedon gave – talking about his response to the question he’s always asked… “Why do you create strong female characters?” In case you don’t know Whedon created Buffy the Vampire Slayer… along with the likes of Angel, Firefly and The Dollhouse.

#SpoilerAlert… In case you can’t be bothered watching either, the short answer is:

BECAUSE IT GETS THIS REACTION!

BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS ASK ME THIS!

The fact that it’s question-worthy or newsworthy means it’s out of the norm. Shocking, or surprising… or at best unusual.

Men supporting equal rights for women? Egad! Men believing women can be strong and powerful? Nooooo?!

I rarely rant (here) about stuff, but thought I’d take the opportunity to also comment on those things which become newsworthy WHEN THEY SHOULD NOT BE. Indeed… WHEN THEY SHOULD NEVER BE!

1. Non-skinny women (or men) modelling or on the cover of a magazine
Ashley Graham recently featured on the front of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and one could not open a news site, read a magazine or glance at social media without being reminded of the magazine’s generosity or evolved-nessย  in featuring a plus sized (not-skinny or slim) model on the cover.

2. Non-slim celebrities full stop
While on the subject of weight and body types… Unless you’re thin or slim or vaguely normal you get castigated or cheered for being weak-willed or brave enough (respectively) to flaunt your excessive curves. And if you lose weight you’re congratulated or jeered – for doing the right thing; or succumbing to social pressure. Actresses like Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy should be known for their acting or comedic skills. Not their weight.

3. Political leaders who are: female; gay; or people of colour
We’re still very self-congratulatory when we elect a black President or a female Prime Minister. Or even a gay Asian Senator. The day someone like Australia’s Senator Penny Wong makes PM and there’s no mention of her gender, sexuality or heritage will indeed be a day for celebration.

4. The need to defend, or apologise for, mental illness
Every so often someone vaguely famous ‘admits’ to a mental illness. Like Justin and Joss we congratulate them on their bravery for speaking about the unspeakable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising the likes of Wentworth Miller who recently spoke about his depression;ย  rather I’m saying wouldn’t it be bloody marvellous if we could talk about anxiety or depression in the same way we do about high blood pressure or a heart condition?

And then there’s our recent self-congratulations for accepting and celebrating a model with Down Syndrome?! Really?! Is it SO shocking? Perhaps we need to look at the flipside – why have our models all been so homogenous for so long?

I should mention that I’m far from perfect. (And yes, I know this surprises you!!)ย  But I like to think I’m relatively accepting and approach everything with an open mind.

I just think there’s certain things we should stop celebrating and hope the day comes when we simply shrug them off.

Whatย  have I missed? What else is the exception rather than the norm?

I’m linking up with Essentially Jess today for IBOT and continuing with my challenge to blog every day in April.

 

50 Comments
  • kimbacaffeinate
    April 5, 2016

    Lovely….one day I hope to live in that world!

  • Vanessa
    April 5, 2016

    I agree SO MUCH with all of these. I don’t want to “celebrate” these things as there’s no reason for them to not have been “normal” years ago!

  • danielaark
    April 5, 2016

    Couldn’t agree more with you Debbie! It is sad that we still pat ourselves in the back for being so “tolerant” of anything not considered “normal” or “majority”! Like beign black, gay or afflicted by any illness. The day we don’t see the need to “tolerate” anyone is the day we are all just simply members of humankind. Great post!

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    April 5, 2016

    I suppose it’s like a positive reinforcement thing and it will eventually lead to these issues becoming the mainstream. It works on getting kids to do the right thing so hopefully it will lean society down the right path ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Debbish
      April 5, 2016

      I wonder how long it will take though Michelle? I think that’s what worries me the most. Some things – technology for example – change so quickly but so many of our beliefs and attitudes take sooooo long!

  • Janet Camilleri (@middleagedmama1)
    April 5, 2016

    Amen to all of this …

  • Johanna ~ Lifestyle Fifty
    April 5, 2016

    Absolutely! We are square pegs, round pegs and every other kind of peg-like human beings. There is no such thing as normal ๐Ÿ™‚

  • yinyangmother
    April 5, 2016

    Well done on the blogging challenge and well put in your post. On the one hand it is a shame we are celebrating things that should be the norm, on the other hand at least we are actually celebrating! And peer pressure is telling me I should date stamp my comment, April 5, 2016.

  • Jo
    April 5, 2016

    I was about to pull my soapbox out too…seriously though, it pisses me that normal is cause for celebration…and anyway, what is “normal” or average? Maybe we need a bell curve of normal…oh my God! Don’t get me started on bell curves!

    • Debbish
      April 5, 2016

      I was doing some eyerolling on the weekend too Jo, as I was reading some of mum’s women’s magazines which commented on how ‘brave’ some celebs were for going without makeup. #FFS Heaven forbid they look normal!

  • Jo @ You had us at hello
    April 5, 2016

    You’re totally right but I think it’s a massive improvement from what we use to be. At least there is acknowledgement and change IS happening, so here’s hoping by the time we’re wise old Grandma’s all the things you mention above become everyday life, and no celebration needed. I get a little excited thinking of how accepting my kids generation might be.

    • Debbish
      April 5, 2016

      Oh I do hope so Jo. I watch some sci fi type TV and there are always female leaders and it would be nice to think we become more tolerant and inclusive as time goes on!

  • Denyse Whelan
    April 5, 2016

    Congrats on the blogging challenge you’ve given yourself. I hear you on the ‘no celebrating’ this and that but …is that a media-driven thing too? What is NEWS unless it is something ‘different’. Glad you brought the topic up! Denyse #teamIBOT

  • hugzillablog
    April 5, 2016

    I honestly wish we could throw up a prime minister even half as progressive as Trudeau. The man looks like the second coming of Jesus Christ compared to the mediocre halfwits we have to put up with. THAT would be a miracle.

    • Debbish
      April 5, 2016

      He’s very impressive isn’t he?! And he’s really hit the ground running – putting many world leaders to shame!

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    April 5, 2016

    Yes to all of this, I think it’s a given that we are all special but all different and when I say different , I mean different from each other. That’s something to celebrate! I don’t mean different from the “norm” (which after all is a man made concept!)

    • Debbish
      April 5, 2016

      Yes true Sammie and I guess it’s about celebrating diversity isn’t it?

  • Jodi Gibson
    April 5, 2016

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I roll my eyes at this type of thing. It’s like… Puh-lease!

  • Annika - Hiding Books
    April 5, 2016

    I agree with all of this, so much! I feel really strongly about these topics, and especially feminism I tend to talk a lot about. It still annoys me when some people argue that women *are* equal and that we don’t treat them any differently from men…

    Great post, thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Debbish
      April 5, 2016

      You’re welcome Annika.

      I must confess I have on many occasions felt as if I’ve been treated as an equal to a male. Not always, but in some environments. But I’ve been fortunate. (And I think it’s come with age and experience to an extent, rather than when starting out in my career and in my 20s.) It means I find it very obvious when that’s not the case.

  • Char
    April 6, 2016

    I’ll celebrate the day I can use the word black just because it’s an adjective without being worried that someone will class me as a racist.

    • Debbish
      April 6, 2016

      Ah yes, I used to work in an Indigenous Government Coordination office and had many conversations with colleagues – who were actually far less sensitive than the media (etc) made out. They used the words black / white and – my impression anyway – is that they understood it was the intent behind words that was more problematic.

  • Have A Laugh On Me
    April 6, 2016

    I could not agree more with you Deb, it seems society is so dumb now that that’s what we’ve been offered to talk about. NEXT!!

  • Kit@Life through the haze
    April 6, 2016

    You are spot on. I wonder if we have become a bit ott about political correctness because we talk less to people face to face or even on the phone. So we put tone onto the written word which is near impossible! I know I read emails or even newspaper articles with tone depending who it is written by! I don’t know if that even makes sense.

    • Debbish
      April 7, 2016

      I know… I hate emojis but am constantly adding them to sentences or paragraphs so people know I’m joking or being sarcastic.

  • Jess
    April 9, 2016

    I totally agree! And also wonder why it is so bloody slow to change. People have been gay, black, Asian, female, fat, skinny etc etc for all of humanity. Why do we still have such epic inequalities. I remember studying a lot feminism at uni and thinking I don’t think this will affect me that much, we have grown from this and I am educated. So naive. It affects me all the time!

    • Debbish
      April 10, 2016

      It’s frustrating isn’t it? I tend to assume most people are sensible, logical and open-minded and it’s eye-opening to be reminded that’s not the case!

  • Kristen Burns
    April 10, 2016

    Oh my goodness, yes! I have actually thought about this so much, about how pointing these things out as special things is kind of defeating the whole purpose of what we’re supposedly trying to do. If we’re trying to treat people as equals and all that, pointing out how amazing it is that someone with down syndrome is a model, to use an example you gave, is pretty much doing the opposite, as though she wasn’t just good enough to accomplish that period. Does that make sense? It’s really hard to explain the way my brain works sometimes lol. And yes, always making a big deal of it when someone “admits” to having a mental illness, being gay, etc. is just making these things seem like big deals rather than the normal things they are (or should be).

    • Debbish
      April 10, 2016

      I completely agree Kristen. I occasionally struggle with affirmative action policies for the same reason… I’m happy for equality but I don’t want to ONLY get something because… (I’m a woman, or overweight, or screwy in the head etc)

  • Angelized1st
    April 11, 2016

    Great rant! The fact all of these things are seen as such a big deal is troublesome, when they should be considered normal. Our society has a long way to go, though.

  • EssentiallyJess
    April 11, 2016

    I like seeing you ranty Deb! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I never tire of that Joss Whedon clip, and you’re so right. The fact that we congratulate ourselves says so much.

  • Literary Feline
    April 12, 2016

    I would love to live in a world where all of these are considered commonplace. Sometimes it feels like we are going backward. Or maybe that’s just my country.

    • Debbish
      April 12, 2016

      I sometimes feel like that here too (in Australia). Every time I think things are improving I read the comments on news articles or see something on social media which has me shaking my head in horror!

  • Maria
    May 20, 2016

    I agree… whats wrong with non-skinny people advertising a product or a person being depressed… its ok… society is just ridiculous… I like seeing strong women, they are extremely cool and independent.

    • Debbish
      May 21, 2016

      Very true Maria. It’d be nice to see more diversity in advertising – and not just the stereotypes!

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