WE NEED TO TALK
Has anyone else noticed the efforts lately forcing society to discuss things that make them uncomfortable? There is no longer a place for turning a blind eye to important topics because they make people feel awkward- we are a generation of boundary pushing, outspoken individuals with the potential to make a difference.
There have been a wide range of individuals aiming to break these boundaries, and public opinions on them have been varied. Some of the most prominent cases this year have included Free the Nipple Campaign, artist Rupi Kaur's photographs showcasing the taboo around menstruation, and transgender individuals speaking out in an attempt to socially normalize their transition in identity. All of these topics have been largely hidden based on societal standards of normalcy, but people are beginning to realize that hiding can hinder healing.
A large part of these efforts center around educating the public on issues to encourage communication. Personal struggles such as assault, sexuality, and mental health are often met with judgement or pity when discussed openly. The Cello group "Talking Taboos" was formed in collaboration with leading teen mental health charities "to help tackle the stigma around issues where embarrassment, fear or ignorance can stop sufferers from seeking help". College Humor also released a video this week, using satire to present the serious issue of sexual assault. Staring popular celebrities, the video asks viewers to consider: What if bears ate 1/5 people? (the same statistics surrounding assault).
Individuals are making efforts in this field as well. Emma Sulkowicz carried her mattress around Columbia University's campus with her in protest after her rapist was not expelled. Her project, Carry That Weight, was an attempt to force administrators and students alike to recognize the long term weight these crimes weigh on their victims. Recently celebrities have begun speaking up more and more about their mental health struggles as well, slowly beginning to help normalize these often hidden battles and open up room for recovery.
Whether it is societal standards deeming a natural part of life indecent, creating phycological stigmas, or persuading victims to keep quiet about crimes, we need to end the favoring of mass comfort over confrontation and take these issues to the public.
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