Unfortunately, we can’t all be forced into karaoke at a New Year’s Eve party with a stranger and have that person move to our school when the term starts. Alas, life is not an excellent musical film by Disney Channel, but anything can happen when you take a chance.
December 2019. I’ve made plans with my friend, Tom, for a very late celebration of my 18th birthday. 18 doesn’t feel all that different from 17 — I am pleased with the prospect of being able to drink, but a little disappointed that I will no longer be able to scream the lyrics to ‘Dancing Queen’ with as much personal conviction.
“…as heads is tails / just call me Lucifer / ’cause I’m in need of some restraint”
‘Sympathy for the Devil’ (1968), The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have courted controversy for their entire 60-year career. The British rock & roll band was marketed as the anti-establishment antidote to the saccharine Beatles — and they didn’t shy away from living up to that bad-boy image.
It’s hard picturing how the world could get any better. Everywhere we look on the news, on our phones, or out on the street, things seem horrible. As young people, we feel more and more hopeless in the face of the daunting challenges that lie ahead.
My Lolo was an illustrator for the largest media company in the Philippines. He would sketch caricatures of people at ease and master different writing styles with a delicate hand. Lolo never believed his art was perfect, only good enough. But he had been satisfied with his position. A mixture of fun and work.
But in 1972, when Lolo was 27 years old, everything changed.
I’ve always been partial to a good night out, and my routine has been somewhat perfected. It goes like this: pres beforehand at someone’s house or occasionally just sculling your drink in an alleyway before waiting in line to enter a bar or club (trashy I know, but don’t tell me you haven’t done it). After several hours of dancing — or what could only be counted as simply head-bopping — nothing beats the 3am Macca’s run that follows. Then comes the impossible quest of finding your Uber on crowded Chapel Street to finally return home, ready to crash.
Can you think of a day that you’re not a consumer of news? If you’re a regular browser of Facebook and Instagram (which I’m sure you are), you most definitely are consuming news stories every single day. You may or not may have noticed, but the way stories are presented to us through the digital-scape is… hectic, to say the least.
The term ‘intersectionality’ was first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an African American woman, in her 1989 paper, ‘Demarginalising the Intersection of Race and Sex’. Intersectionality is a concept in social studies that refers to how different factors such as age, race, ability and class all interact with each other to bring about inequalities. The term still holds true today in a world that has begun to shift under the tides of drastic social change. It is not surprising that Kimberlé came up with the word based upon her own experience, nor is it surprising that the term has been misused, misconstrued and not properly credited over the years since. Her experiences are the sad reality for a woman and person of colour in academia, and it’s the same behaviour we witness in our communities which is built upon discriminatory views formed by our own biases. It is still exactly what Kimberlé warned us about and the marginalisation that she faced when she was immediately sidelined for being too critical and playing into ‘identity politics’. But don’t we all speak from our own experiences and knowledge? This question is where it all began, and how I first came across the conceptual understanding of intersectionality in my sociology classes.
“You see, more often than not, the people who shame women the most are actually women themselves.”
I remember first grappling with the notion of internalised misogyny while preparing for my Year 12 oral exam. My topic was about why all men play a role in eliminating violence against women, and the way I wrote it fixated heavily on how men were always the main perpetrators. While I was rehearsing in my English teacher’s office after school one afternoon, she said something that I didn’t really understand at the time, but has stuck with me ever since. She said: “you see, more often than not, the people who shame women the most are actually women themselves.”