My very first blog was nearly one year ago, with the majority of the content dedicated to the train wreck that is MAFS. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know that I’m referring to the height of reality TV: Australia’s Married at First Sight.
Channel 9 undoubtedly hit the jackpot last year with ratings for MAFS absolutely obliterating MKR and any other rival network’s programs. Realising that they probably needed to up the ante to avoid any staleness or comparisons to last year, they have included some absolutely vile characters speaking vile words to their mate. I use the word “characters” because each year, ex-contestants claim that they were assigned scripted conversations, and that each show was so heavily edited to pigeon hole cliché characters such as villain and victim. Or in this case; several narcissists, a douche-bag alpha male, his mate who claims to be looking for marriage but won’t stop kissing his wife just to shut her up, Australia’s very own Kim Kardashian, a boring meditator who finds spirituality in buttering toast, a virgin, his lesbian wife, a farmer who took a wrong turn on his way to audition for Farmer Wants a Wife, several gym junkies, several psychos and several plastic lips that closely resemble frankfurts from primary school fetes. Not to mention the main characters of this show: carefully placed family sized blocks of Cadbury chocolate and jars of Nutella.
I had no intention of writing another blog in relation to this ratings phenomenon, until last week’s episode included what I, and over 54,000 Aussies (according to an online petition) found to be blatant reverse-sexism. Our resident villain Ines and her gentle-giant, ex stripper husband Bronson were on the couch discussing their first week of ‘marriage’ (I use the term loosely) with the supposed experts who matched them (for reasons unbeknown to us). The entire week was dominated by Ines degrading Bronson in every situation, from his appearance, to his past, to his clothing etc. Bronson copped it on the chin all week (the man has the patience of a saint). He sat silently each time she screamed at him to “shut the f#@k up! Just shut the f#@k up!” Each time this happened, I imagined Bronson’s lovely dad watching the TV through tears in his eyes, as some psycho terrorised his only remaining son. When it was Bronson’s turn to speak to the experts, he described her behaviour in a word not suitable for young ears. Whilst we were all at home cringing from the use of a word that we don’t ever want a man to use when describing a woman, we also thought “well that word really does describe her to a tee”. The experts felt it necessary to publicly shame Bronson for his behaviour, whilst the charming Ines got off scot-free.
The internet was in an absolute uproar the next day, with an online petition #SetBronsonFree doing the rounds. I tried to comment on MAFS Instagram post but they have restricted the comments so no-one could comment. Which for a TV show, feels like a major cop out. The point I was hoping to bring to their attention, was that if Bronson spoke to Ines the way she did to him, he would have likely been removed from the program, with the producers citing ‘verbal abuse and intimidation’. Especially given his large stature. I tried to call the show out on what I feel is blatant reverse sexism. Which got me thinking, how rife ‘reverse everything-ism’ is in today’s society.
I’m a feminist. Why? Because I believe in gender equality. Plain and simple. But I don’t need to put men down to prove my staunch feminism; that would just make me an assh@le. Whilst I used to love t-shirts that state ‘the future is female’ or sing Beyonce’s lyrics; “who run the world? Girls!” I realise now that this is not helping our cause, and merely alienating some of our brothers. Why would you ever get men to agree in gender equality if they believe that they have to put themselves down to do so? How about, ‘the future is male & female’? If an alien race ever does invade, they won’t need to divide and conquer, they’ll only need to conquer.
Since I was a child, I get very upset and quite teary when I witness racism. I grew up in a generation where we all came from different backgrounds and had pioneering teachers like Miss Dunlop at Newtown High school of the Performing Arts who encouraged us to watch brilliant, eye opening material such as Jane Elliott’s Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes experiment, which hi-lighted just how ridiculous it is to segregate one section of people for something as trivial as colour (watch it on you-tube now, and show your children). I get physically ill when I think of the atrocities that certain groups have had to endure such as the African-American or Jewish communities (it saddens me to my core to think that this is still not yet extinct). I know that a lot of people in the media have voiced opinions that you can’t ever be racist to a white person; I don’t necessarily agree with this. Whilst I admit that in certain societies, more doors are open to white people (unfortunately), I’m still of the belief that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’, and ‘lead by example’. I would struggle to explain to my future children that they’ll just have to put-up with someone picking on them for being white, because evil people committed in-humane acts many years before they were born. Does punishing people in the present make up for the sins of others in our past?
If we want to create a better future, free of prejudice, we should encourage love and kindness to all. How else will we evolve?
I hope that the date of Australia Day is moved by even one day, because as it stands now, I’m terrified to throw a snag on the BBQ for fear I’ll be labelled racist. I don’t believe I am. I’m in agreeance with the Indigenous community (go Yumi!) and for those who just keep saying that we should move on and get over it, allow me to enlighten you with a little perspective in language you might understand. If you’re a follower of that horrendous excuse for public opinion; Pauline Hanson, you’re probably terrified of Asian Invasion or too many Muslims in your backyard. Well let’s say that a whole fleet of them turned up tomorrow, brandishing weapons you’ve never seen before, killing your men, raping your women, stealing your children, then sticking a flag in the ground and conquering your ‘already occupied’ land as their own. Then every year after that, celebrating it with their national dessert and heaps of booze. Would you find it hurtful and insensitive? Another example might be, that my best friend was killed in a car accident on 30th January 2008 by a hit and run driver who got a very short prison sentence. Each year on this date, I have a very heavy heart and am reminded of my loss. What if the driver came over to my house on that day every year with an eski and streamers to celebrate the day he had a fun joy-ride?
I would love to get together with all Australians to celebrate a day that does not symbolise the sins of our ancestors, but rather the new Australia in which we respect each other, in this beautiful sunburnt country. As opposed to the land in which Yumi Stynes was rightly speaking up for those whose voices are not represented in mainstream TV, only to receive weeks of messages from strangers urging her to go and kill herself.
First 5 stages of effective conflict resolution:
- Stay Calm.
- Listen to Understand.
- Accentuate the Positive.
- State Your Case Tactfully.
- Attack the Problem, Not the Person.
I don’t need to put others down to win the argument. I just have to have the more educated and compassionate argument.
I was born into the Catholic faith. I also went to a Catholic Primary School, which truth be told, were some of the best years of my life. Though how terrifying it is today to admit that you’re of this faith because some hateful/uneducated people have tarnished it. I admit that over the years, my faith has drastically evolved from your typical Catholic. I have wonderful friendships with gay men and women, I voted yes on same-sex marriage, I think priests should be allowed to marry and I think that a lot of the bible contain outdated scriptures written by man, not God.
My beliefs mirror that of Jesus: be kind to ALL, don’t judge, spread love, be good to your parents and bless those who sin against you because they need it most (that last one will test your patience). My grade 6 teacher sat us all down in a circle one day to play a game of Chinese whispers, she started with the phrase “I love Jesus” which at the end, after making its way through thirty kids, became “I ate Coco Pops for breakfast”. We all had a good chuckle then my teacher said: “and that’s how the Bible works”. This teacher is now openly gay, and one of the smartest women to ever educate me.
I live with a proud atheist, am related to proud Catholics and have friendships with Muslims, Buddhists & the undecided. Each of these people respect my beliefs and understand that my relationship with Jesus is personal and has been my pillar of strength through every wonderful and heartbreaking moment in my life. I recently attended a different church with someone close to me which was much more personalised and hands on in comparison to my traditional church where most people wake up when it’s time to shake each other’s hands. This room was full of really warm, happy people who wanted to talk and connect. I would hate to think they some people would throw shade on their entire belief system, because some people within that community have opposing and somewhat rigid views. Tony Abbott’s lesbian sister is not a bigot just because she’s related to one. Let us not all be punished for sins of the father.
If we all throw stones at those with hateful views, have we not then become the monster we’re fighting?
Let’s lead the way for our youth by standing up for our beliefs in a compassionate manner. Let’s continue to educate ourselves on other cultures/genders/Religions. Let’s actively work together to create a society built on mutual respect, love and kindness.
I can only pray that my future children look up to me more than those sisters who have amassed an empire on the back of a leaked sex tape.