By Lipi Mehta:
When Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau was asked why it was important to him that his cabinet was ‘gender balanced’, he smiled and replied, “Because it’s 2015!” Hell yeah, no further explanations needed. It’s ridiculous now that we think of it, that such a question even had to be asked. But let’s face it – it’s 2016 and such questions will be asked this year too. It’s 2016 and we still don’t have basic equal rights across the world and many more Trudeaus might need to make many more such statements before we can see change happening across the world. Yes, of course, there are a few things that make the optimist in us believe that this year will be better than the last, but we can’t ignore how much more still needs to be done.
A Twitter trend, #Its2016AndWeStillDon’t, revealed just that. While many (and I mean MANY) tweets were about also about how One Direction and its members can be ‘real’ (Pls Liam, stop now), and how many of us still haven’t received a hug from Justin Bieber (the pain is real), there were some others that specifically caught my attention. Read them here and you’ll know how it really, really sucks that we’re in 2016, but have a long way to go.
#Its2016AndWeStillDont live in a world without war, racism, sexism, body shaming, violence, homophobes and judgmental people.
— Reilly (@reicove17) January 8, 2016
#Its2016AndWeStillDont understand that girls wearing make up and ‘revealing’ clothing is not an invitation for men to harass or abuse them
— ♡♡ (@hannawwh) January 8, 2016
#Its2016AndWeStillDont blame the rapist if rape happens
— mol loves ashton ◡̈ (@beanieirwins) January 8, 2016
A rapist causes rape. Not anyone’s clothes or appearance or the time of day or anything else. Take a look at some of the horrifying things victim-blamers have said. Still need more reason to believe that we need to stop this now?
#Its2016AndWeStillDont take mental health as seriously as we do physical health
— Spread the Love (@Spreading_L0ve) January 8, 2016
According to WHO, 1 out of 4 people in the world are likely to be affected by a mental health issue at some point of time in their lives. Despite this, we still need someone to be affected with a physical disease for them to be taken seriously. (Read: I Wish I Had A Physical Illness Instead, So People Would Believe I Was Unwell)
#Its2016AndWeStillDont understand that depression is a real, life threatening disease
— |ciara-/ (@ciarapark17) January 8, 2016
Globally, an estimated 350 million people suffer from depression. Let’s not brush it away as ‘just a phase’ or ‘a bad day’. It’s important that we know what it is and how it can affect us or someone we care about. Here’s a 5-minute guide to understanding depression and how to deal with it.
#Its2016AndWeStillDont realize that we’re all beautiful, not ugly, not fat, but really beautiful inside and out?
— Ya Boy (@GrandesGuns) January 8, 2016
Accepting people for who they are as people, and not based on how they look – of course, that’s how it should be, but really not how it is. Societal norms and stigma too, force an individual to try and ‘be’ or ‘look’ a certain way and that’s just… no. (Read: I Will Use The Word ‘Fat’ Without Feeling Sorry, But Will Society Let Me?)
— jen miller (@jenerallyspeaks) January 8, 2016
We still live in a world where kids are forced to adhere to gender norms when it’s really the time they should be free to explore their sexuality, and embrace who they are. Take for instance the story of trans teen Shivy, who was forced to be a ‘proper girl’ by his parents. And the worst part? This has even forced many young people to commit suicide.
— Gord Macey (@GordMacey) January 8, 2016
In India, actors like Anushka Sharma and Priyanka Chopra have recently spoken out against this but it’s thoroughly upsetting how we don’t have a clear answer to when women and girls across the world will have equal opportunities. To begin with, should we first embrace ‘feminism‘ instead of thinking it’s a bad word?
#Its2016AndWeStillDont acknowledge that menstruation is not a luxury and therefore women should not be taxed on their sanitary products
— ElizaDaisy (@ElizaFrayn) January 8, 2016
Apart from sanitary pads still being taxed, let’s take a step back and acknowledge the pervasive stigma that still exists when it comes to menstruation. However, with people across genders taking it upon themselves to smash the taboos and challenge patriarchy, hope is definitely alive.
#Its2016AndWeStillDont Have equal rights for everyone.
— James Wilson (@SameSaysJames) January 8, 2016
How long till we realise that those who are ‘different’ are actually just who they are? And acceptance is just so much better than putting people in boxes, isn’t it? (Read:‘I May Be Female, Asian, Homosexual, But I’m Also Things Stereotypes Can’t Capture’)