Touchy Subjects

“If a girl is fat, guys won’t look at her” – Why should a women’s appearance be dictated by the desire of a man?

“Gay marriage is unnatural, bad for demographics” – So if you prohibit gay marriage, do you think that homosexuality will cease to exist?

“Black Lives Matter activists are terrorists” – In fact, the majority of terrorists in modern-day US are white men, and the Black Lives Matter movement comes as a result of a long history of racial inequality and police brutality against black people that is still present today.

“Have you noticed all the Caucasians here?” – ….

Some words that I’ve heard so far that have stood out to me. I try not to judge individuals or take things personally, but rather to explain what I think of such statements, question their stance and discuss both points. Being angry doesn’t solve anything and it’s not going to alter stigmas that are often deep-rooted within any society.

This doesn’t mean shying away from speaking my own mind. On the contrary, when faced with opinions that I find downright offensive, such as the above, I will happily take the opportunity to debate the subject. In particular, statements and actions concerning sexual equality ring true from a personal point of view. The objectification of women continues to undermine the struggle for equal rights between the sexes, and is somewhat exacerbated by the traditional roles still allocated to men and women in Russian society. From the idea that women should look a certain way in order to please men, to the idea that a male has the instinctive authority to control a female, to a friend being told that her long-sleeved crop top was too provocative to wear at uni, everyday sexism is rife. Racism and homophobia follow close behind.

But it’s not all bad. As mentioned in my last post, I have been pleasantly surprised so far to find many people here with whom I share common ideas, who notice inequality and want to make changes. I look forward to discussing such issues deeper, to challenging misconceptions and being challenged in return.

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