I recently received an email in which I was asked why I use content warnings, and why I think they're important. This is not the first time that this question has been asked and it certainly won't be the last. Often people think that including content warnings is pandering to people who get offended about anything. Where will it end is basically the gist of that statement. They think that content warnings are for 'overly sensitive' people; they think that if they don't need content warnings, no one should need them. This is probably an oversimplification of the anti-content warnings argument but I don't have the time/energy to go into them in depth.
Around Australia, demonstrations such as this have been taking place for the last week. Thousands have rallied together in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart and now Brisbane. Why are we coming together like this? The reasons are varied; to welcome refugees, to take a stand against detention centres, to take a stand against wars that cause people to flee their countries, and to remember Aylan Kurdi.
In case you missed it, Aylan Kurdi was a 3 year old boy who was recently found dead, washed up on a beach in Turkey, after his family was forced to flee from Syria and was making their third attempt at a new life. His brother and mother also died. You can read more about it here (content warning: contains an image of Aylan, dead).
Aylan and his family are not the only people dying to get somewhere safe; 800 African refugees died in a week in April, hundreds have died coming to Australia and some have died in Australian detention centres, "More than 1,750 migrants perished in the Mediterranean since the start of the year". People don't risk their lives for no reason. They are running away from terrible situations and deserve to be treated well and with welcoming arms.
In Australia, however, our Government (ALP and LNP) have supported the off-shore "processing" of asylum seekers, in places that have been revealed to be filled with child sexual assault, suicide, self harm, abuse and more terrible things. LNP leader and Prime Minister Tony Abbott originally refused to take in any refugees from Syria, but has recently changed his position to a measly 12,000 - with there rumoured to be a focus on Christians (note: originally this was just as part of the existing quota for refugee intake, not on top of it, but due to pressure he has changed his position again). Tony Abbott will, at the same time, be sending troops to bomb Syria.
Back to the Light the Dark vigil:
On Thursday, September 3rd, I joined in and listened to the two hour long Men & Feminism panel being hosted by the UQU Women's Collective for their Feminist Fortnight event. It was a very interesting night and I wanted to share my thoughts and the things that I picked up from that evening with people who may not have been able to attend.
There were four panelists:
Dr Jonathan Crowe, Associate Professor at the School of Law at UQ
Thomas Parer, Secretary of UQ Sexual Health Action Group (SHAG), Engagement Director of UQ United Nations Student Association
Mitch Robson, who I think was a member of UQU and mentioned helping people find work and also being a counsellor
Tasman Bain, Co-Founder and Deputy Director of Meri Toksave, involved in heaps of other things and likes potatoes
And the on-task moderator:
Dr Amy Dobson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies
I'm going to break up what was discussed into three main themes:
Can men call themselves feminists?
What feminist actions can men take?
How does the construction of gender negatively effect men?
This blog contains posts about my personal life, as well as feminism, gender, comics, eco-friendly products and other things I find interesting. My fiction/poetry works can be found here. All posts are written by Keira Edwards-Huolohan and belong to me. Please credit me if you share them. My pronouns are they/them.
© Keira Edwards-Huolohan 2013 - 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keira Edwards-Huolohan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.