Pride

 

Stand up. No!

Hide yourself

Colourful soul

Painted black and white

Printer’s out of ink

But colour still lives

Rainbows in pockets

And quiet closets

Outside, people scream

And warn against

Devil’s child they call me

burn with the rest they said

But heaven created rainbows

And I am the prism.

By Raine

Raine is a queer, minority artist who (unironically) enjoys walks in the rain, reading and writing soul-baring poetry.

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What about mental health?

As humans, we take care of ourselves – our hair, our nails, our skin, and when we are down with a fever, we rest. However, what most of us fail to do is to look after of our mental health. Why is this concept so hard for us to wrap around our heads? Well, the simple answer to that would be that we, not only as individuals but as a society, have trivialised and ignored the causes and consequences of mental health disorders.

A good example of the ignorance shown towards mental health disorders would be how most people react to a physical illness versus a mental disorder.

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This comic strip shows how people usually respond to mental health disorders. However, here we see how they use the same responses to physical illnesses. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

One of the reasons most people react in this manner is because a mental health disorder cannot be seen; you may notice that someone is depressed or acting unusual, however, you cannot measure someone’s depression or schizophrenia with a thermometer like you do with a fever.

Another reason that people respond this way is due to their sheer lack of knowledge on mental health disorders. Many parents overlook significant symptoms in their children as they pass it off as “school or workplace stress”, however, there is a difference between a healthy amount of stress and having an anxiety disorder.

The ignorance and trivialisation of mental health disorders should be treated as a serious issue as it contributes to the stigmatisation of these disorders. Examples of unhelpful advice include telling a person with depression to “cheer up and go out with some friends” – if it were that easy, the 300 million individuals who suffer from depression, globally, would probably not have depression.

The romanticisation of mental health disorders, in popular media, is another major contributor to the trivialization of mental health. Unfortunately, many people believe that having depression or anorexia is desirable because it’s “cute.”

Imagine this: a young person, who suffers from depression, logging onto social media to see posts glorifying mental health disorders and suicide and make them seem like an envious state of being – they start to believe that this is a valid solution to their problems, instead of seeking actual help.

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It is quite common for people to say things like “I’m so OCD” or “She’s bipolar” and what they don’t realise is that they are using actual disorders to describe themselves or somebody else as if it is some label. These are mental health disorders that hinder people’s everyday lives, leaving many of them feeling helpless because of how their illness is made to seem almost attractive.

It’s about time we realise that mental well-being is just as important as physical health. Not just that, if someone, whether that’s your sibling, a friend, or an acquaintance, comes to you seeking advice, try not to tell them that “life’s hard.” It takes an immense amount of courage to speak to someone about an issue that is made fun of by an alarming number of people. Encourage them to see a therapist; it’s not as daunting or embarrassing as people make it seem.

Want to know more about mental health? Visit these websites:
http://www.who.int/en/
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Some apps that are great in helping maintain mindfulness and mental health:
https://www.headspace.com/
https://www.calm.com/
http://www.simplehabit.com/


Harshita Shriyan
Founder & Head of Design at The Order of Equality

This Week in Goodness

As someone who prides herself on her absolutely incredible taste when it comes to practically everything (as well as her obvious modesty), I want to share a few things that I’ve loved recently – with you! It’s all nicely packaged into different sections -just for your eyes.

MUSIC

Goddess – BANKS

BANKS’ practically self-titled album (get it?) is a masterpiece from start to finish. I’ve loved BANKS for as long as I can remember and even though the album came out over two years ago, I always find myself returning to it, when I’m upset or happy or in any mood under the sun. I’m actually listening to Brain as I write this! (#WhatFourthWall) BANKS’ has a hauntingly beautiful voice that is incomparable. A compilation of incredible music, track after track, is something very few artists can achieve but BANKS does it, on her debut album nonetheless.

DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

Anyone who has been on the Internet in April knows exactly how ready we all were for this album. Kendrick’s production definitely takes centre stage on this album but his lyricism still remains far away from backup. As per usual, his music tells a story, as is heard in BLOOD. If you’ve never embraced the combination of political discourse and art that is his music, DAMN. is a fabulous place to begin. Trust me when I say that it’s time the world gives Kendrick Lamar the appreciation he deserves.

Hijabi – Mona Haydar

Mona Haydar is amazing. I never thought I was someone who enjoys the combination of traditional Asian sounds with hip-hop/rap/electronic music (with the undeniable exceptions of Horsepowar, Mura Masa and Nucleya. Obviously.) but Mona made me a believer. In her debut single, she destroys so many stereotypes surrounding the hijab and its wearer. Her equally incredible music video features hijabi women of various ethnicities and outfits, whilst including a pregnant yet badass Haydar. It is super intersectional, just like Haydar’s own brand of feminism.

READING

Palestine (A Personal History) – Karl Sabbagh

If you are interested in learning about the beginnings of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Al-Nakhba, but don’t know where to start, I’d suggest starting with Sabbagh’s autobiographical work that details his father’s time covering the 1947 UN vote about the conflict and the partition of Palestine, as well as the subsequent creation of Israel. The book beautifully deals with the issue at hand and chances are you will tear up at the end of the book.

The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir

In the words of Camille Rowe, “aujourd’hui je m’en sens très Simone de Beauvoir.” Born during the existentialist movement in France, The Second Sex explores all aspects of second-wave feminism. It is considered by many to be an “essential read for all feminists” and I strongly agree. While you may not agree with all of de Beauvoir’s ideas, I think that your literary education would be incomplete without at least an attempt at reading it!

Race Rebels (Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class) – Robin D.G. Kelley

So, I read the eighth chapter of Race Rebels, called: Kickin’ Reality, Kickin’ Ballistics. The chapter deals with Los Angeles post-industrialisation and the genre of “gangsta rap.” As a strong proponent of rap music and a widely known history and race relations’ nerd, I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter and really like the premise of the book. However, I’d recommend it as reading for anyone who is looking for a good, meaty read!

Poems by Nizar Qabbani

I absolutely adore poetry. Like a lot. I am also super interested in the Middle East. So, I was bound to find Qabbani’s poetry soon enough. With a beautiful and incredibly touching register, Qabbani will drag you into his world and make you want to stay in his words forever. A good place to begin would be my favourite – The Face of Qana. Superb imagery and really sensitive content. Explore at your own risk.

WATCHING

The Get Down

I know. “But all we’re hearing about is the GET DOWN! It’s everywhere!” This is true. But… THE GET DOWN IS SO GOOD. It explores the lives of five fictional members of a DJ crew living in the Bronx and it explores it like a dream. I am in awe of Baz Luhrmann’s characterisation and the portrayal of these amazing people. If you only decide to consume one of the things on this list, watch the Get Down. And thank us.

Dear White People

The iconic 2014 film is now a TV show. Yes, folks. Watch the lives of Sam and her peers at Winchester in episode format and soak in the true artistic beauty and political themes at your leisure. In all seriousness, the film version truly introduced me to the extremely intricate world of race politics and it’s definitely a good thing to binge-watch next weekend.

DNA. – Kendrick Lamar

You may argue that this listicle contains two too many mentions of Kendrick Lamar but once you see this music video, you’ll know why. Don Cheadle is in it and it’s so well made and extremely enjoyable! I have nothing much to say about it as the video itself speaks volumes. Go forth and appreciate!

On that note, this post comes to an end. The world is full incredible and interesting artists and ideas – we’re here to promote those to you. A disclaimer- All things mentioned here are things we’ve actually enjoyed and we are *not* being paid to promote them. If you have recommendations or questions of any kind, feel free to contact us through the contact form, our social medias and our email! Enjoy them and make it a lovely week!♥


Paroma Mehta
Head of Social Media at The Order of Equality

We’re meant to be

They said we’re not meant to be,

Our love for each other, society chose not to see,

They said our bond is unnatural,

Our togetherness is preposterous, so terribly immoral.

But you and I, we broke all bounds,

Ignored all criticisms,

Affection is all that counts,

We’re finally free of this cataclysm,

To nothing it amounts.

“You two can’t be together!”

“You both belong to the same gender!”

“What will people say? What are you trying to engender?”

“You’re a convict of god, you are his offender.”

What happened to human hearts, shouldn’t they be tender?

Society’s norms,

They make us blind,

Love comes in all forms,

And is of every kind,

Meaning in this,

Why is it so hard to find?

For my love for you,

Nothing is curative,

To you I will be true,

Your love works as an incentive.

I’d rather be bludgeoned to death,

If not in your arms,

Let anything pose a threat,

even society’s norms.

But you and I, we’re ironclad,

Even when times had gotten unimaginably bad,

We were sanguine, high hopefulness we had

We ignored society’s scepticism and accusations of being mad.

We were locked in orthodox chambers,

Where society posed as chains,

Although we were a cause of infuriation and anger,

From something we had a right on,

We chose not to refrain.

The elderly rejected us since ‘ethics’, got in the way,

On seeing us mothers kept their children, evidently away,

The youth fearing society,

had nothing to say,

They all mockingly said, “In a different direction they sway.”

But come has the day,

when personal choice,

Is given acceptance,

When people have their own voice,

And are not subjects of abhorrence.

Faltering homophobia,

A reason of our euphoria,

The end of dystopia,

the inception of utopia.

Society posed endless complexities,

Pin-pointed our peculiarities,

Insulted our individuality, accused

us of insanity,

Shunned homosexuality,

But, thankfully,

For a crime of which we’re not guilty,

We’ve finally been given amnesty.

by Shagun Sachar

Shagun Sachar, aka The Spectacled Brunette,  is a teenage writer who is passionate about social equality and is not shy to express it. She writes for her own blog, poeticgallimaufries.blog/, where she slays the ignorant!

 

What about white feminism?

White feminism can be defined as a branch of feminism centred on the ideals and struggles of primarily white women. While not outrightly exclusive, it is the failure to consider the problems faced by people of colour, the LGBTQ+ spectrum and differently abled people.

White feminism is a particular branch of feminism centred on white women. Feminists of different races, gender identities and nationalities relay their opinions on white feminism.

 

White feminism can be defined as a branch of feminism centred on the ideals and struggles of primarily white women. While not outrightly exclusive, it is the failure to consider the problems faced by people of colour, the LGBTQ+ spectrum and differently abled people. It is a stark contrast to intersectional feminism. People who use the term ‘White Feminism’ also tend to subscribe to the concept of ‘Intersectional Feminism’. Intersectionality is used when one considers social inequality and systemic inequality regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and ability.

You could say that a prime example of a white feminist is Taylor Swift. Although, she openly speaks out against sexism when it comes to criticism in the music industry, she has largely remained silent, and has publicly dismissed Nicki Minaj, when she pointed out the prevalence of racism in the music industry (such as low representation/credit at awards shows and being represented in the media as the stereotype of a raging angry black woman).

When the concept of white feminism was posed to us, we decided to explore this uncharted territory by interviewing people ourselves. We interviewed feminists from different walks of life to glean their opinions on white feminism. We found people of different races, nationalities and gender identities.

Stella, Guinean, female, black: “I personally think that the idea of feminism is really important and benefits everyone because it defends the equality of the races and the genders. Because you know, who doesn’t want to be treated equally? Unfortunately, nowadays most people have a pretty negative vision of feminism for several reasons:

  • Radical feminists who don’t understand the basic concept and think that we want women to be superior to men, which is totally wrong and upsetting.
  • Some of the feminists, when they happen to meet somebody who has different opinions than theirs (and often considered as sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc.) immediately insult the person and don’t take the time to explain how their opinion is offensive which is, in my opinion, a great way to educate people.
  • One of the ‘dark sides’ of feminism is white feminism. We call it this way because it is only supported by white, cisgender (those whose personal identity corresponds to their birth gender), able-bodied females. It is the kind of feminism who doesn’t consider the struggles of people of colour, disabled people, people who are not females and people who are not straight.”

Maryam Aboellail, Arab-American, female: “I think that white feminism is pretty much useless because the goal of feminism is to create equality and white feminism doesn’t do that. All it does is create even more disparity among women of different races. By saying and acting like all women are in the same place when it comes to social privilege, one completely ignores the fact that women of colour are at an even larger disadvantage. So often, the misogyny we face is racialised and the racism we face is misogynised. White feminism offers no help for women of colour or people of colour in general. White feminism also largely ignores issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community and women in other countries where they have far fewer rights. Feminism that doesn’t help all women isn’t really feminism and it’s just helping oneself while ignoring everyone else’s problems. So, no, I don’t think white feminism can even be called feminism at all.”

Xavier, American, non-binary, black: “Well, white feminism to me is usually annoying and personally offensive. I’m a non-binary (female at birth) person of colour, who happens to be in a same-sex relationship. I tend to be left out of a lot of what they consider to be feminism. They usually forget about trans people in general, especially transwomen issues. Honestly, they forget usually about anyone who’s not cisgendered, straight, and usually white. Intersectionality scares a lot of them, instead of seeing equality in it, they just see themselves being lowered. It’s equal to misogynists hating feminism. They rarely accept any kind of criticism.”

Kiera, American, female, Indian/Irish: “Although I understand that the intentions of white feminists are inherently good (they do want rights for women), they fail to recognise that some women have fewer rights than others, and continue to group every single woman, no matter the extra oppression she may face; that is, outside of her being a woman, into a single clump of ‘We’re all oppressed’. It is true that all women are oppressed, but the level of oppression of a woman varies based on things like race, sexuality, gender identity, disabilities and other things that are often used to discriminate against people who fall into categories other than cisgendered, straight, able-bodied, white and neurotypical.”

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Fabianna Tamborino, Venezuelan, female, white: “Venezuela is a Latin country, Latinos come in all shapes and skin tones, so there’s not a lot of discrimination in our communities since (like I already said) most Venezuelans are POC (people of colour). Sadly, there IS a lot of sexism and classism. My opinion would be that I feel like no matter your race, gender or social status you should still CARE about other people’s issues, especially when it comes to discrimination. We’re all human beings and sometimes people forget that. If you only care about things that affect YOU or your ‘group’ then you’re just being selfish and ignorant. Being a real feminist means that you support ALL KINDS OF WOMEN, that you will fight for their rights and that you — stand up against people who discriminate against them. If white people keep turning a blind eye towards POC issues just because they’re not directly affected by it then we’re never going to abolish racism for good. My POC girlfriends have never experienced discrimination because of their skin tone in Venezuela (I hope it stays that way) but I know that if it were to happen I would stand up for them.”

Alyssa, American/Jamaican, female, white: “I think white feminism is terrible, because it’s so widely seen as the standard of feminism in the media, which leaves for little representation or light shed on the issues of people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, etc. It also poorly represents the feminist community as a whole, because people see white feminists and think, “Okay, this is understandable.” But as soon as intersectionality is involved everyone’s more reluctant to believe our cause. An example is when people get upset when feminists suggest using different language because certain words are ableist. Overall, I think that it’s really harmful to the fight for intersectionality in equality.”

Madison, Guyanese/Jamaican, female, black: “White feminism isn’t feminism period. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, then what is it? Honestly, if you can only support your own race, and don’t include your fellow women, then you are a part of the problem. Many times, people are white feminists, unknowingly. However, it is not an excuse.”

Pratyusha, female, Indian: “White feminism, in my opinion, covers only a few bases of what could support and protect women and men in the USA, and in my opinion, it is a rather new concept only recently uncovered. Because it is clear that the rest of us don’t fall under that umbrella of protection. Intersectionality is important to me. Very much. Because without the understanding of both feminism and a place, its culture and people and how patriarchy works with men and women in that particular region, we wouldn’t be able to address any real problems at all, and instead end up smothering those who need support and active education of their rights and matters.”

Ana, Bosnian/Serbian/Montenegrin, female, white: “White feminism is harmful because it perpetuates the idea of whiteness as the default and reduces the myriad of issues women and men face down to simplistic one-dimensional tidbits that are easy to consume. Intersectionality is absolutely vital to ensure inclusion of experiences that all people face otherwise feminism benefits only those who already hold power and further disenfranchises and silences those without. Feminism looks different for everyone, but at the core must be the idea that all people regardless of identity face struggles due to unequal power structures and we all share a responsibility in perpetuating and subsequently dismembering them.”

For feminism to work and for women to get the rights they deserve, the approach must be neutral and all-encompassing. Because if certain groups no matter how fringe or minor are left out, then it isn’t feminism, it’s just another form of racism.


Smriti Ghildiyal
Head of Editing at The Order of Equality

A Guide to being Brown and Gay

On Saturday night, reel in a Bollywood movie.

Watch one with not too much thought and just enough hilarity to make up for it

Do not cringe at the

Effeminate boys with obnoxious lisps,

Pink collars turned upwards.

A he? A she? Tainted red lips and a stubble.

Laugh at their oddity.

No punch lines;

Just people.

Giggle because

It feels right to.

A cacophony of laughter surrounds you

You do not want to be left out of the orchestra.

Do you?

 

Do not even dare to know what the word “gay” means

Until it is too late to take back everything you said.

A word to be hushed around aunties.

Let them never know the extent of your vocabulary,

Let it never be cause for them to criticise your parents.

A word to use with a smirk around your friends,

A badge of your notorious maturity,

A symbol of your rebellion, to utter such a forbidden tune

Ignore the cloud of doubt forming in your head.

 

Learn quick and fast that life

Is never going to be like the movies.

See, in movies, gay people are jokes – lighthearted interventions and giggle generators.

In the real world, they are rag dolls.

Blink back your tears when the same Bhaiya who promised you

That the sky was not breaking just because there was thunder

Paints two boys the shade of the storm for holding hands.

Do not ask your parents why with all the rage you can muster.

Stay silent.

 

Shoot dirty looks at the girl with

Short hair and holes in her face.

Echo your friend when she calls

Her a “freak”

Try not to stare at how pink her lips are.

Do not dream about kissing them.

 

Brown girls were not made to be entangled with another.

Melanin-rich skin was not made to be indulged by the fingertips of anyone else.

Sin is not something that runs in the blood of Indians.

Bite your lips and swallow your tongue.

Do not try to survive in a world that wasn’t made for you.

Do not convince yourself that wrong things could never feel that right.

 

Play back the movie.

Laugh at the jokes.

Stare at the freaks.

Do not question what you’re not supposed to.

There is no pride

In being an oddity.

By Namah Jaggi

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Namah is a sixteen-year-old from Mumbai who likes to think she’s the paragon of audacity. She enjoys ice cream, rickshaw rides in the rain and the destruction of capitalism.