*Warning - Contains some insulting and hostile examples of racism
The world is in a state of serious unrest. The abuse being experienced in homes, schools and countries all over the world, the civil wars burning away in the background, the terrorism, bigotry and racism, homophobia and sexism is affecting billions of people. If this is not a World War – violence, fear and abuse that is affecting us globally - then what is?
In the U.K. over the past year we've seen multiple terrorist attacks across the country, carried out by known terrorist groups and suicide bombers, such as the May 2017 attack at Manchester Arena. These attacks have been defined as acts of Islamic Extremism and many are blaming the Islamic religion and people for these crimes. This, mixed with BREXIT, the appointment of Trump as president and everything else in the media, people's opinions of Islam and Muslim people are more public than ever, many being extremely judgemental and offensive towards an unfairly categorised group of people. This has been an enormous step back for respect, equality and our society.
*This blog was written in response to reader request
In Schools, Colleges and University’s all over the world, teenagers have to undergo extreme daily pressure to look, dress, behave, act and talk in a certain way, or face being thrown right to the bottom of their schools societal hierarchy. It is a dangerous world past the iron gates, and everyone knows who is different, weird or doesn't fit in.
I played a cat and mouse game for a very long time, being the one who stood out as 'unusual' and awkward before I joined in 'the cats' and experienced what life is like with so-called respect and popularity...
In the UK, 67% of men and 57% of women are overweight or obese, and in children the statistics are on the rise too: 26% of boys and 29% of girls.
Our society seems to be growing in size, quite rapidly. This is not news, and the statistics above did not ‘just happen’, the rates of obesity have been climbing for many years… So what’s been done about it?
91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.”
Ah, of course – DIETING. The thing almost everyone has tried; the glamourized solution to global weight gain. So what exactly is this fabulous mechanism that promises to put an end to ‘fat’ and helps you say hello to toned figures? Well, diets come in lots of different types, forms and sizes. There is a huge variety, including things like:
Over the past week I’ve been doing work experience at a huge hospital with over 5,000 members of staff. I spent time in many of the different departments/wards; orthopaedics, the dementia unit, anaesthetic area, A&E etc., and spent time with tens of different staff members including theatre support staff, nurses, receptionists and doctors.
Some of the things I saw in places like A&E and the intensive care unit were just that… intense. Being surrounded by sick patients, ill elderly people and those who were severely injured wasn’t a very uplifting environment (as you could probably guess), and on top of that there were many distraught families, relatives and friends coming to visit their loved ones in the hospital, which really did constantly remind me that every patient wasn’t just a number on a sheet, but they had a whole lot of people worried about them.
I only spent a week there, and by the end of it I was absolutely exhausted and was considerably humbled by my experiences.
I began to question how these doctors, nurses and staff did this every day. They see the very pinnacle of humanities’ disregard and dis-ease, so how on earth do they handle it?
1. Having sex under the age of 16 with someone older is ILLEGAL
2. Your bodies are simply not ready at that age; there are dangers
Teachers can make pretty persuasive arguments from time to time, and this is a topic they can be very strong about. So why are the rates of underage sex still so high? They tick all the boxes at school in regards to educating us on the dangers and laws, so could it be there is something else at play here?
I was sitting in a lesson the other day, and overheard a conversation between two girls sat next to me. They were talking about one of their friends (who is quite widely known in our school), and how she had Facebook messaged them with pictures of her body – covered in all the bruises and bumps she had received from her boyfriend. They were exclaiming how during arguments he would kick her off the bed, hit her and yell, and how it got to the point where the girl couldn’t take it any longer and ended it. But, recently they had gotten back together, and their friend kept telling them she was ‘as happy as she’d ever been’. I happen to be friends with the girl on Facebook – and almost every picture she posts is of her and her boyfriend together; holding hands, kissing, close – the photos all suggest that the relationship she has is a loving one… Yet behind the scenes this is not the case. And this is certainly not the first time I’ve heard this kind of thing.
The conversation these two girls had stayed in my mind the entire day, and I thought about all of the small, little, hidden acts of abuse I see on a day to day basis that are accepted as the norm. Things like:
~DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER~
From a very young age, boys and girls like to tease each other that they are a part of the ‘better gender’. Things like - ‘Girls are smarter’, ‘No! Boys are smarter, and we’re stronger too’, are yelled across the playground even in first school, and as we get older the arguments can become laced with something else – a desire to prove that we are superior. But where does this desire come from? And why is it that we are so busy focusing on ourselves, our own gender, and seeing everyone else as ‘less’ that we forget we are all in fact young people going through similar pressures and problems.
I’ll give an example – the media plays a huge part in every teenagers life, and I know that girls (like me) undergo a lot of pressure to be skinny, look glamorous, keep up with the latest trends and know what’s ‘hip’ and what’s not. Until quite recently I believed that girls had a MUCH tougher time than boys did – male models are almost never super skinny, certainly not borderline anorexic like some female models you see on the catwalk, but never did I stop to actually take a good look at how men are portrayed by the media. In my mind girls were the victims, we were the ones that had it hard, not boys.
For a lot of people, there has always been a clear mental line between being in a relationship and being single, and obviously due to age, when you’re an adult being in a relationship often means marriage. But from what I have noticed, and I am not sure if others have experienced the same, is that for young people, the line is becoming more blurred; there are about ten different kinds of ‘relationship’ you could be in. A relationship could mean boyfriend/girlfriend, or it could be non-exclusive and just someone to ‘hook up with’ now and again. A relationship for some is even an arrangement where 2 people plan to ‘make out’ (or more) at any parties they go to together. ‘Seeing each other’ is one of teenager’s favourite phrases – this kind of relationship allows them to have a ‘hook up’, while their partner remains dispensable, and I know many couples that have split up over the debate of whether or not they were allowed to see other people at the same time.
Many people believe that racism is an epidemic of the past, that the N word is no longer slang and that minority inequality is no longer a large issue, especially for teenagers. Although I do agree; many vile and aggressive forms of racism have been dramatically reduced, such as slavery, race separatism in public venues and violence towards those of certain ethnic backgrounds, I know I have witnessed first hand a large amount of racially abusive language, and read about many instances where discrimination is still current.
As a society, we measure and judge people for what they achieve and what accolades they earn in education. But how can you judge an entire person based on if they get a A*, D, or drop out of school. We generally would assume that a drop out or a home schooled student will not get a high paid job, change the world or do something revolutionary...
But who's to say they won't?
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and motion picture camera, some amazing inventions that shaped our life now... Yet he dropped out of school after only three months of formal education and was home schooled by his mother afterwards.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.