Coronavirus Chaos

I think it’s safe to say that people are going insane, and rightly so. According to MSNBC, as of today there are 168, 019 cases and at least 6,610 deaths worldwide. The growing fear has resulted in mile-long lines at supermarkets, and weirdly enough, a shortage of toilet paper.

Regarding border control, here in Canada, Justin Trudeau just closed our borders to everyone except for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and U.S. citizens. (His reaction was a tad delayed, and was probably only prompted by his wife testing positive for Coronavirus.) Sure, maybe it makes us feel a bit safer, but are we panicking too much?

Yes. We watch the news which often feature a panel of doctors who answer viewers’ questions. When viewers see this, they think “wow this is so out of control that we need five doctors to explain what’s going on.” If you listen carefully though, you’ll realize that they’re all saying the same thing. Honestly, I have a theory that if you listen to too many shows like that, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Regardless, it’s great that we have so many resources to keep us informed. We just need to know when to take a step back.

It’s so important to be diligent and mindful. Frequent hand washing (which seems to be a new thing to an unsettling amount of people,) disinfecting phones and surfaces, etc… But there is no need to overdo it completely. For example, if you use hand sanitizer twice a day, now use it four times a day. Simply be a decent citizen and do your part.

There has been debate around Fox News calling Coronavirus the “Wuhan Virus.” Liberal media immediately pushed back calling the term racist. I can see their point, but I’m not sure “racist” is the right term since the virus did originate in Wuhan. “Unnecessary” would be more appropriate because during a crisis, we want to focus on a solution and not on passing blame.

Let’s go on a trip down memory lane. There was SARS. There was Mad Cow Disease. There was H1N1 and Swine Flu. There were countless other diseases which we survived!! We have no choice other than to ride this out, so in the meantime…

Landmark sentencing for #MeToo

The Daily Beast

On March 11, Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer and now convicted sex offender, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex crimes. I’m going to start by saying that in a previous post, I confidently claimed that Weinstein would get off completely because there was talk of a $44 million settlement.

I was wrong. And I’m so happy I was.

To hear how he terrorized these women physically, verbally and sexually for decades was beyond disturbing. When Weinstein talked about how his children don’t keep in contact with him in his statement, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. He never once gave his children a thought when he was raping women in his hotel room, so to play that card in court was just…tacky, I suppose.

The reason I titled this post a landmark sentencing is because women who have suffered at the hands of their abusers have finally been heard. I bet Harvey Weinstein didn’t think his crimes would end up being his biggest downfall, and the best part is, no amount of money could save him. I’ve said before that money would frequently take priority over integrity, but this story really proved that this isn’t always the case. I sincerely hope March 11, 2020 inspires more victims to take action, and encourages men to think twice before sexually harassing or assaulting someone.

I can agree with Weinstein on one thing: he once said that everyone deserves a second chance. It’s very true. The women who he victimized deserve a second chance at life; they deserve to live a life free of fear and anxiety. Him? Not so much.

Sky News

Thank you to all the brave women who came forward with their stories. Thank you to Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and all the other journalists who made sure those stories were told.

When feminism goes too far

Women have been overlooked for far too long. Our accomplishments, ideas, and goals have been swept under the carpet in favour of what men want. The good news is: we now have women marches and feminist movements to shine a light on what we want.

Your Dream Big

BUT! (and there is a big but here) At some point in time, that light shone a little too bright. An example would be after the Oscars this year. Why was Rose McGowan against Natalie Portman’s dress, when all it did was acknowledge female directors in a subtle way?

I’m going to preface my theory by saying that I do not intend to make this about celebrity gossip. I want to make this about how feminism has gone off the deep end, and possibly right through the Bermuda Triangle. By complaining about celebrating male directors is nothing but reverse sexism; feminists are not practicing what they preach. Just because we are women does not mean that we have the right to win awards that we don’t deserve. Of course awards shows are not 100% credible, and the outcomes are sometimes influenced by industry politics.

Rose McGowan, and other feminists who claim they are more proactive need to continue doing their part. We are inspired by their efforts and celebrate all things feminist. The healthy way to proceed would be to encourage other women to join them. If you don’t like someone’s weak attempt at protest, just leave them alone! There are bigger issues in the world without bombarding us with this high school like drama.

The conclusion: reverse sexism = hypocrisy. Call to action: let’s fix that.

Harvey Weinstein is going free

I know it’s not a popular opinion, or what people want to hear, but the truth is: I think Harvey Weinstein is getting off. But he sexually assaulted all those women; he traumatized them. How could he go free? Let me explain.

First of all, I think we can all agree that the American justice system sees colour. There was no issue sentencing Bill Cosby, and R Kelly will undoubtedly get the full 500 years in prison he is facing. To be clear, they both deserve it. Weinstein, on the other hand, is a wealthy white male — three characteristics that are a great privilege in America.

The Economic Times

Second of all, Weinstein’s defence team will question the accusers’ motives. They’re going to ask “Did you continue to see him? If so, why would you do that if he sexually assaulted you before?” They’re going to press for details about the movies the actresses have been in, and whether or not Weinstein produced said movies. The truth is, there might be some women who kept going back to him out of fear of losing their careers, not because they were attracted to him. Weinstein was well aware of this, and he knowingly put these women in a compromising situation. On the flip side though, there could be women who voluntarily engaged in an affair with him in order to advance their careers, and just jumped on the #MeToo bandwagon for more fame and money. The defence will use this argument against them, making it difficult for the prosecutors to present a credible case.

The #MeToo movement has inspired thousands, and maybe even millions, of women from every industry to speak out about sexual assault. We do also have to accept that there are women who are unfortunately going to abuse the movement for their own personal gain. Sadly, that is one major strength in Weinstein’s defence. He deserves to be locked up with Bill Cosby, and R Kelly, and all the other predators. Let’s hope the jury sees that, because the accusers are still saying

King County Library System

Johnny Depp will finally get justice

Ok so I didn’t want to make this a political post, because domestic violence is both a liberal and conservative issue. Let’s examine the domestic violence Johnny Depp faced during his marriage to Amber Heard from right in the middle.

CNN.com

Recordings were leaked earlier today with Amber Heard admitting to abusing Johnny Depp, by hitting him and throwing pots and pans at him. The question is: why didn’t anybody take him seriously when he made these claims? I think it’s because we don’t ever consider men to be victims of domestic violence. They can only be perpetrators.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 4 women have experienced physical violence from their partner, vs. 1 in 9 men. That’s a significant difference in terms of numbers, but not in terms of severity. Let’s face it: if the roles were reversed, Johnny would not stand a chance of winning is lawsuit and would be facing jail time. His career would be destroyed. The whole of the United States, and possibly other countries would come to a stand still and feminist groups would be protesting. And in that case, this would be the right course of action. Unfortunately, despite the #JusticeForJohnnyDepp that has gone viral, I’m not sure much more will be done. It’s not because Johnny is not deeply loved by all his fans, but because we don’t know how to react when men are physically abused. We haven’t been taught how to do so.

Let’s say hypothetically, for the sake of argument, that there was alcohol involved. If the woman was the victim as a result of her male partner being drunk, he would have to take full responsibility. If the roles were reversed, he would still have to take responsibility because we would likely assume that she drank heavily due to the abuse. There is that double standard, and it’s not fair to victims of any gender.

If anything, Johnny and Amber’s situation has proven the stereotypes of domestic violence only happening in lower to middle class families, wrong. So did Chris Brown and Rihanna, and other similar celebrity cases. We as a society need to start taking domestic violence seriously, regardless of which community those involved are from, or what their socio-economic status is.

If you would like to know more, you can visit https://ncadv.org/statistics for more information. #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.

Why we need to end our obsession with Meghan and Harry

Photo courtesy of Teen Vogue

Over the past few weeks, the world has heard about the (soon to be former) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, leaving the royal family. This story has been getting an excessive amount of unnecessary media attention. Why do I feel this way?

Because they’re going to be just fine. Plus, this is potentially a distraction, but I’ll get to that later in the post.

According to CNBC, Prince Harry is worth around £30 million, while Meghan is worth roughly $2.2 million. The two have already partnered with the Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, and could likely make over $110 million in sponsored posts on Instagram. Not Instagram plus other social media platforms…Instagram alone.

They can move to whichever country they want, and continue living a lavish lifestyle flying in their private jets, and driving their luxury cars.  The only main difference is that they won’t have royal titles and the media might actually start being kind to Meghan. The cruelty that she faced, especially from the British media, was horrific and I don’t think anyone can truly blame her for wanting to leave that life. One might argue that she was well aware of the challenges that come with being a royal, or that there is racial bias. But that can be a discussion for another time.

This story is, without a doubt, a distraction from Prince Andrew’s prior crimes.

Photo courtesy of the Evening Standard

Yes, he committed crimes that he should be imprisoned for, because having sexual relations with underaged girls is illegal. This is regardless of whether the incident occurred in your country of residence or not. The Royal family’s PR is so effective that I personally forgot about Prince Andrew amidst all the Harry and Meghan drama. 

Two adults choosing to leave the royal family does not deserve as much media attention as their uncle committing crimes against underaged girls.

Social media is not entirely to blame for bullying

On December 17, news broke that Crofton House School in Vancouver is facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to take action against relentless bullying. The lawsuit claims the victim was subject to homophobic and racist remarks, as well comments encouraging suicide, both at school and online. This incident has continued the conversation about how much social media fuels bullying.

One could argue that privacy was more valued before were were able to share every facet of our lives with thousands, or even millions of people. Children who were bullied at school were able to get a break at home, and bullies had to wait until the next day to restart their torture.  Unfortunately, cyberbullying can happen at 24/7.

On the flip side, social media does give users the option to block and report anyone who is sending them inappropriate messages or photos. In fact, apps such as Tellonym and Yolo require the user to invite their friends to answer said user’s questions anonymously. While social media is an integral part of the way we now communicate, there are several ways to remove ourselves from negative situations stemming from certain platforms.

Let’s be clear: this is in no way victim shaming. Even if reported, social media platforms are not always quick remove the post or the account, if they do at all. It is imperative that cyberbullies be held accountable for their actions and that their parents take responsibility for teaching them to practice kindness and acceptance..  That being said, the block and report functions should be utilized by the victims as well as witnesses to any form of harassment. 

Teenagers are keen to be on social media because it’s the best way to fit in. They can be up to speed on all the latest posts and will have something to contribute to the conversation with their peers the next day. Social media also gives them a chance to prove that they can be a part of whatever it is cool at that time, whether it be a fashion trend or eating tide pods.

Unfortunately, trying to fit in comes at a cost to those students who are bullied at school every single day. Today, not being on social media is the equivalent to sitting alone at lunch; nobody wants to feel isolated. 

Essentially, children and teens are not always comfortable blocking their peers in fear of retaliation or being more isolated. We need to let our youth know that they shouldn’t be afraid to block people on social media, and that it’s  perfectly fine to have fewer friends or followers. The solution is to go back to basics by punishing bullies and teaching all students how to resolve conflicts without lashing out online.

It won’t be easy; however, if our youth will be able to interact in a healthy and non-hostile way, it will have been well worth the effort.

Greta Thunberg should not have her own documentary

*Note that this is an op-ed that I wrote last month. I want to share some of my previous work before moving on to the more recent stuff

It’s no surprise when a high profile, newsworthy story gets picked up by a studio to be made into a documentary or movie. Well, all the Greta Thunberg fans out there will be thrilled to know that Hulu is in the process of creating a documentary about the 16 year old environmental activist. 

Image courtesy of Variety

It seems as though the Thunberg family’s plan is working. A teenage girl causes a worldwide sensation by theatrically shaming adults for not doing enough to stop climate change, but interestingly enough, does not bring any ideas to the table herself. One Time Magazine cover and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination later, the Thunberg family have already started monetizing off this publicity stunt they have created. A publicity stunt that has unfairly eclipsed the achievements of activists such as Boyan Slat, who is proactively working towards creating technology to clean up plastic in our oceans.

Showering Greta with unnecessary praise for her all talk, no action approach has taken away the recognition that someone such as Scott Presler deserves. Presler volunteered to pick up trash across Baltimore after President Donald Trump referred to the city as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”. He even inspired hundreds of other Baltimore residents to join him in making their city cleaner. 

It’s likely that liberals are more supportive of Greta than conservatives are, which would explain why the opinions on this subject are so polarized. That being said, it’s time that we put our political differences aside and look at the bigger picture. 

Climate change is undeniably the world’s most pressing emergency, and emergencies call for immediate action. Slat and Presler are proactive and are truly making a difference, but don’t feel the need to do so publicly. That’s because they are passionate about cleaning up oceans and cities so that we can take baby steps towards living on a cleaner planet. They’re not in it for fame and money. 

Is there still a lot more work to be done? Absolutely, but let’s give Boyan Slat and Scott Presler the credit (and maybe the documentaries) that they have earned.