Questions for *You*.

October 19, 2014

Just recently I had the incredible honour of presenting at the International Women’s Liberation Summit. It was an enthralling few days, hearing stories from such a rich pool of experience – not all nice, of course, but profoundly unifying.

The biggest issue I explored was the predictable and pedestrian narrative being spewed forth – one that has not deviated much, in essence, since the ’50s [Man = strong, brains, breadwinner, leader; Woman = weak, multi-tasker, housewife, follower] by the media and advertising at a ground-zero level; mainly through the common TV, the medium of choice, consumed by the masses.

My presentation – and my actual main concern with us human beings – addressed the way in which we perceive ourselves and categorise each other into labels; ever-restricting ones. I believe our obsession with labelling, will be our eventual undoing as a species.

It’s permeated every crevice from sex + gender through to race + religious beliefs; from what needs to be ‘tested’ in school to determine a student’s worth (label at the ready) through to perceptions of who a person is just from what job they have, where they live, clothes they wear, what they earn etc – all of which we know is ludicrous and non-sensical but something we sadly participate in (and consume), nonetheless.

The worst labelling by far, is sex; the label that hurts women and girls the most. It hurts us all, actually. We mustn’t forget the boys – because as easy (and true) as it is to say that males commit the most crimes, we must ask ourselves – how did they become the ‘monsters’ we keep reporting they are?

They were taught – just like girls are taught.

As the battle rages over what exactly a woman or man is, our media manages to showcase very strict guidelines as to how men and women are to be represented and perceived – this is the very labelling I want to debunk with our youth. They are our hope of change.

So I started a business to channel my activism toward them.

About three weeks before the Wicked Campers campaign in July, my business was born –  to present workshops about media literacy, how we relate to each other as human beings, resilience, consumption and more.

I’ve called the business Questions for You, as the questions will be the springboard toward healthy discussion – using critical thinking.
The central theme – and what I titled my presentation at the Summit – is:

The standard we walk past, is the standard we accept.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 12.58.49 am

I’ll tell you why our young ones are the answer. Recently, I had the privilege of seeing a volume of work, created by students, using film to tell a story. It was such an enlightening experience. I loved it. Some narratives blew me away and others reinforced stereotypes. The point is, however, that I saw a balance. And the incredible part is that I had no idea what sex had created what piece. Logic tells me that I saw sophisticated pieces equally from both males and females; all telling unique stories. This needs to be preserved and nurtured.

Turn to the TV and movie narratives, however, and we see something formulaic and banal. Our youth have the capacity to see beyond this but some need a guiding hand in helping them open their eyes to the ‘product’ they’re being sold – mainly what they’re being taught about each other and ‘how it is’. This sort of language will also be explored in workshops, as well as a lot of the clichés that keep humans bound to restricted perspectives; dealing equally with boys and girls.

Question #211: Does this sound like a program your school, child’s school, business or parents may benefit from?

My website: questionsforyou.com.au is ready for your perusal. Please peruse.

Action speaks louder than words, and this has never been more apparent for me. After 20 years of teaching, I feel a deep connection with our budding youth and have never felt more driven to do something, as I do with this.

I hope you’ll join me in this quest.

Deep, positive breath.
PS: Below is the back of my business card, which was designed by my dear friend Katy Donoghue of Giddy Up Graphics (I’ve known her since we were 7 years old). She rocked it. I do love it so. x Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 12.46.37 am

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6 Responses to “Questions for *You*.”

  1. Paula and Liz, I would like to ‘eIntroduce’ you. I think you are both wonderful, have so much in common and could add value to each other. 🙂 Sarah

    Please like my Parents, Tweens & Sex app on facebook.com/ptsapp Sarah Calleja http://www.sarahcalleja.com.au Sent from my iPad

  2. Verina said

    I love it and am very proud of you..
    will definitely keep it in mind…
    well done.

  3. Youth Wellbeing Project said

    Hi Paula,

    Thanks so much for the introduction Sarah! It would be great to connect with you ­ well done on the Wicked Campers campaign. I followed it closely at the time and shared widely. You¹re website is great ­ where are you based?

    I¹ve attached a flyer that you may find a valuable point of connection and I¹m hoping you would be interested in discussing further. Late next year we are planning Symposiums in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and potentially Adelaide. Myself, Andrea Tokaji (from Fighting for Justice Foundation), Linette Etheridge (Porn is Fake http://pifprojectaustralia.com/) and Hugh Martin (Man Enough http://manenough.com.au/) are involved in the planning and I¹ve had an initial conversation with Melinda Tankard-Reist. Our aim is to create Collective Impact for social change, building on the fantastic work that people such as Collective Shout and many others have already achieved and create a greater social awareness and action movement. Each of us recognise that we can¹t do this on our own but there are many others already doing great work. We believe it¹s important to join together and become a louder voice. (You may be interested to learn more about this approach here: http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/collective_impact)

    I can be reached on 0438 124 780. I look forward to speaking soon.

    Kind Regards, Liz Walker | Managing Director | Youth Wellbeing Project Accredited Sex Educator – International authority on youth sexuality Email: contact@youthwellbeingproject.com.au Mobile: +614 3812 4780 Phone: +617 3102 3684 Watch Liz on National Media Connect with us: On the Web | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

    From: Sarah Calleja Date: Sunday, 19 October 2014 4:43 pm To: Questions for Us Cc: Youth Wellbeing Project Subject: Re: [New post] A leap of faith toward a way forward. Eek!

    Paula and Liz, I would like to ‘eIntroduce’ you. I think you are both wonderful, have so much in common and could add value to each other. 🙂 Sarah

    Please like my Parents, Tweens & Sex app on facebook.com/ptsapp Sarah Calleja http://www.sarahcalleja.com.au Sent from my iPad

    On 19 Oct 2014, at 4:53 pm, “Questions for Us” wrote:

    > WordPress.com > questionsforus posted: “I’m back. Having said that – with so much to say – > it’s proving a tad challenging to know from where to commence. It’s been a > while, after all, with so many atrocities being done to fellow humans > continuing to escalate around us…and worse still, cont” >

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