Discrimination not tolerated in the AFL

There is outright condemnation for a woman who threw a banana at and allegedly racially abused Adelaide Crows’, Eddie Betts, who is Aboriginal. According to the Herald Sun,  she is facing an ‘indefinite ban’ from future Port Adelaide games. Both Adelaide and Port Adelaide – including the Port Adelaide president and Sunrise co – host David Koch, have all condemned the unamed woman’s behaviour. Outrage has spilled on to social media, with Port Adelaide fans expressing their disgust, saying that it would tarr all Port Adelaide fans with the same brush. Today on his blog, Andrew Bolt condemned the woman’s father for his accusation that Betts and his defenders were playing the ‘race card’. Betts hasn’t made any comment in the media, yet.

I’m so glad that the racial abuse aimed at Betts is sparking universal condemnation, both in the AFL and the media. This is, in my opinion, a far cry from the incidents that lead to former Sydney Swans player, Adam Goodes, retiring from the game after a number of incidents that lead to his retirement, including a, frankly, cruel barrage of booing. Even though many people argued that Goodes was being too sensitive and whatnot, it obviously made the AFL management and the fans make a strong stance against racial abuse. Racial abuse now, is seen as something that is heavily stigmatised in sport. AFL fans and the media – regardless of what teams people follow – stand in solidarity with Eddie Betts and as a chorus and have  decried racial abuse.

 

That is how it should be. Discrimination and abuse should be condemned every time it comes to light. Every. Single. Time. This time, that’s what’s happened and I applaud those in the AFL and media for doing so. Not in the form of abuse against people like the Port Adelaide supporter, but standing in solidarity with the person who the abuse was aimed at and saying unequivocally ‘NO’. No to racism. No to discrimination. Also, no to turning a blind eye, or excusing perpetrators. There is no excuse.

Also, it’s highlighted what I wrote in this post that the AFL is making a concerted effort to be inclusive and ensure that everyone – players and fans – are welcome and any abuse will not be tolerated. The AFL is making it clear that everyone is safe to be involved in the game – whether as a spectator or player. That’s only got to be a good thing.

The danger of positive memes

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Every time I log into Facebook, at least one person of my friends posts a positive meme. Be grateful. Be thankful that you… well, just look at the above one and you get the idea.

So, it’s good to encourage positive thinking, forgiveness, all the rest of it… if the person reading it doesn’t use it to deny reality for either themselves or others. If it doesn’t minimise the experiences of those who are struggling to cope, are depressed or have any other mental health issues, then, I’m for it. However, to be frank, if it prevents people from speaking up about issues that they are dealing with, then, it’s a problem.

In fact, so – called “positive thinking” can have negative results. According to New York University Psychology Professor, Gabrielle Oettingen, “positive thinking”, wishful thinking and daydreaming can give us a false sense of goal attainment, which will in turn prevent us from reaching our goal due to a lack of motivation. In regard to goal achievement, Oettingen argued that a better approach would be:

Instead of just thinking positively, one should employ the self – regulation strategy of mental contrasting – the act of weighing your envisioned goal against what you identify as your inner obstacle to be. According to her research, this method clarifies what you really want and what’s feasible, as opposed to goals you’d rather let go or or are unlikely to accomplish.

Sounds kind of reasonable doesn’t it? (even though it has it’s critics).She’s not against positive thinking altogether.Her argument is contrast the thought and the desired outcome to the reality of the situation.

Wrong ideas about positive thinking can backfire on mental health, argues Professor Anthony Grant.

It just doesn’t work. When people don’t allow themselves to think about problems, or sadness or any other emotion apart from happiness, it’s not helpful at all

That what I was getting at in at the start of the post. It’s great to be positive. But as humans, we also need to be realistic about exactly how we feel. We need to allow ourselves to admit that everything is not all roses. Be optimistic, yes. Be grateful, yes. But also we need to let ourselves at least admit our reality of our situation. 

 

It’s great that that the world is starting to talk about mental health – particularly in men. I saw an post on Facebook recently from a group of teenage boys spreading awareness about male depression. I think it’s great. But, I think to do that successfully, we have to say ourselves and each other that everything may not be OK, and that’s OK. We need that to be OK if we are going to get anywhere in preventing suicide.

Be grateful.

Be positive.

But be realistic.

And get help when you need it.

If anyone in Australia needs help:

Beyond Blue

For people between 12 and 25: Headspace (Headspace centres are nationwide, including now Albury/ Wodonga)

For American readers:

Austin Health

Mental Health America

 

Feel free to post any other mental health services in your country/ State/ region in the comment section.

 

 

 

Single? There’s good news

Are you single? Desperate for a partner/ spouse? Well, don’t be in too much of a hurry.

UK news site, “Independent” published an article on a professor that argues single people: “live their best, most authentic and most meaningful life”.At an annual convention by the American Psychological Association in Denver, Colorado, Professor Bella DePaulo of University of California, Santa Barbara, said that she wanted to defy the idea that married people were happier and healthier, which has been suggested over the years by numerous health professionals. Summarising 800 studies over 30 years, DePaulo argued:

The available findings are telling. For example, research comparing people who have stayed single with those who have stayed married shows that single people have have a heightened sense of self – determination and are more likely to experience ‘a sense of continual growth and development’ as a person.

According to DePaulo, single people also:

  • value work
  • show self – efficiency
  • were less likely to experience negative feelings

Apparently, studies indicated that coupled people show the opposite results. I find it a bit ironic that this has come about the same time of the #LoveYourSpouse trend has been spreading on Facebook like wildfire over the past couple of days, where married and engaged people post pictures of selfies, wedding photos, older marriage photos, etc with declarations of love and friendship toward their spouses/ fiances.

 

From what I can tell, there are mixed conclusions in the marriage vs. single debate, which is bound to happen, I guess. What will make it easier for everyone (married, separated, divorced, always – been – single, etc), is if single people were respected like married people. If we didn’t make marriage into a sort of “golden calf” – a standard that everyone has to have and, not only that, has to appear perfect to the outside world, especially on social media. Both single and partnered people face challenges. Both have ups and downs. Sometimes, married people probably sometimes wish they remained single, and single people wish they were partnered. We should respect both groups.

The idolisation of marriage should not further marginalise groups that already face unfair and discriminatory attitudes by society. Asexual people are a classic example. Although many asexual people do form romantic relationships and some even marry, those who don’t desire a romantic relationship for whatever reason, can be looked down upon.It’s very common for asexual people to feel “broken” before realising their asexual due to (at least historically), a severe lack of discussion about asexuality. Fortunately, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) has proved to be a useful resource for people who identify, or suspect they’re asexual since it’s launch in 2001.

 

Lastly, other relationships can be meaningful too and this also needs to be acknowledged. Friends, immediate family, extended family, etc maybe all people need – either for a short while or all their lives. That’s cool. It should be OK for people to express a desire for that and nothing more. Also, we may not need studies to suggest that one is better than the other. If people are living their “best life’ – however that looks for a particular person, than that should be good enough.

 

 

Cosmopolitan magazine “Fun, fearless, female awards” – where is the diversity?

Mamamia reported that Australian women’s magazine Cosmopolitan has faced fierce criticism over listing Sonia Kruger as a possible nominee for their annual Fun, Fearless, Female Awards. This of course, has come after her comments about Muslim immigration after the Nice terrorist attacks and her criticism of Australian Business and Community Network Foundation for advertising for scholarships for students who identify has LGBT. I have written why that was a bad idea for ABCN Foundation here.

Two words that come to mind – publicity stunt. I mean, Kruger made controversial comments about Muslim immigration and the move by the ABCN to provide LGBT candidates for a potential scholarship and she gets her name mentioned in the “Fun Fearless Female” competition. Also, it’s so predictable. In such competitions, where is teh diversity? By diversity, I’m not talking about racial/ ethnic diversity. I’m talking about diversity as in interests (why are the “Social Media” potential nominees all seem to blog about fashion and beauty? Not that there is anything wrong with that. Good luck to all beauty/ fashion bloggers/ vloggers. I wish you all the success, I really do). But, there are other bloggers too. What about those who blog about a personal triumph – overcoming a chronic illness, for example? When it comes to the “Actress” category, what about choosing someone from a show that is promising, but not well – known yet? Like “800 Words” or an independent drama from the SBS or ABC? What about singers from independent labels?

 

The media in general is starting to become more diverse – in ethnicity, gender, etc. It was a rocky start, but it’s getting there. It wouldn’t hurt, I don’t think, for Cosmo to do the same in the annual “Fun, Fearless, Female Awards”. Diversity, like I said, not just in race, etc (which they do OK), but in talent, in interests, in shows and media outlets. Give amateurs a go. I would be great if magazines like “Cosmopolitan (Australia” could reflect the diversity of their readership more broadly.

These are my thoughts. What are yours?