Esperanto Magazine — 10 Politics Edition | MONSU Caulfield

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esperantomagazine.com Instagram: @esperantomagazine Twitter: @esperantomag facebook.com/esperantomagazine EDITORS

Juliette Capomolla Kiera Eardley

ART DIRECTOR

Callum Johnson

SUBEDITOR

Daisy Henry

CONTACT

Esperanto Student Magazine MONSU Caulfield Inc. Level 2, Building S, 2 Princes Avenue, Caulfield East, VIC 3145 +61 3 9903 2525 editor.esperanto@gmail.com creative.esperanto@gmail.com

LEGAL

Esperanto Magazine is published by MONSU Caulfield Inc. Views expressed within do not necessarily reflect those of MONSU Caulfield Inc, the editorial panel, the publisher, or any other person associated with Esperanto.

PUBLISHER

MONSU Caulfield Inc.

PRINTER

Printgraphics Printgreen

PAPER

Pacesetter Laser Recycled

TYPE CREDITS

Sprat Happy Times at the IKOB New Game Plus Edition Arial

WRITERS

Alice Wright, Andie Perez, Caitlin Cefai, Callum Johnson, Élodie Ricaud, Emma Ussing, Felice Lok, Gabriela Fannia, Gitika Garg, Jackie Zhou, Juliette Capomolla, Kiera Eardley, Lochie McKay, Ruby Ellam, Sarah Arturi, Sarah Louise, Soraya Rezal, Zayan Ismail

ARTISTS

Andie Perez, Callum Johnson, Carla J. Romana, Fletcher Aldous, Lauren Easter, Madison Marshall, Molly Burmeister, Mon Ouk, Naiyanat Sornratanachai, Natalie Tran, Qianjia (Fiona) Lin, Sama Harris, Zayan Ismail

COVER ART

Madison Marshall, @madagasc.art


contents

06 08 10 12 16 18 20 22 24

Too Big to Be Cancelled Juliette Capomolla, Carla J. Romana

Table Manners

Sarah Louise, Lauren Easter

News, Revolutionised: The Daily Aus Caitlin Cefai

Swimming in Unbelief

Emma Ussing, Naiyanat Sornratanachai

It's Time to Put Pills to the Test Élodie Ricaud, Callum Johnson

Can I Like That?

Ruby Ellam, Carla J. Romana

Darts Vaper

Jackie Zhou, Mon Ouk

Disempowered, Disengaged and Disconnected Sarah Arturi, Madison Marshall

Democracy Sudoku Callum Johnson


26 32 34 36 38 42 44 46 48

Just Call Me Lucifer

Kiera Eardley, Naiyanat Sornratanachai

Environment Woes and Climate Activist Hoes Alice Wright, Molly Burmeister

Tattoos and Dyed Hair and Piercings, Oh My! Soraya Rezal, Lauren Easter

Reverse-Engineering My Thoughts on Plastic Surgery Felice Lok, Natalie Tran

How Are You Any Different? Zayan Ismail

Shaken, Not Stirred Gabriela Fannia, Sama Harris

Sobriety Sorority

Gitka Garg, Madison Marshall

Will History Repeat Itself? Andie Perez

In a Perfect World

Lochie McKay, Qianjia (Fiona) Lin


editors’ note If you’re anything like us (and the rest of the world), you’re probably a bit over the whole politics thing at the moment. So why on earth would we decide to choose Politics for this edition’s theme? Great question. For us, this edition represents the politicisation of everything in our lives, which is perhaps more omnipresent than ever. For better or for worse, none of us can escape politics and its consequences. Whether that be the politicisation of your choice of almond milk with your coffee (AKA the leftist that hasn’t caught up to the rest of the snowflakes who now opt for the more eco-friendly milk variety, oat milk) or the more sinister political debates about race, gender, religion and more. The fact of the matter is, politics surrounds us and no matter how much we may try to ignore or suppress it, we are all political players. So dearest Espy readers, we beg of you to take your role seriously in the political process: your role as a democratic voter, your role as a consumer in the global economy, your role as a passerby in the streets filled with all kinds of people. But most of all, from three twenty-somethings just trying to hope for a somewhat-bright future, your role in leaving this world a better place than you found it. Love Callum, Juliette & Kiera

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Too Big to Be Cancelled WORDS Juliette Capomolla @juliettecapomolla

ILLUSTRATION Carla J. Romana @crmn.studio

Whether or not you believe in cancel culture; whether or not you think people, places or things should be ‘cancelled’; whether or not you are yet to find someone who’s actually been ‘cancelled’ — it’s undeniable that there are some meteorically popular sensations that are simply too big to be cancelled. Before you tell me I’m being hyperbolic, hear me out. But first, what is cancel culture? A term popularised in the past decade, cancel culture has found itself in many a heated debate. If you’ve been living under a rock, it’s essentially the idea that something, most often a person, is cancelled in the public sphere as a result of something they’ve done. That might sound vague, but just recall the so-called cancellations of YouTuber James Charles after his alleged pedophilia, rapper DaBaby after his homophobic comments at Rolling Loud, or TV personality Ellen DeGeneres after revelations emerged about her alleged toxic workplace culture. Cancel culture is an all-encompassing term that means people no longer engage with the content of someone (or something) that has been exposed for their involvement in morally reprehensible behaviour. Let’s ignore any potential doubts and pretend we all believe in cancel culture, the premise that somebody can be cancelled in the public eye; there are just some people or things that are ‘too big to be cancelled’. An expression coined by Dr Matt Beard, it refers to the idea that some things, perhaps even ideas, may have outgrown our ability to socially reprimand them. This could be for a few reasons; a person or company’s presence in society is too deeply ingrained to be displaced from the public conversation, or perhaps the person or thing has amassed too much social capital or monopolised such a large market that it is just too far gone. I first heard about this idea when the whole $100 million deal between Joe Rogan and Spotify was announced. Why, despite all of his widespread criticism and hate, didn’t Spotify users cancel their subscriptions? Are we implicitly supporting Spotify’s decision to platform such a man while simultaneously providing him with an unfathomable amount of money? It comes down to this idea that Spotify is too big to be

cancelled. Spotify, the ‘villain’ in this saga, is so embedded in our everyday lives that you and I, haters and critics of Joe Rogan alike, will not give up this simple amenity despite disagreeing with the company’s decision. No! Don’t take away my Spotify Wrapped! You may like Joe Rogan, be a regular listener to his podcast, and subscribe to his free-speech mantras — but that’s besides the point. In fact, Joe Rogan isn’t even the point. The fact of the matter is we’ve allowed companies as monopolising and amenable as Spotify to dictate our moral compass. Too much of an inconvenience to cancel? Okay, they can stay. This probably explains a lot of things in our lives — your Disney+ subscription (did someone say archetyping non-white-cis characters?), our obsession with Meta (aka Facebook) apps despite alleged election tampering, my spending spree on Amazon amidst its employees’ cries for better working conditions… is any of this ringing a bell? The fact of the matter is we simply become accustomed to accepting these companies’ toxic behaviour because of their utility and omnipresence in our lives. Jeff Bezos knows he doesn’t have to do anything to help his employees, because we’re all still TikTok-ing our Amazon hauls on the daily. Uber founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp know they don’t have to pay their drivers better because we’re still ordering our next ride and cross-checking our ratings with friends. Spotify can make a deal with whoever they bloody well want to, because they know we’re too lazy to make all of our playlists again on Apple Music (I mean, are they much better anyway?). But what does this say about us? Well, firstly don’t be too hard on yourself — it’s not (just) you, it’s (also) me (and the other almost eight billion people in the world). Without all of us buying into these things, they wouldn’t be nearly as unfathomably large as they are today. So let’s not get too down and self-pitying. After all, we are all just as bad as each other, and there’s some comfort in that, right?

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Secondly, let’s blame capitalism. There’s always got to be a bit of capitalism-hating in these scenarios, and I’ve got to say, justifiably so. Somehow, capitalism has allowed these businesses to grow to an indestructible magnitude. I could rant on about how the global economy probably wasn’t ready to safeguard us from global quasi-monopolies like Spotify, Uber and the rest, but I won’t bore you with that. Instead, we’ll just blame capitalism and move on. Finally, should we all be hopeless and defeated? Absolutely never! I would never leave you in despair, dearest readers. Instead, I’ll leave

you with some advice. None of these platforms should be able to rule your decisions or morality. In fact, they can’t, so don’t let them. They aren’t monopolies in their fields, so that means there are alternatives out there — think Didi or Ola for Uber, think Apple Music or SoundCloud for Spotify, think shopping small instead of Amazon. You can get the same, if not more, utility out of other bizzes in the biz without blindly enabling the toxic behaviour of the biggest bizzes. Nevertheless, it’s easier said than done. I mean, I still have a Spotify account. But ultimately it comes down to what matters to you most, and that’s only for you to decide.

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Table Manners WORDS Sarah Louise @sarahllouise_

ILLUSTRATION Lauren Easter @lauren.easter.art

You spot him seated at a small table in the corner. Thank God, he looks like his Hinge profile. The restaurant is dimly lit, so hopefully he won’t notice the pimple that rudely decided to pop up this morning. He stands up to greet you, pulls your chair out and fills your glass with water. Tick. Last Saturday, you downed an $8 bottle of Jacob’s Creek from a red plastic cup. Tonight, you’re a wine connoisseur — and certainly against single-use plastics. You ask the waiter which white is the most crisp. The waiter looks fresh on the job, perhaps only 18 years old, and his mullet kinda clashes with his white-shirt uniform. He hesitantly points to the sauv blanc on the menu with a shaky finger but assures you he’ll check with the bartender. Turns out, the chardonnay is the crispest. Elbows on the table? It’s a fine line between a win or lose. If he puts his elbows on the table with food present, then he lacks fundamental manners. If he puts his elbows on the table after the meal, locking eyes with yours, as a gesture of intrigue and intimacy, then he’s a keeper. Dating is like walking a tightrope. Don’t order soup, spaghetti, or ribs. No one likes a slurper. Do keep elbows tucked in when using a knife and fork. No one likes a bird at the table. You’ve finished dinner. You’re still a bit peckish, but you wouldn’t dare overindulge on a first date. The vino has bloated your tum. Although you opted for the ‘relaxed fit’, your straight-leg jeans are deceivingly uncomfortable around the waist. It’s time to excuse yourself to go to the restroom. You bring your handbag, because you can't trust anyone these days. Sitting on the toilet, you check your phone to see a hundred messages from the gals’ group chat demanding updates on your date. You read the messages via the home screen notifications, because if you read them on the Messenger app, then you’re obligated to reply. Plus, it’s already been a few minutes on the loo… you don’t want him to think you're actually taking a dump. As a feminist, you convince yourself that you’re happy to pay for dinner. Your subconscious disagrees. Luckily, your date insists that ‘this one is on him’. Little does he know — his entire lifeline, according to your Mum, girlfriends, and co-workers, depended on that decision. “You can pay next time,” he says. Alright, so that means there’s a next time. 8

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News, Revolutionised: The Daily Aus WORDS Caitlin Cefai @caitiece In a world intoxicated by a desire for instantaneous knowledge, social media has become everyone’s favourite vice. The speed at which you can find information on anything no longer relies on flicking through an encyclopaedia. Now, just type a word or two into a search bar and decades of largely unfiltered and unverified websites spew forth from the ghastly underbelly of the internet beast, complete with comments that ensure you’re aware of everybody and anybody’s opinion on what you’re searching. What is concerning is the quality and accessibility of this information, particularly in relation to news. In an age of media extremes, where fake news and politically biased content is overrepresented online, it’s getting complicated to differentiate what is informative, true and objective from all the other nefarious stuff. One company that is seeking to be transparent and objective is The Daily Aus (TDA), Australia’s leading socials-first news service. Covering important news including topics ranging from the pandemic’s daily case numbers to elections, through to Aussie sports news and expanding into global health and political news. This is all done through social media posts, stories, videos and podcasts, which are promoted across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify. With over 350,000 Instagram followers and plans to expand internationally, the team at TDA represent a future for news that is accessible and engaging, without the pressures and hindrances that big media companies face. To learn more about TDA and the changing media landscape in Australia, I spoke with co-founder Sam Koslowski about the company’s beginnings, achievements and goals for the future. How did The Daily Aus first start? SK: I had the idea for TDA back in 2013, when I was on a train in my gap year in Europe as an 18-year-old. The idea was that I couldn’t find anywhere on social media that gave me the start, middle and end of the story — it was only giving me somewhere to link out, click out, and read it somewhere else. So I thought it deserved a place on social media, as the final destination for news. I didn’t do anything with the idea for a couple of years, and then, in 2017, decided to start it properly. I reached out to my networks on LinkedIn and Instagram, and sussed out whether anyone wanted to do it with me. Zara [Seidler, co-founder of TDA] was the only person to reply, and we founded the business that day. Since then, we’ve grown to be a team of 12 people, with 380,000 followers on Instagram, a big newsletter audience, 10

two successful podcasts, a video streaming avenue, and a research and polling branch of the company — so things are getting really exciting! In terms of your target audience… stylistically, you’re clearly aiming at young people, and you’re working with social media — especially Instagram. Was that the goal from the get-go? SK: Yes! The goal was always to appeal to a young audience who we thought deserved better news — better high-quality news in Australia — than they were currently getting from the rest of the landscape. When the news was conveyed to young people it was very partisan and very opinionated, influenced by pop culture. We felt that people instead deserved clear, concise and accurate information.

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In terms of politics, your team has had a pretty big year; we had the federal election back in May. How did TDA handle that? SK: This was a key focus for the coverage of the campaigns. The focus was on issues, explaining them, ensuring that everyone who walked into a polling booth — regardless of who they were voting for — understood why they were voting for that person. [This involved] really working with bodies like the Australian Electoral Commission to boost voter literacy, and helping young people to understand how to vote, why their vote matters [and] what preferential voting is. It was about focusing on some of those mechanics of the [political] system that we’re never taught about, or at least we can’t remember when we were taught about them. In terms of the issues that we covered, we really listened to our audience. We did that through research and polling right at the beginning of the election period, asking ‘what issues matter to you?’, and we got almost 100,000 young people to tell us what mattered to them. That dictated our coverage and the way in which we approached particular people for interviews. We didn’t care for the ‘gotchamoment’ coverage that was dominating traditional media. [Instead] we cared about climate, women, and independents in the metropolitan centres that we suspected from the beginning would be more of a force to be

reckoned with than the traditional media was giving credit for. In all honesty, it turns out we were right on pretty much every front. You have been incredibly successful. How do you see your company building into the future? SK: I think it looks like getting to every single young person in Australia no matter what. So if every single young person in Australia started using a whole other social media platform, we would go there straight away. We’re less dictated by the platforms as we are by the audience. In the last couple of weeks, actually, I’ve been keeping my eye on BeReal, an emerging platform. I don’t think it’s really taking off yet, but if it was we would go there straight away. Ultimately, it’s about audience growth, but also about business sustainability. How can we be a media company in Australia that can stand on its own two feet, that doesn’t have to worry about month-to-month paycheckto-paycheck, that doesn’t ask the audience for money, that makes money through other means. Basically, knowing how we can get to a point three or four years in the future where we can plan and still ensure everybody gets paid for their work. If you could describe TDA in three words, what would they be? SK: Original, insightful, sustainable.

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Swimming in Unbelief WORDS Emma Ussing @EmmaWrites22

PHOTOGRAPHY Naiyanat Sornratanachai @naiyanatrix

When I left land that day, I felt sure — I am fine, that looks so easy — but when I finished swimming out and turned around, the shore seemed impossibly far away. I was unable to see and unable to swim. In the cove where I entered the lagoon the water was completely still, but out here at the navigation buoy it’s deep, choppy, and the tide is pulling me away from the shore. Before almost drowning in the Mexican lagoon, I had spent most of my young life not realising I was angry that there was no God, no justice, no mercy, and certainly no salvation. It seemed that everyone who believed in a higher power was deluded and gullible; that those like me who tried to embrace logic, science and political fairness were doomed to face the problems and misery of the world alone. In my Lutheran primary school, it seemed that there was no escaping the terrible nature of all humanity. The constant condemnation of people and their actions, the impossibility of being without sin, and the need to ask for forgiveness seemed at odds with the guiding message: be a good person and do good things. I became more confused when I attended Sunday church services that seemed never to mention this awfulness. The Uniting Church didn’t seem to know that everyone is so sinful. It didn’t seem that anyone could have deserved the tragic fates that befell them. I still cannot accept the platitude that ‘God must have needed someone in heaven’ as truth — it’s not comforting while mourning all those lives not lived. As I got older and began learning about the atrocities committed in the name of religion — overt massacres, insidious persecution and the silencing of abuse, to name just a few — I wondered how people could believe in and support these institutions. In a world with so much injustice, poverty, disease and conflict, surely people realise that if there is a God, he does not care about us. Why do people believe in a God? Why is there so much suffering? Why can’t we, as humans, get it right for each other? If you just look hard enough surely there must be answers. If I keep wading through all of the knowledge and information and reach the navigation buoy, I must be able to see enough, to understand enough and have a wide enough gaze to figure it all out. I’ve been asking these questions for over a decade and am still no closer to figuring it out. I got to the buoy, and for a moment, I could hold all of the answers to all of the questions I hadn’t realised were driving me. In a single moment connected with God, I could understand and feel the truth of everything. Esperanto

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But then, the journey back to land. I lived in a dangerous part of a dangerous city, in a dangerous country. Three adults to a one-bedroom apartment. After months of travel and long Covid, when we were awake we argued. A son trying to care for his disabled mother, both carrying heavy emotional baggage from long before I arrived. One would fall into a trance stance but never really sleep. The other slept all the time. Beside myself with fear that the flight back to Australia would be cancelled or delayed again or that my bank account would finally hit zero and I would never make it home, I almost never slept. The nights I was most isolated, seemingly unable to swim at all, I longed with a desperation that I had never felt before to see the stars as they are from my southern-hemisphere bedroom. In these moments, there was the realisation that a higher power would deliver me to where I needed to go. The obvious struggles of grinding through the pandemic don’t seem like the sexiest way to return to thinking about God. I still have my qualms about the contradictions in the Christian understanding of a God that grants eternal life to those sinners who ask for forgiveness. Being back on solid ground, I am grateful to whatever force delivered me to safety. Back in my real life when anxiety, doubt and cynicism creep forward in my mind, I am able to remember and appreciate my moment of clarity on the buoy. Believing with complete certainty that everyone wants a peaceful existence and good things for their loved ones, I am filled with hope that, despite the horrific fracturing of society, humanity has a common goal. Everyone is in some way contributing to all of the institutions that keep society more or less together. Finding this hope and trust lets me retire the anxiety that I need to find all of the solutions to all of the problems. 14

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It's Time to Put Pills to the Test WORDS Élodie Ricaud @_elodiericaud_

ARTWORK Callum Johnson @neo.cog.ito

The Politics Issue


Nothing has me feeling more energised and giddy than the majestical hours spent at a music event. I’m talking, festivals, concerts, bush doofs, clubs, bars, gigs or even someone’s overcramped house party at four in the morning. These settings allow people to dance their hearts out, socialise, celebrate, experiment, make utter fools of themselves (all in good spirit) and temporarily shed the weight of the world — which is the very essence of life. Like most universal rituals of festivity, they are also places where high levels of drug consumption take place, sometimes even as a social prerequisite. However, while more accepted stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco run rampant in Australia (cue the person asking for their fourth round of vodka Red Bulls while sucking their nicotine-filled vape), other illicit party drugs — commonly referred to as ecstasy (pingas), ketamine (ket), marijuana (weed) and cocaine (coke), to name a few — are also prevalent in this mix, but for obvious legality reasons, they remain consumed on the down-low. This obviously isn’t a new revelation; people have been using these drugs recreationally for decades, with many avid consumers opting for a different kind of comedown than the gut-retching experience of an alcoholinduced hangover. In many instances, I don’t blame them. According to the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, approximately nine million Aussies had illegally used these types of drugs at some point in their lifetime. A figure which, with increasing research and exposure, is expected to grow. Yet there also lies a hazardous and sometimes unavoidable risk with the operation of such an unregulated market. It’s sad to admit how often my friends and I have had a bleak awakening at an event after witnessing someone get escorted away by medical staff after consuming an illicit substance that was ostensibly harmless. While you can go to a bar and watch your drink being poured, you don’t get to see how the pills from your local dealer are created. Australia’s relentless criminalisation of illicit drugs continues to produce a market tainted by unreliability and shadiness, which in turn causes such a popular recreational activity to be one that is, in many instances, life-threatening.

This is where pill testing comes in. Over the past few years, there has been a strong push to establish drug testing services all over Australia at places like festivals, and rightly so. This risk-reduction strategy allows experts to use handheld infrared spectroscopy technology to analyse a small amount of a drug, to find out what substances it contains and its potency. This has proven time and time again to be effective. Not only have several liberal European countries such as the Netherlands provided a mounting heap of positive evidence, but other countries such as New Zealand with similar political views have also reinforced the benefits of pill testing. Most importantly, following Australia’s first trials in 2018 and 2019 at Groovin the Moo in Canberra, eye-opening discoveries were documented. Seven people’s lives were potentially saved after fragments of the dangerous ethylpentylone substance were found in their tablets. It was the health guidance that many people said they had needed. But how can we remain ignorant to pill testing now that we've seen its potential? So far, there has been no evidence that has lent credit to the fears and doubts circulating. People haven't relied on these pill testing facilities to get more hammered, but rather they have left with more information and awareness than ever before. Furthermore, the idea of preaching abstinence from illicit drugs screams of ineffectual wishful thinking and naivety. Just as Australia provides safety measures for all of its potentially harmful — or, dare I say, more toxic — legal drugs (like tobacco), why isn't it possible to fathom the idea of this being extended to other recreational drugs? I love going to music events — but just like I feel confident in all of the alcohol support services available, I'd like to see more options available for a wider demographic of people so we can all party with confidence.

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Can I Like That? WORDS Ruby Ellam @ruby.ellam

ILLUSTRATION Carla J. Romana @crmn.studio

I have a startling confession:

I do not think the author is dead. Quick! Art school, come take my degree away; banish me from my Masters and into a world of sappy non-intellectuals that cannot separate the art from the artist. I’ll go — albeit unwillingly — to wherever those who are too emotional and too sensitive for real progress go… I’m assuming Instagram? Someone check that for me, please. Yes, despite all my training, the questionable practice of celebrating bad people on the world stage is something I still can’t feign a comfortable ignorance for. I can’t agree that talent trumps everything, because (again, this may be blasphemous) I do not believe there is such a thing as untouchable artistic freedom. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most people in my art classes were middle-class or above, predominantly from major cities, and highly educated. Is it true that they were all just naturally more talented than the lower-class individuals like me? No, not at all. 18

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I have yet another confession: I do not practise what I preach. I’m a near-daily listener of Lana Del Rey despite her recent and problematic ‘question for the culture’; she defended the perceived glamorisation of violent and toxic relationships in her songs, while calling out women of colour who otherwise had no impact on her point. I adore the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, which has since been admonished for its negative influence on society’s impression of transgender people (despite the filmmakers’ attempts to distinguish the villain as not a ‘real’ transgender woman). I loved the TV series Girls despite showrunner Lena Dunham’s white feminism. And in this hypocrisy, I’m not the only one. Chris Brown recently surpassed Elvis Presley as the most decorated male artist on the Billboard Hot 100, despite a history of abuse towards women and a slew of homophobic, sexist Twitter rants punctuating his career of nearly two decades. And with Baz Luhrmann’s new film, Elvis, it seems we continue to rewrite the legacy of those who have passed away; the surpassed ‘King’ had his own history of relationships with teenage girls. But how can we justify separating the artist from their art without ignoring their immoral, and sometimes illegal, behaviours? Or do we take these transgressions as a given in exchange for art? Sure, men in Hollywood are gross — way to state the obvious! Do we grin and bear it, while letting the justice system weed out those who break the law and hoping we can count on the public to react accordingly? There’s also an element of gender that has to be considered when breaking down these ideas. Before ‘cancel culture’ was a media buzzword, Sinead O’Connor was blacklisted for her controversial performance on Saturday Night Live

in 1992. In it, she targeted the abuse concealed by the Catholic Church — a topic we have since deemed non-taboo. Yoko Ono and Courtney Love were blamed for the turbulent lives and deaths of their superstar partners, derision that is still thriving in the age of Twitter threads and TikTok conspiracy videos. Love was a talented musician in her own right and had built a promising acting career in the late ’90s and early ’00s, but she was quickly excluded from role considerations after her vocal admonishment of a famous producer. She infamously advised up-and-coming actresses: “If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party at the Four Seasons, don’t go.” In the years since this quote ‘cancelled’ her acting career, we’ve seen that she was undoubtedly correct. Even today, ‘unlikeable’ or ‘annoying’ women are consistently subjected to death threats online — whereas men can be dragged through the courthouse for their abusive behaviour and still be heralded as a king (but let's not talk about Johnny Depp). Maybe ‘cancel culture’ is just a simple means of cutting down unlikeable women and criminal men. So, can you like anything nowadays? Yes… and no. It really comes down to who you can justify financially supporting or providing a platform to. If you call yourself any sort of ally or activist, you must weigh up your intention and values with your desire to listen to certain music or watch a certain show. Or, if all else fails, just wait for them to die. Your ‘problematic fave’ could become an instant legend post-mortem! Just ask Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Alfred Hitchcock, Henry Ford, James Brown, John Wayne, Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso and Charlie Chaplin… after all, they surely won’t come back to haunt you.

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21 Darts Vaper WORDS Jackie Zhou @miss.beifong

ILLUSTRATION Mon Ouk @mono.goose

Whether you’re having a night out with your friends on Chapel Street or grabbing a coffee from a trendy cafe you saw on a Melbourne food blogger’s TikTok, chances are you’ve caught a whiff of one of the many different flavours of a passerby’s vape — or maybe you’ve even tried one out yourself. So, how is it that vaping exploded in popularity and seemingly dodged the same social stigma of regular cigarettes among young people? Is nicotine consumption once again being normalised, even idealised, like it was in the ’60s, or have the fruity sweet smells tempted us all into giving vaping a try? Most of my friends vape — or have at least wanted to try — with some even being unable to properly maintain their emotions without their pen. Vaping has become more normalised and welcomed within the general community, especially compared to the inconspicuous affair of purchasing cigarettes and going out the back to have a cheeky dart during work or when you’re out with friends. Common reasons for vaping over regular cigarettes include accessibility, packaging without the gory health warnings, a rising smoking culture and the belief that vaping is healthier for you than smoking. But is vaping really better for you? And is there a reason for its explosive popularity amongst Millennials and Gen Z? Let’s take a look at the advertising for cigarettes compared to vapes. Cigarettes were banned from being advertised in the ’90s on broadcast radio, television and publications. This was also around the time that their health risks began to be recognised and widely displayed on packaging. Graphic health warnings, often accompanied with the text ‘smoking causes

[insert horrifying medical impediment]’ became mandatory in Australia to dissuade the public from smoking and possibly meeting the same gruesome fate as those pictured on the massprinted packages. Such ubiquitous contempt for smoking has ultimately helped increase discussions about the health risks of cigarettes, and the cultural shift away from smoking is largely thanks to such graphic and accessible information regarding these health risks. The same, however, cannot be said about vaping. Vapes work by heating and vaporising nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals, turning it into an aerosol that us youngins can then inhale. Vaping devices do contain far less harmful chemicals compared to tobacco smoke, but they can still cause lung injuries and deaths in people who use modified e-liquids and vapes. And ultimately, we won’t know the long-term effects of vapes for another 20 to 30 years. Vapes and vaping liquids are much harder to study and contain due to their novelty and variety; users can vape water, nicotine, or unknown liquids containing chemicals that are only known by their manufacturers. It’s much harder to enforce advertising regulations around something with so many discrepancies, which makes it difficult for people to know the risks and be dissuaded like they have been with cigarettes. Although vaping has once again normalised nicotine consumption, it’s still important to acknowledge that vaping doesn’t come without risks — even though it tastes great, that mango vape could be doing some serious damage.

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22 Disempowered, Disengaged and Disconnected WORDS Sarah Arturi @saraharturi

ARTWORK Madison Marshall @madagasc.art

In an era where society is expected to be more connected than ever before, there is no doubt that many young people have switched off from politics. And I don’t blame us.

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While young people are portrayed as being at the forefront of major political movements, they are simultaneously overlooked for their ‘immature minds’. The relationship between youth and politics remains problematised, digging modern society deeper into the hole of ingrained political disengagement. The result: donkey votes and young adults choosing to stick with their outdated family views. Yet with numerous disappointing political outcomes over the last few years, I believe Millennials and Generation Z are a force to be reckoned with. A post-pandemic world has seen the youth of today experience first-hand the eruption of a political extravaganza. From the get-go, a hardhitting reality shoved its way into our lives when conventional politics was no longer a passing thought observed on the nightly 6pm news during election time. Instead, it crept its way into heated household discussions during Dan’s daily press conferences and led to subtle disagreements in the girl’s group chat about whether boyfriends or girlfriends counted as ‘intimate partners’ (triggered). The events that unfolded during the pandemic quickly transformed from a place of genuine health precautions to a political game. Unfortunately, this forced the line between real life and politics to blur, prompting young people in particular to fall into a heap of disconnectedness and disempowerment with the political world. Perhaps it can be said that the widespread deflation due to months-long lockdowns has plagued any remaining political interests held by young people — but maybe this battle was a long time coming. If the pandemic wasn’t enough, the hostile trend of deception and mistrust by politicians has put the faith of voters to the test, prompting many to question their association with politics. In the past few years and months, we have observed those in a position of power repeat the downfalls of history to gain political points at the expense of individuals’ rights and wellbeing. With our world leaders failing to uphold their duty of care for their citizens — in particular, women — this has placed an immense impact on the future of our youth. Or perhaps the culprit to all of this is the entrenched belief that the fire has always been burning (since the world’s been turning —

thanks, Billy Joel). So I pose the question: Why spend time engaging in the political sphere if nothing ever seems to move forward? After giving my answer some thought (and going around in circles trying to provide a good enough reason as to why young people should still show an interest in modern politics), I came to a realisation. That in itself, my question demonstrates the exact reason most of us are checked out of politics, and why we must choose to check back in for the sake of our futures. It is time to move forward. It’s time for institutions to stop undermining the minds of young people and instead provide them with a platform to be heard. The likes of the Black Lives Matter movement, ongoing climate change protests, refugee crisis outrage, and women’s rights activism have not only revealed the immense anger and disappointment felt by young people, but also how passionate in our beliefs we are. Now more than ever, kids and teenagers are being made aware of current real-world issues, yet political parties are still figuring out how to fuel young people’s engagement with real-world change. In fact, it’s no surprise that the power of technological advancements, like social media, is being overlooked (*insert overused statement about our phones turning our brains to mush*). Instead, social media should be regarded as a tool for fervent political engagement amongst our youth and a weapon for much-needed social progression. It will take shifting the focus from mainstream politics to social movements, rallies and boycotts about relevant issues to truly capture the imaginations of young people — just like we’ve already observed in recent times. By enhancing youth representation at diplomatic events and discussions, young citizens will be drawn closer to the frontline of genuine political revolution. Politics is very disempowering when it feels like a lost cause. Whilst the light of our youth is currently dimmer than ever, I have hope that we can still find some reasons to relight the candle.

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Democracy Sudoku WORDS & ARTWORK Callum Johnson @neo.cog.ito If this year's federal election has shown us anything, young voters can have a drastic impact on the political landscape. But how do you figure out who to vote for to begin with? Adrift in a sea of old men in suits, it’s all too easy to lose yourself amidst the myriad of political parties, the differences between which can seem like little more than shades of grey (or caucasian, more accurately) to the uninformed. Maybe you simply follow your parents’ political leaning, comforted by the fact that they are actual adults after all, and their opinions therefore have to be sensible ones. Right? Or did you pick a side long ago and have stuck with it ever since, even as it changes leadership year in, year out? Perhaps you’ve got friends that live and breathe politics, friends that can give you the inside scoop on the logistics of branch-stacking at a moment's notice, and can most certainly point you in the right direction for voting season. Maybe you are that friend, having spent the time to diligently comb over all the parties and allot your vote carefully, instead of playing a quick round of sudoku at the ballot box before your democracy snag. It’s possible that you just don’t see what all the hubbub is about, as nothing really seems to change anyway — so you pick the parties with the silliest names, or better still, draw a big fat penis over your ballot card to really stick it to The Man. Or maybe you just forgot (again). Should you wish to change your tactic, I’d recommend checking out the ABC-commissioned ‘Vote Compass’ to begin. Created by Vox Pops Labs, ‘Vote Compass’ is a 10-minute survey that helps indicate how closely your political sentiments align with the parties out there, which can be a great place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed. That being said, it is notoriously difficult to quantify political ideologies to a sliding scale, so it’s best tempered with your own research (and no, that doesn’t include the crackpot, far-right articles Grandad keeps telling you to read). At the end of the day, even a donkey vote counts; but with how easy it is to do a little research online, I’d implore you to spend a couple minutes doing so before the next election, and make yourself a tangible part of the conversation. 24

The Politics Issue


How-To-Vote Ballot Paper Caulfield Electoral Division of Esperanto Number the boxes in order of choice PARENTAL ADVICE JUST DO WHAT THEY DO

BLUE/RED 'TIL I DIE I JUST PICK THEM EVERYTIME

ECHO CHAMBER CUT ALONG THIS LINE

ALL YOUR FRIENDS VOTE THE SAME

ACTUAL RESEARCH VERY ADULT OF YOU

VOTE COMPASS OK, STILL PRETTY ADULT

DONKEY VOTE

AT LEAST I NUMBERED THEM ALL

RIDICULOUS PARTIES THERE'S A PIRATE PARTY?

INFORMAL VOTE

YES, I DREW A PENIS ON A BALLOT PAPER

ANYONE BUT THEM

EVERYONE BUT THAT ONE PARTY

WAS IT TODAY?

OOPS, I TOTALLY FORGOT

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Just Call Me Lucifer WORDS Kiera Eardley @kieraeardley

PHOTOGRAPHY Naiyanat Sornratanachai @naiyanatrix

“…as heads is tails / just call me Lucifer / ’cause I’m in need of some restraint” from ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ (1968), The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones have courted controversy for their entire 60-year career. The British rock & roll band was marketed as the anti-establishment antidote to the saccharine Beatles — and they didn’t shy away from living up to that bad-boy image. In 1967, lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards were sensationally arrested for drug possession at Richards’ home in Sussex (while tripping on acid, no less) but spent just one night in jail before public pressure demanded their release. The band’s founder, Brian Jones, left the group in June 1969 and was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool just one month later. Supporting singer Merry Clayton was recruited for female vocals on ‘Gimme Shelter’ while heavily pregnant in 1969; she was called into the studio in the middle of the night, recorded the song, and later that morning miscarried due to the exertion of the performance. And perhaps most infamously, The Rolling Stones ended their 1969 tour in a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in California, which drew a crowd of 300,000 people and was serviced by none other than the Hells Angels as security guards (yeah, the motorcycle gang! Great idea, Mick). Four people died at that show, including one man who stormed the stage with a revolver during the Stones’ performance and was consequently stabbed to death by one of the Hells Angels. Like I said, controversy followed the band from the beginning. These transgressions made waves back in the ’60s and ’70s, and they probably still would today. But cultural standards — the blurry guidelines that define what we accept, and what we don’t — have changed a lot over time.

In 2022 compared to 1962, we’re generally a more accepting, inclusive and secular society. Right? The Rolling Stones are the perfect barometer to see if and how our standards have evolved, for better or worse, because what other popular band has existed across six decades? (Don’t factcheck me on that. Just take my word for it.) Religion and religious values are the most interesting areas to begin measuring cultural progress when it comes to The Rolling Stones. With their bad-boy image, conservative audiences were quick to call the group rule-breaking and even satanic — a label they poked fun at with their 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. Famously, the politically charged 1968 song ‘Street Fighting Man’ featured lyrics such as “the time is right for fighting in the streets”, and was banned across radio stations in the US for fear of inciting violence at anti-Vietnam War protests. Conservatives also, obviously, found the band’s drug habits an unacceptable advertisement for behaviour in young people. Their seminal album Exile on Main St. (1972) was largely recorded during a drug-fuelled stint in the French villa where the band was living as tax exiles, and Keith Richards was at the height of a decadelong heroin addiction. With the legalisation of marijuana and pill-testing becoming more common nowadays, our attitude towards recreational drugs has definitely softened over the years, and now we don’t bat an eye at the likes of The Weeknd releasing songs about Class A drug use. But back in the 20th century, the Stones were labelled ‘devil-worshippers’ after the release of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ in 1968 — which Jagger wrote and performed from the point of view of the Devil himself. In it, he boasts about his role in various man-made atrocities throughout history: the death of Jesus Christ, world wars and the Holocaust, the Russian Revolution, and the

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assassinations of the Kennedy brothers. The song spans six minutes and is a rollicking, faithless condemnation of humanity and religion — the narrator attributes war to the belief in gods “made” by monarchs, and calls “all the sinners saints” — and to this day is often performed onstage with Jagger in a flamboyant feathered cape to look like the Devil. Looking back, the band now laughs at the suggestion that they were satanic in any capacity. The other taboo associated with the band is, of course, sex. The Stones found themselves the objects of teenage-girl desire to a level rivalling the Beatles, and their song lyrics certainly played into this fanaticism. 1967’s ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ was blatantly sexual for the time, with Jagger crooning “I’ll satisfy your every need… and now I know you will satisfy me”. Most radio stations in the US opted to snub it for its B-side track, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, to avoid complaints from conservative listeners. What’s more, the cover art for the album Sticky Fingers was met with gasps of horror from ‘proper’ society upon its release in 1971; it featured a (very) close-up shot of a man’s crotch wearing (very) tight jeans. Given I grew up singing along to Rihanna’s ‘S&M’, it’s clear that we’re definitely not as much of a pearl-clutching society anymore. But there are still conservative sex-phobes (à la Ben Shapiro losing his mind over the unknowable concept of an IRL WAP) who make the gap between now and the ’60s 28

seem a lot smaller than it actually is. Perhaps as a result of all the progress we’ve made in what we’ll accept from our favourite artists, there are some aspects of the Stones’ past which seem in distinctly bad taste in 2022. 1968’s catchy ‘Stray Cat Blues’ includes the squirminducing anti-#MeToo lyrics, “I can see that you’re 15 years old / no, I don’t want your ID”. This takes on a special level of ‘ick’ when you consider that former Stones bassist Bill Wyman married an 18-year-old when he was 49 (and they had been together since she was just 14). Early hit ‘Under My Thumb’ is, by today’s standards, a celebration of a woman being domesticated by her partner (“she’s the sweetest pet in the world”). And most recently, the band has removed ‘Brown Sugar’ — one of their most successful songs — from its performance schedule, due to lyrics which Jagger himself admits wouldn’t fly in today’s climate. It covers everything from slavery to violence and interracial relationship, and many struggle to get past its opening lines: “Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields / sold in the market down in New Orleans / scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright / hear him whip the women just around midnight”. As hard as these things are to stomach, the Stones are the first to admit that times have changed; “I would never write that song today,” says Jagger of ‘Brown Sugar’. And maybe that’s the reason The Rolling Stones have endured the test of time — they can adapt, admit their faults, and retain their mantle as the greatest rock & roll band in the world.

The Politics Issue


PHOTOGRAPHY Fletcher Aldous @fletcheraldous

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PHOTOGRAPHY Fletcher Aldous @fletcheraldous


Environment Woes and Climate Activist Hoes WORDS Alice Wright @alicewrt

PHOTOGRAPHY Molly Burmeister @mollyburmeisterphotography

In the past year, Australia was ranked dead last for its climate policy, with no current plan in place to work towards transitioning to renewable energy on a national level. No new policies have been announced to reach zero emissions by 2050, and each and every year we watch on as houses are burnt down and flooded, leaving Australians left with little hope for the future. Climate change has been at the forefront of my mind for a long time now. It is something that I think about often and I battle with the debate on whether or not I should be hopeful or scared for the future. As a young Australian with many more years of life ahead of me, I am scared to think about what will happen to our beautiful country. Over the past few years, I have tried implementing more environmentally friendly practices in my life as a way of easing the worry in my mind. I mostly shop secondhand for clothing, eat a heavily plant-based diet, and try to cut down on single-use plastic whenever possible. But as I’ve gotten older, I have come to realise that this probably isn’t enough. It is the large companies and the government who hold the power to determine our fate. In 2021, it was recorded that three-quarters of Australian companies were creating enough emissions to increase temperatures by more than 1.5 degrees. From 2013 to 2022, Australia was under a Coalition government that sought to derail climate policy. During this time, the government shrunk the Renewable Energy Target by 20 per cent and increased Australia’s fossil fuel production by 19 per cent. Only $3.6 billion was put towards emission reduction solutions — while in comparison, $176 billion was used for COVID-19 recovery. 32

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding was also cut by $500 million. Researching this information alone made me feel quite uneasy. With the knowledge of these facts, we can only assume the irreversible damage that has been done. I think it is important to note the lack of trust we have in our Indigenous community’s practices. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have rituals and procedures, like cultural burning, that they have been using for thousands of years to heal and look after our country’s landscape. Sadly, if we had continued to use this practice, the 2020 fires would not have been nearly as devastating as they were. On top of this, what saddens me greatly is the impact that climate change will have on Indigenous Australians. When we are building dams, clearing land, mining and furthering urban development, we are destroying the environments they rely so heavily on. Without our Australian land and seas, these communities cannot continue their culture. I think most of all, when I sit and assess my feelings, I am sad because when I imagine Australia, my home, I think of how lucky we are to have such a unique country. I’ve had the pleasure to travel around Australia and I’m repeatedly left wanting more. I’m enticed by our native flora and fauna, their rare colours and shapes, I’m hypnotised by the never-ending bright blue oceans, and I am completely fascinated by the animals that walk our land and swim through our seas. To think they will be gone by the time I pass is a heartbreaking thought. So, I’ve taken the lead and researched ways that we as individuals can help fight this battle.

The Politics Issue


#1. Leave your car at home if you can. When possible, walking, biking or catching public transport is a great way to cut greenhouse emissions. #2. Change your bank. Australia’s largest four banks invest huge amounts into the fossil fuel sector. #3. Cut down on food waste. Research found that Australians throw out one in every five bags of groceries. Food rotting in landfill creates methane, which adds to emissions. Try meal prepping, planning meals, and composting.

#4. Try replacing a few of your steak dinners. The production of red meat generates more emissions than any other type of meat — five times more than chicken, in fact. If we all reduce our red-meat consumption, this would help massively. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make immediate changes, or follow this advice too strictly. If we all make a few small changes, it will help. If you are feeling stressed about climate change, talk to a friend, do some of your own research, or take action in a way that will make you feel better. At the end of the day, we are in this together and have to work together for a brighter future.

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Tattoos and Dyed Hair and Piercings, Oh My! WORDS Soraya Rezal @sorayarezal

ILLUSTRATION Lauren Easter @lauren.easter.art Looks and appearances are everything, apparently. The clothes we wear, the colour of our hair, the amount of piercings and tattoos we have — these are all things that are often judged by other people. In 2022, you’d think we should be able to present ourselves however we want. However, my personal experience proves otherwise.

Within the past six years, I’ve dyed my hair six times. One for every year, I guess. What’s funny is that almost every time I post a picture of my new hair on Instagram, my DMs are flooded with friends asking if I’m okay. It seems that people think dyeing one’s hair equates to an existential crisis. The most dramatic hair colour I’ve had was a bright bluish-green. That came with its own consequences, especially in an environment where anything that isn’t part of the norm is considered a disgrace. Going to the shopping centre was lowkey torturous because people’s heads would turn — and not in a good way. I tried not to take it to heart but I must admit, it’s really tough when people are judging you left and right. Of all the different reactions my coloured hair has received, one incident stands out. In 2019, I was heading towards the boarding gate at the 34

airport to go on holiday with my family. As I went through the final security checks, I was stopped by two police officers who demanded my personal details. At this point, I was a clueless 17-yearold who tried hard to play by the rules, so being stopped at the airport was terrifying. My mum overheard them asking me for my details and she asked what they were going to use it for. They refused to give her a valid answer and told us that it was only for their records. As I went to leave, I heard one officer say, “I bet she’s up to no good”. The other one, saying that I must be “smuggling drugs”. They really thought they were being discrete by speaking in a different language... well guess what? I’m bilingual, and I perfectly understood what they said (*drops mic*). Now, why is it that when I had black hair, none of this happened? They must’ve thought,

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‘she has green hair and a helix piercing? That’s just diabolical’. Let me also remind you that this happened only three years ago. I thought society was way past discriminating and making judgements solely based on people’s appearances, but damn was I wrong. Despite all the negativity, I held my (very green) head up high. In the end, going through all these experiences was worth it to me because having dyed hair helped me regain the self-confidence that I’d lost along the way. It’s also a really fun way to express yourself. 10/10 would recommend! The Cambridge Dictionary defines politics as ‘the relationships within a group or organisation that allow particular people to have power over others’. The keyword here is power.

Somehow, the stereotype of a person in power appearing as a formally dressed, often cis-gendered man still prevails. Does that mean if you’re a woman with a full-sleeve tattoo and an out-of-theordinary hair colour, you won’t be the next CEO of a big company? In my opinion, absolutely not. Just because a workplace has a strict dress code, doesn’t mean that it should hold you back from achieving your full potential. In contrast with the opening sentence of this article, looks are NOT everything. It’s just one part of who we are as humans. Also, if you have tattoos, coloured hair and a ton of piercings, you’re a super cool human in my book.

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Reverse-Engineering My Thoughts on Plastic Surgery WORDS Felice Lok @felicee.eee

ILLUSTRATION Natalie Tran @natsiouu “You see, more often than not, the people who shame women the most are actually women themselves.”

I remember first grappling with the notion of internalised misogyny while preparing for my Year 12 oral exam. My topic was about why all men play a role in eliminating violence against women, and the way I wrote it fixated heavily on how men were always the main perpetrators. While I was rehearsing in my English teacher’s office after school one afternoon, she said something that I didn’t really understand at the time, but has stuck with me ever since. She said: “you see, more often than not, the people who shame women the most are actually women themselves.” Internalised misogyny displays itself in many subtle ways — often so subtle that we pay no attention to it. And perhaps one of the biggest ways this is reflected is through how some women shame others for choosing to have plastic surgery. It seems that all along, plastic surgery was bad; not only did it mean that you were too fixated on your appearance, but it also meant you were flouting the norm of embracing ‘natural’ beauty. It begs the question: can women ever get anything right? That is, can they ever get anything right under a patriarchal system? Women are criticised as being too materialistic when they choose to have plastic surgery, but when they choose not to have plastic surgery, they’re criticised for failing to appease the aesthetic needs of the patriarchy. Either way, women get shamed. And for most of my teenage years, I didn’t 36

realise that my own internalised misogyny contributed to that. The first time I heard someone challenge my negative perceptions towards plastic surgery was in Year 8, when my friend said that she supported celebrities who chose to have plastic surgery. “They are idols after all, so having surgery demonstrates a form of respect for their fans and themselves,” she said. Although her words reflect how we feel obliged to change our appearances to please other people, it made me question why I thought I had the right to judge other women for their beauty choices. As I reached the later years of high school, I read more widely about feminism and the objectification of women in our everyday lives. It was also the time of the #MeToo movement, and I felt increasingly indignant about how women were treated, while being ashamed of how I felt it was ever acceptable to put down and make judgements of other women. We’re often quick to point the finger at men in perpetuating misogyny (and for very valid reasons), but we need to recognise how internalised misogyny is more common than we think — and often more harmful, too. A choice to have plastic surgery is a right of any woman that shouldn’t be subject to shame. And acknowledging this is a nod in the direction of undoing our internalised misogyny.

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How Are

You Any Different? 38

The Politics Issue


WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Zayan Ismail @zayanisml The term 'intersectionality' was first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an African American woman, in her 1989 paper, 'Demarginalising the Intersection of Race and Sex'. Intersectionality is a concept in social studies that refers to how different factors such as age, race, ability and class all interact with each other to bring about inequalities. The term still holds true today in a world that has succumbed to the tides of drastic social change. It is not surprising that Kimberlé came up with the word based upon her own experience, nor is it surprising that the term has been misused, misconstrued and not properly credited over the years since. Her experiences are the sad reality for a woman and person of colour in academia, and it’s the same behaviour we witness in our communities that is built upon discriminatory views formed by our own biases. It is still exactly what Kimberlé warned us about and the marginalisation that she faced when she was immediately sidelined for being too critical and playing into ‘identity politics’. But don’t we all speak from our own experiences and knowledge? This question is where it all began, and how I first came across the conceptual understanding of intersectionality in my sociology classes. As a POC of Maldivian descent, I look at the world differently because of my different upbringing. I have to unwillingly accept or work towards dismantling some of the archaic social constructs that we see in our societies. For me, these factors play a major role in the way I interact with my surroundings. And now being non-binary, the world seems even more challenging than usual. But intersectionality is not just another

buzzword used by persons of colour. It is a product and a significant reminder of the societal inequalities experienced by all human beings. In fact, one of the social factors that lead to inequality is based on access to resources and income, which may be difficult for a person from a lower economic background. Being a woman and a person of colour, you would have to bear the brunt of structural barriers that oppress and marginalise. These may come in the form of access to social services such as healthcare, education, financing and employment opportunities. This is far too often the harsh reality faced by Indigenous or First Nations people. In Australia for instance, recent studies find that discrimination against Indigenous people has risen to an all-time high. These include minor experiences of unfair treatment, like experiencing less respect and courtesy, receiving poorer service or being called names. It also points to more serious matters such as being denied a promotion or job, or being discouraged from continuing education. This is where the different social factors come into play: your race, class, ability and mobility. And this is what leads to biases being formed that enable such cycles of discrimination to continue. As Kimberlé states, imperialism and colonial values play a major role in structural violence; the “stubborn endurance of the structures of white dominance” and its implications are groundbreaking. It has highlighted the systematic inequalities and the foundations of oppression, giving rise to local and global movements alike. From Bla(c)k Lives Matter, to climate change protests and gun violence, each movement was

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Have people with complex experiences always been speaking and demanding a seat at the table? Yes, but it’s a matter of being heard .

catalysed by intersectional thought. It was writers and activists such as bell hooks, Angela Davis and Joyce Clague who brought different perspectives to the feminist movement. It is the climate activists in small island states suffering the most who prove the worst impacts of human-induced global warming. It is the people who suffer from bushfires in Australia who boost climate activism and call for change today. Without taking an intersectional viewpoint, the world would be much duller. Intersectionality is seminal to a contemporary understanding of our surroundings. It’s critical in our analysis of the complexities of the human condition and how we all face suffering. This is a new era of possibility, where young people of all ages, colour and creed are aware of their diversities. As Kimberlé says, intersectionality can be likened to a lens that allows us to see how different forms of inequality exacerbate one another. As I reflect on instances when I was discriminated against, I realise how such prejudiced views have become mundane and normalised so that it’s difficult for people to realise their own privilege. From being looked at differently on the streets and in the grocer, to the invalidation and disregard of my views, even within the university setting, I realise now that I don’t 40

need validation from other people — I know myself and hold true to who I am. Diversity is a fact of life, therefore we cannot ignore intersectionality in our discussions. We mustn’t bring ‘intersectional voices’ simply to say we are being inclusive. This not only ‘others’ the individual but as I have seen time and time again, it casts people as being different and therefore easy to exclude. Have people with complex experiences always been speaking and demanding a seat at the table? Yes, but it’s a matter of being heard. People who face multiple levels of inequality and oppression live with that fact for their entire lives. It is up to anyone who holds privilege in some form or another to acknowledge this and create a safe space for everyone. It is heartening to see so much change happening in my early twenties. I find gratitude and comfort in knowing that nothing remains the same in this world for long. Perhaps it’s also daunting to see the level of violence, strife and suffering happening now. It may never end. What we can end are inequalities and structural barriers, thereby providing access to opportunities for a dignified life for all. Oh, the wonders that can happen when we free our mind of the shackles of discrimination and intolerance!

The Politics Issue


PHOTOGRAPHY Fletcher Aldous @fletcheraldous

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Shaken, Not Stirred WORDS Gabriela Fannia @ gabrielafannia

ILLUSTRATION Sama Harris @designs_by_sama

Can you think of a day that you’re not a consumer of news? If you’re a regular browser of Facebook and Instagram (which I’m sure you are), you most definitely are consuming news stories every single day. You may or not may have noticed, but the way stories are presented to us through the digital-scape is… hectic, to say the least. News stories are fast and often furious. Why? Because of the fast-paced media environment that bombards us with new things and is capable of putting us into emotional unrest. It excites us, stirs us up, or leaves us shaking (sometimes all at the same time). Being informed on current affairs is important, but now just being informed is simply not enough. Major social events, such as Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial or the overturning of Roe v Wade, show how news stories can move people in a way that pushes them to make rash decisions. Have you ever felt that intense pressure on social media to take sides and voice your opinion? It challenges us: what are you going to do about it? It gets to a point that not having strong opinions or not taking part in that protest feels unsettling or wrong. I think these past few eventful years shed light on an underlying issue that not enough people talk about: the power of social media movements. At best, they help spread awareness for important causes like LGBTQ+ rights. Even if it was something that happened on the other side of the world, stories will make their way onto your news feed for your fingertips to double-tap, share or comment on. At worst, they are irresistibly argumentative, getting us stirred up and joining a heated comments section about the fate of Australian cows amid the risk of foot and mouth disease… because we love our steaks, am I right? After the keyboard warriors die down, we start asking ourselves, ‘why was I so into that?’, and then, well, it all repeats. That’s right, social media movements and their trends have a vicious cycle, and no one is immune to it. The 24/7 news cycle sparks literal fireworks. It leads us to form rash opinions on small embers of information, forcing us to choose between two sides of an argument. Are you on Depp’s side or Heard’s side? Then, it gives us the immense urge to make our thoughts visible and tell the public where we stand, making definitive decisions without room for nuance. And suddenly, these fleeting social media news stories disappear quickly, when everyone is no longer looking. Yes, they give an impactful bang and are entertaining, but none of them are truly long-lasting. I believe keystone events such as the BLM movement and Roe v Wade deserve a longer lifespan within our casual conversations. Although their social media trends like a black tile or #MeToo might fade away, it doesn’t mean the timer stops for us to keep learning and investigating. The end of a social media trend shouldn’t mark the end of your curiosity, but rather spark a commitment to be openminded towards important sociocultural and political issues. 42

The Politics Issue


I learned that we can no longer be mere observers of an event, because news trends entice us to be part of it. They now want us to do so much more than just receive facts and figures. But we don’t just want to be a part of their fleeting spectacle, we want to effect real change. Although it’s snazzy to be on top of social media trends, we can’t let them merely appease our short attention spans. (And don’t worry, you don’t have to reply to that comment. The cows will be just fine.)

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Sobriety Sorority WORDS Gitika Garg @avantgarg

ILLUSTRATION Madison Marshall @madagasc.art

I’ve always been partial to a good night out, and my routine has been somewhat perfected. It goes like this: pres beforehand at someone’s house or occasionally just sculling your drink in an alleyway before waiting in line to enter a bar or club (trashy I know, but don’t tell me you haven’t done it). After several hours of dancing — or what could only be counted as simply head-bopping — nothing beats the 3am Macca’s run that follows. Then comes the impossible quest of finding your Uber on crowded Chapel Street to finally return home, ready to crash. The worst part? That feeling the next day, especially when the night turns out to be wilder than anticipated. It’s a feeling I don’t need to describe, as I’m sure many of you will shudder with flashbacks, knowing it all too well. The thing is, more often than not, drinking has been a big part of a ‘good night out’, and for me — without sounding too dramatic — it’s always presented a constant internal battle. Let me explain. I’ve never been one to particularly enjoy the taste of alcohol (I mean, who really does?), so I’ve tended to only drink in one of two social situations: the cute cocktail-or-two at dinner, or the drink-toget-drunk-at-a-party kind of vibe. But through it all, the question ‘should I even drink?’ has, without fail, always played in the back of my mind. I oscillate between the ‘drinking isn’t good for me and my body is a temple’ argument and the ‘I’m young, just have some fun’ rebuttal. You’d think it’d be an easy conflict to resolve, especially if I morally feel like drinking isn’t for me — but it’s been far from it. On the occasions that I’ve chosen to be sober — and there have certainly been many — I’ve felt a kind of pressure that’s hard to put into words. No one is forcing me, no one is shoving a drink in my hand, and yet the pressure to drink to ‘have a good time’ rings louder than the quiet voice inside me. Ironically, I’ve proved to myself on more than one occasion that alcohol is not a prerequisite in enjoying myself. I can dance till I drop without a single drink and survive social situations. Honestly, sometimes my best nights are the ones where I’ve stayed sober. I’ve saved money, saved myself the headache the next day, and actually remembered the night. 44

So why don’t I just give up drinking, if it’s something I’ve repeatedly thought about? I guess I’ve always worried that by choosing to not drink, I might miss out or be seen as boring or uncool. I’m not quite sure what it is about the social stigma around drinking, but choosing to be sober warrants a different kind of judgment. It tends not to be seen as triumphant but rather somewhat of an oddity or weakness. I get it, drinking is the norm. Most people drink, particularly in uni where drinking forms part of student culture. Yet interestingly enough, sobriety is on the rise amongst young people who have been increasingly choosing not to drink. While in 2001, just 8.9 per cent of young Australians forwent alcohol, this figure increased to 22 per cent in 2019. In spite of the statistics, choosing not to drink has still made me feel like perhaps I’m doing something wrong. And so, after much back and forth with myself, I’ve slowly come to embrace my thoughts and choices when it comes to drinking. What does this look like? Choosing to drive (a great excuse for being sober), having only one drink rather than going all out, or just not drinking at all because I simply don’t want to. On a deeper note (and yes, I have turned drinking into a full-blown identity crisis) it means understanding that it’s okay to not want to drink anymore. It’s okay if others judge and create their own conclusions about me. It also means being kind to myself and not beating myself up about the fact that I haven’t quite reached a concrete resolution. Nowadays, my motto is: drink if you feel like it, and don’t drink when you feel like it. ‘You’ is the keyword, of course. It might seem glaringly obvious, but it’s been an important lesson in understanding that I should be doing something because I want to and not because I feel the need to since everyone else is. Will I get to a stage where I leave drinking all together? Probably. I’d definitely like to, but it’s going to take a bit longer to break down that stigma for me.

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So if you’ve ever considered choosing not to drink or going down a path of sobriety but felt that strange kind of pressure or uncertainty, I hope you know that you are not alone. For whatever reason it may be that you’ve joined, welcome to the sorority.

Esperanto


Will History Repeat Itself? WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Andie Perez The objects vanish, and so does he, slowly. It happens after the alcohol, arguments with my grandmother, and the several naps throughout the day. My Lolo was an illustrator for the largest media company in the Philippines. He would sketch caricatures of people at ease and master different writing styles with a delicate hand. Lolo never believed his art was perfect, only good enough. But he had been satisfied with his position. A mixture of fun and work. But in 1972, when Lolo was 27 years old, everything changed. The dip pen he holds disappears, followed by the bristol papers scattered across the desk. Soundlessness replaces a sharp thud when a metal ruler falls. The studio lights flicker off and will not turn on for another 14 years. Outside, people are abducted, tortured and exiled if they disobey the newly introduced Martial Law by Ferdinand Marcos. Martial Law will change his career trajectory and role as breadwinner. The objects vanish, and so does he, slowly. It happens after the alcohol, arguments with my grandmother, and the several naps throughout the day. Lolo never truly recovered under the Martial Law. He was always there for his family, but he grew increasingly distant, withdrawn, and unable to support them as well as he once did. Lolo's story is not unique in some ways. Poverty and hardship were rampant during Martial Law — silent obedience was the way to survive. On the contrary, supporters of Marcos like to cite the infrastructural achievements built during the period. Yet, because of how Lolo suffered, it’s difficult for me to see the name Marcos in a positive light. All I think about is pain. Last May, Ferdinand Marcos’ son, Bongbong Marcos Jr., won the Filipino election in a landslide victory. He promised to bring back the Golden Era that his father began and remains close friends with the authoritarian-leaning former president, Rodrigo Duterte. My parents sit at the dining table, unfazed. They claim this is expected; 46

wealth and political families go a long way in the Philippines. The atrocities that occurred during Lolo's time seem to be erased by the Marcoses’ powerful social media presence. According to BBC, Marcos Jr. had enquired with Cambridge Analytica about a rebrand of their family name online, of course, to show them in a better light. As many Filipinos receive their news on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, manipulating the algorithms can change opinions and attitudes as quick as a flash. People start to recall the better parts of the Martial Law. But the trauma stays repressed, deeply embedded in their bodies. And it has worked. I cringe at remixed TikTok edits about Marcos Jr. with his teenage sons and fans that espouse their love for them with heartshaped emojis. On Instagram, well-known internet celebrities endorse him as if he were another one of their sponsors. Lolo would have sworn at the TV if he saw this. Like many others, I have worries over the Marcos Jr. administration, and whether he will repeat his father's mistakes, or if he will carry out leadership with the same intensity of Duterte’s ruthless war-on-drugs campaign. Lolo passed away before I could meet him. I try to make sense of that time in his life by assembling the scattered pieces of stories and photographs into a coherent timeline. Nonetheless, I feel that there is still an element of mystery about him because I know so little. But learning more about the political history of the Philippines during his lifetime has made me garner immense empathy for him. Even if Marcos Jr. has successfully won the presidential campaign, many Filpinos will still have poignant memories of the past — just like Lolo. The memories of my Lolo evoke a sense of sacredness within me, and I would never want to erase his pain and hardship.

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WORDS Lochie McKay @lmckay_98 ILLUSTRATION Qianjia (Fiona) Lin @jialanillustration

In a Perfect World


It’s hard picturing how the world could get any better. Everywhere we look on the news, on our phones, or out on the street, things seem horrible. As young people, we feel more and more hopeless in the face of the daunting challenges that lie ahead. As a deep and frigid winter sets in, economic disparity is sharp. Cold mornings siphon off our optimism that the day is going to be a good one. We live in a time of great economic inequality, where the Aussie dream of owning your own home is only really an option for those lucky enough to cash a cheque with the bank of inherited wealth — and this is only part of the problem that younger people face today. The near impossible challenge of climate change, set to totally change the way that humanity exists on Earth, eats away at my mind. It feeds my worries that the world I grow old in, and the world that I hope to have children in, will be worse than the world that my folks grew up in. More disturbingly, the institutions that are supposed to solve these problems seem more interested in political point-scoring than helping, or are too busy trying to control the choices that their citizens make about their own lives. It’s pretty damn hard trying to picture a perfect world right about now. But what else can I do? I could skip around, pretend I don't know any better. Sink into a warm bath of bliss to soothe my weary bones — weary from holding me upright against daily headwinds. Pretend that everything will be fine even when I know it won’t be. Or I could listen to the cynical know-it-alls who are telling people that things are too far gone for anything to be done about it. That there’s nothing more that your sweet but silly attempts to change the world can do. And in turn, I could try to tear down any other attempt to make a change in the world, lest the success of others remind me of my own dismal failings. That’s the worst of the two options: becoming a black hole of cynicism, sucking in any bright light of optimism in my orbit. Those choices don’t sound all that appealing. I wouldn’t like the person who chooses to give up

on any possibility of change. Where would it leave the things that I care about? How could I look at myself in the mirror knowing that I could make a difference but chose not to? And so, I’m left in the impossible position of having to remain hopeful in a situation that often feels hopeless. But as renowned activist for prison abolition, Mariame Kaba, said in an interview last year, “hope is a discipline”. Hope isn’t about how you feel, but more about “the practice of deciding every day that you’re still gonna put one foot in front of the other, that you’re still going to get up in the morning”. This belief is where I find comfort when I read the news or go on Twitter and sink into the bottomless pessimism. It’s that it isn’t naive or wrong to have hope, that we might even make things better. It’s a discipline that can be sharpened and honed, like a sword you’d take into every political battle in the face of overwhelming odds. Except hope isn’t the only ingredient necessary to survive in today’s harsh political climate — it needs to be coupled with the radical idea that most people are actually really decent. Author and historian Rutger Bregman writes, “it's time for a new realism… a new look at humankind”. Bregman’s new realism is premised on the fact that all people share key commonalities, that every person is looking for the same fundamental things for themselves and those they care about. In my opinion, these shared hopes are for security and a worthwhile future. Having security is being safe from harm; having enough food, water and shelter, and living in relative peace. Such a thing might seem trivial to the well-off, but even in the developed world not everyone knows where they’ll sleep in the upcoming winter storms.

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A worthwhile future is one that has promise, where social mobility is possible, having a family is a widely accessible choice, and self-fulfilment is in every way achievable. Importantly, a worthwhile future is up to an individual to determine for themselves, not something imposed upon them by the state or anyone else. Fundamental to both security and a worthwhile future is that each of these concepts relies on those with disciplined hope, working tirelessly to achieve them. So, what does my perfect world look like? My perfect world is one where the discipline of hope thrives every day. One where everyone can enjoy the freedom to make choices about their own futures. One where the challenges of tomorrow aren’t seen as utterly overwhelming. One where we can each have a kinder view of what humanity could achieve, that each of us deserves to have our needs met. It's in this kind of world where the challenges we face aren’t seen as apocalyptic or immovable, but only the temporary obstacles on the road towards a better world.

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PHOTOGRAPHY Fletcher Aldous @fletcheraldous

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PHOTOGRAPHY Fletcher Aldous @fletcheraldous

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