Month: May 2016

I’m sorry, but I don’t support the dairy industry.

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COW

I feel for our dairy farmers—I really do.

I can’t imagine how it would feel to have everything you’ve ever known dwindle around you. To have your livelihoods rendered worthless. To be thrown into unfair debt. I have no doubt that dairy farmers have the best intentions—and maybe some of them really do look after their animals. But even so: dairy is a destructive industry, where animals are objectified as means to an economic end—and this isn’t okay.

Before you abuse me, take a moment to consider my words—humour me.

Let’s think about the practicality of dairy and how we actually get milk—cows don’t just magically produce it: it results from pregnancy. Like humans, cows carry their young for nine months.  Unlike humans, most cows will have their young taken away within 12-14 hours after birth due to their economic strain. Calves less than 30 days old—known as bobby cows—will often be sent to the slaughterhouse. In Australia, this is around 400,000 calves per year. This “cruel separation” is a traumatic experience, destined to be repeated over and over for a cow’s workable lifetime— every 13 months. These calves will never even taste their mother’s milk.

There are 1.6 million dairy cows in Australia. While cows will naturally live around 20 years, cows in the dairy industry are only expected to live around seven to eight years. Australian cows also produce around 5730L of milk per year—which is incredible, as the average is only 2900L.  Our farmers are struggling, and no matter how beloved certain cows may be, farmers simply need to get as much as they can from their livestock. But is money worth these drastic measures?

Speaking of drastic measures, let’s talk about industry standards. Yes, there are standards—and yes, they’re a lot better than a lot of other countries. They do genuinely try to provide better lives and treatment for cows in terms of welfare. But some aspects are still quite barbaric, such as dehorning and castration. Dehorning is a common practise for male and female cows, which involves sensitive tissue being sawn off. Castration, while considered a major operation for older bulls, can be done to males younger than six months by anyone—no matter how inexperienced. Shockingly, there are no laws required for pain relief.

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Bobby cows. Image via Vice.

Is cruelty and objectification not enough to convince you of a change of heart? Well, let’s look at health factors.

For decades, we’ve been fed the idea that dairy is best—that we need it. But consider who would have encouraged this propaganda: that’s right, the for-profit dairy industry. Yes, dairy is the source of calcium and other vitamins, but to put it bluntly: it’s not meant for us. It’s meant for a rapidly growing baby calf.

Dr Mark Hyman said consuming dairy is actually not in our best interests, and that we’ve been force-fed many ideas that are not factual. For instance, milk doesn’t reduce fractures—it may actually increase the risk of them by 50%. By consuming five to seven portions of fruits and veggies per day (and no animal products), a person can reduce their risk of heart disease by 47%, strokes by 26%, and cancer by up to 18%. Furthermore, about 75% of the population is lactose intolerant. Know why?

Because. We’re. Not. Meant. To. Drink. Another. Animal’s. Milk.

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Breaking this bond is the price of dairy. Image via My Mind Vegan.

Think about it. Think about what they’re not telling you. Do you think animals should be used purely for economic gain? Even if you don’t think it’s wrong for them to be killed for our consumption, I’d like to think that—as reasonable agents—we can agree that cows should at least be treated well—starting with stricter industry standards and better policing. Even if they’re going to be slaughtered, at the very least, they should live fulfilling lives.

Does this make you feel sad? Do you wish things were different? Well, they can be—and you can help. Change begins with education. Even one mind changed can start a revolution. As it is, we don’t need dairy—there are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium, like dark leafy greens, beans, pulses, nuts, brown bread, enriched fruit juice, plant-based milks, soy mince, tofu and so on. Dairy is dwindling—the number of farms in the last two decades has decreased by two thirds. Maybe there’s a reason for it.

Dairy farmers, I feel sorry for you—that you’ve been brought into this war and are struggling. That you’re only paid 37 cents for a litre of milk, despite it costing 38 cents to produce. But instead of supporting our farmers by buying their product, why don’t we encourage them and donate to them to create new and sustainable livelihoods—livelihoods that don’t rely on forced slavery.

Some things are meant to change—and I for one choose compassion.

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Cows smile when you don’t eat them or take away their babies. Image via Reddit.
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Stop telling me I “don’t look like a gamer”.

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Accurate. Image via Big Bang Theory.

I don’t feel comfortable. Maybe it’s my anxiety, but I’m not so sure. My palms are sweaty. My breathing escalates. I feel their eyes on me. You don’t belong here, they snicker.

I pause. Well . . . Why don’t I belong here?

I’m talking about my recent visits to various comic book and gaming stores. Now, I love gaming. I’ve loved it ever since Sonic the Hedgehog came out on Sega, followed by the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games on PlayStation1, various PlayStation 2 games, and now my PlayStation 4. I’ve gleefully wasted countless hours of my life mashing buttons and yelling with glee at the screen. I’ve finished my favourite games multiple times, and if I’m ever not responding to Facebook messages, it’s probably because I’m gaming—can’t talk, killing zombies. But for some reason, whenever I visit a nerdy store—filled with things I love dearly and would gladly spend my money on—the eyes of other patrons tell me I don’t belong.

Is it because I’m a woman?

Is it because I don’t “look like a gamer”?

Is it because I wear pretty floral dresses and bright red lipstick?

Is it because I wing my eyeliner sharp enough to cut the haters, have my nails done and carry cute handbags?

Whenever I go into these stores, I feel like I have to justify myself. I have to prove I like these things. I have to prove I’m not a poser. Because obviously, my appearance is directly linked to what things I can and can’t enjoy, and how good I am at said things.

It is not posing when a female enjoys games, anime, comic books or other like things. Believe it or not, we’re not trying to act cool to impress boys (or girls). Here’s a crazy idea: maybe we enjoy it—just like you.

Instead of judging and hating each other, we should be promoting acceptance, love, and mutual enjoyment of cool and quirky things. After all, aren’t we the same geeks that were (most likely) picked on in school? Teased for liking things that weren’t the norm? Stereotyped as nerds and weirdos?

I am a nerd. I am a geek. I’m a weirdo. And I’m a girly girl. But you know what? I’m proud of that. I love these things, and I can’t wait to experience more. And if you’re ever tempted to judge someone else, maybe you should take a good hard look at yourself. Stop looking at me with those eyes. I do belong here—F off. I can’t hear you over the sound of me winning, anyway.

Stop telling me I can’t wear heels to uni.

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Image via Medical Daily.

There seems to be a stigma attached to women who wear high heels to uni—or anywhere casual, really. People say: why would you do that? That’s really silly. Don’t your feet hurt? Your feet look like they hurt.

News flash: if I wear heels, it’s because I want to—not to please you. Do my feet hurt? Probably. But at least I feel confident and pretty. Besides, it’s not like I always wear heels. I rarely do. Please, stop judging and be on your merry way. There are actually a lot of benefits I think people don’t realise—particularly in the colder months.

They look fabulous.

Now, I don’t think of myself as a vain person—but looking down at my feet or catching a glimpse of my shoes in the reflection of a window or glass door makes me feel confident and sophisticated. To me, wearing heels can signify professionalism. When I’m in the city or interning at a magazine in the city, all I can think about is how fantastic and confident they seem. While I have worn huge and gorgeous heels in the city (and yes, they do kill), I can’t help but feel it’s worth it. Besides, you can always pack flats: the best of both worlds.

They give you height.

I’ll admit, I’m a short ass—just below five foot three. Actually being able to see the top shelf, or over the sea of people is awesome. Plus, when you wear heels, you’re less likely to step in puddles and have to walk around with soaked converse or ballet flats. Winning.

Shoes, glorious shoes. Image via Express.

They make you work more.

It’s no secret that it does take more effort to wear heels—but, something I noticed today, is that it has the effect of making you feel warmer. Which makes sense—you’re exerting more energy in moving. The result: warmth. Fantastic for the upcoming winter months.

Because I want to.

But seriously, I don’t need your validation. I am not conforming to some kind of stereotype of women needing to wear damaging and painful heels. I’m doing it because I want to, and because it makes me happy. And if it makes me happy to occasionally don some heeled boots or a pair of pumps, then that is exactly what I’ll do.

Love yourself—all of yourself—no matter what your style.

Messaging for dummies: how to not be a douche

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Facebook people, we need to talk. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what you do. I don’t care how busy you think you are. If you can see someone’s social media messages, you could at least do the courtesy of sending some kind of a response.

Now, I understand we do get busy. Sometimes we accidently open messages in our sleep. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we genuinely don’t have time to respond to every little whim. Sometimes we may not even reply. Even so, call me crazy, but if I am talking to you about something important, I kind of expect a response. Any response. Particularly if I can see you a) online, b) posting other whimsical things and c) what I’m talking to you about needs an answer.

So, to make it simple for you, here’s my quick and handy guide on how to not be an inconsiderate jerk when messaging people on Facebook. You should answer someone if:

  • It’s a question.
  • It’s an important question.
  • It’s time-sensitive.
  • It involves organising a meeting.
  • It’s something you said you’d do—or try to do.
  • They’re a good friend.
  • They’re relying on your response for something.

Do not respond if:

  • You are inconsiderate.
  • You are a jerk.
  • They’re stalking you.
  • It’s stupid.

There you go—refer to that guide if you have this problem. Or tag someone in this post to send a message. Really, it’s about respect—and common courtesy.

Maybe I’m being superficial. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking I complain too much—and you’re probably right. But for all my faults, at least I reply to my damn messages. Don’t be rude. Respond.

 

 

How to look after someone with mental illness

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Every day, six Australians will take their own lives—and another 30 will attempt to. But what if someone could be there for them? What if someone could have looked after them? What if we could have saved them? Mental illness is a serious—and terrifying—thing to experience or see. But even the smallest things can make a massive difference.  Here’s how you can look after the ones you love:

Clean for them

I feel paralysed when I’m depressed. I can’t move. I sit, and stare off into nothingness, stuck in a black hole of desolation. I peer around my little apartment, and see unwashed dishes, an overflowing bin, crumbs and clothes on the floor. But there’s not a single thing I can do to fix it. Even getting out of bed is a mammoth task when you’re depressed, and cleaning is almost unthinkable. But at the same time, a messy house is distressing. It’s cluttered—just like your mind.

Having someone to help with this would be glorious—and if you don’t have to worry about small things like cleaning, you can start focussing on the real task at hand: fixing yourself.

Cook for them

It’s the same as the above scenario. When you’re feeling down, it’s really, really hard to look after yourself.  When you’re sad, you don’t feel hungry—and you don’t exactly feel like cooking a nutritious meal loaded with veggies. I think eating a good meal is the first step to feeling better. It will help your body function better, and make you feel better. Who doesn’t love a food coma from comfort food? Cook your loved one their favourite meals: fill our hearts and our stomachs with love.

Tell them you’re there for them—and mean it

These small words can mean a lot—but if you say them, you have to really mean them. Check up on your loved ones. Make them smile. Help them do everyday chores, and encourage them to begin the healing process. Be there for them when they break down. Hang out with them, even if it’s something as banal as watching movies or having coffee. Trust me, the company will do them good. At the very least, it will stop them from doing something they’ll regret later—or something they may never come back from.

Hugs

We all crave human contact, whether it be through a loving embrace, or a shoulder to cry on. This love is exceptionally important for someone caught in a spiral of self-hatred, trapped inside the insanity of their own mind. Love tem endlessly and unconditionally. Bet the rock that’s always there for them when their world is spiralling out of control.

Gifts

I’m not telling you to go out and spend heaps of money—it’s the little things that matter the most. Pick them a flower, draw them a picture, write them a loving letter. Do something—anything—to make them smile, and remind them the world isn’t always a terrible place.

Talk to them

Sometimes you just need somebody to lean on. Let them vent, no matter how repetitive they are, or how illogical their worries may seem. Encourage them to feel their emotions, to process them, to validate them, and let it set them free. All we want sometimes is someone to listen to us, and to understand.

Distract them

Remember the little things—the beautiful things. The sun licking your closed eyelids. A cool breaze. The smell of flowers. The sweet tweeting of birds. The feel of the ocean on bare feet. The taste of chocolate. The taste and vibrancy of life. Try new things, reintroduce them to old things they love. Send funny memes or cat videos: laughter isn’t the best medicine for nothing.

Love your friends. Love yourself. Life can be beautiful. You are strong, and you can get through this. I love you, and there is always hope. Keep fighting.

Do you need help? Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online here.

 

 

 

Manspreading: it’s not okay.

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This is something that is really starting to annoy me. Men: please pay attention—don’t be rude. Don’t manspread on public transport.

What is manspreading, you may ask? Well, it’s when a male spreads his legs on public transport and decides his genitals require an extra seat. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the transport in question was empty—it’s when it’s packed and your inconsideration forces someone to stand that it really grinds my gears.

I get it. You guys need to spread your legs a little. Duh. You have genitals. I assume closing them tight would be painful. Even so, there’s a BIG difference in comfort and being a complete jerk.

Today for instance, I was waiting for my 8am bus. As usual, it was pretty damn packed. Multiple people were standing. And what do I see? A dude with his legs spread across two seats. Unless your diddly is in a cast, there is no excuse for this. It’s on par to those people who think their bags require a seat when others are standing. If the bus or train is empty, sure: spread away. But otherwise, let me put it bluntly for you: YOUR JUNK IS NOT THAT BIG THAT YOU REQUIRE TWO SEATS TO SPREAD YOUR LEGS!

I’ve heard a fair few defences to this. That it’s not comfortable. That it’s not manly for guys to sit with their legs closed. That “we’re not meant to sit that way”. You don’t think women want to chill out and take up two seats? Of course we do. But we don’t, because we’re not inconsiderate assholes. Furthermore, it’s super duper awkward trying to sit next to someone man spreading. I like my personal space. Stay in your own damn lane!

Seriously guys, just close your damn legs. Not all the way, because we wouldn’t want you to squash your little boys. But enough that someone can sit next to you. Who knows? She might be a pretty girl and become your future wife. The world is your oyster—but only if you partially close your legs.