This month at the School of Visibility we focused on speaking up around controversial topics. We traversed racism, ageism, abortion, disruption of dominant narratives, and taking insufficient and/or too much responsibility in a world of blame and outrage.
Below is where you can scroll through everything we shared and catch up on all the goodness. So grab a cup of tea and let’s get into it!
FROM THE BLOG
‘To begin, it’s important to remember this about controversial topics; everything that’s really important in the world is controversial in some way.
Think about a few controversial moments in history:
- The Suffragettes were ridiculed for being so ‘brazen’ as to presume women would have something valuable to contribute to the political arena.
- The second wave of feminists were considered to be destroying families and stealing men’s jobs for promoting a woman’s right to work.
- Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for speaking up against racial injustice.’
‘Anyone of the diverse majority who presumes to take up space, except in accordance with the pre-determined norms about what is and isn’t acceptable for that group of people, is an aberration. They challenge the dominant narrative. A narrative that’s sexist, racist, ableist, and heteronormative…
When you’re ‘the other’ in society, it’s very difficult to speak truths about yourself and your life without it being controversial. Invariably, your experience, your assertion of yourself as a fully fledged sovereign being is going to challenge the status quo in some way.’
‘If you’ve ever found yourself – as a woman – saying ‘But not all men!’ this is a classic example of taking too much responsibility. Men don’t need you to fight their battles just as white people don’t need black people or people of colour to fight their battles. It’s actually a little bit absurd to assume they do. They have entire systems operating to promote and defend their perspective and their privilege.’
‘To the anti-choice movement; if your religious beliefs have convinced you that you know better than a pregnant woman about how she should handle the situation, that’s not spiritual guidance.
If you can’t stand the thought of a woman choosing for herself because you would make a different choice, that’s your dark night of the soul right there. Sit with the discomfort of not having control over everyone and everything and you might even find you stumble across a real spiritual truth.’
‘I know so much resistance to the middle aged moniker comes from the ageist narrative that values youth above all else. From a community that’s obsessed with telling youthful stories and showing youthful people on the screen, giving the impression that there are no ageing people worth speaking about in our society.
It’s time to redefine age in the West. To honour the ageing process. The journey of maturation and wisdom gained.’
NB: If you like the posts on Medium, I’d so appreciate your claps. That tells Medium that the work is worth sharing with others. So thank you in advance for any applause you’d like to send this way. x
WHAT WE SAW
In this section we love to share something wonderful that we spotted throughout the month, whether online, on socials, or on some other form of media.
In a month that was all about controversy, Brené Brown’s ‘Call to Courage’ (which is currently showing on Netflix) feels like the perfect round up for our May compendium.
In her presentation she speaks about vulnerability and courage, about how challenging it is, and how to show up anyway. If there’s one take away for May, I hope that’s it for you; yes, you might cause controversy, yes you might have to deal with the fall out from that, but show up anyway.
Brené is a wonderful storyteller and that, to me, is the real joy in this talk. There’s great content for sure – and I hope it will inspire you to be more courageous in your own career and life – but for me personally the pleasure was in watching the way she gave the presentation. Her authentic and approachable style, infused with personal stories and insights into her life, is a killer combination.
So whether you watch the video for the message itself, or for tips on how to really nail it on stage as a speaker, I know many people will find something beneficial, and perhaps even life changing, in her talk.
STRUGGLING WITH A FEAR OF BEING CONTROVERSIAL?
I’ve yet to meet a woman that hasn’t been told at some point in their lives – particularly as a child – to be nice, kind, polite, gentle, or less bossy.
As adults this conditioning plays out in the form of good daughters, obliging employees, perfect mothers, and domestic goddesses. It also shows up in lots of traditional career paths where women have followed the advice of loving parents who were very focused on ensuring their child’s economic security and so shared lots of messages about getting a ‘good education and finding a good job’.
Whatever your experience, our Visibility Block Clearing class ‘Unpacking the Good Girl’ will help you release your fears of being different, unusual, controversial, or ‘too different’ so you can speak up with ease and confidence and make choices that work for you, rather than everyone else. Pick it up here.