This week’s issue looks at the varying shapes and colours of the taboo. It’s been a bit of a struggle to bring into words all the things that we’ve been taught not to say or discuss. In our minds, things that are taboo are the things that remain unsaid; that we are not comfortable talking about, or the things that tend to happen behind close doors and within small circles. Taboos are learnt—they’re rules we absorb from society, and they differ between each culture, and even social group.
As humans, we spend a lot of time in our own minds applying different filters, making choices about what thoughts and feelings we express, and what we choose to keep silent. It reminds us of stigmas, surrounding sex, and illness, mental health, and emotions.
As Chrissy explains in her column this week, we often feel so much pressure to be ‘ok’—as though it was all of our duties to be 100% okay, and fully functional, all of the time. Sometimes we try to hide the dark sides of ourselves, we make sure that thoughts and feelings we’re worried won’t be acceptable or that make us feel weird about having won’t see the light of day.
These thoughts, the ones locked away could be anything. They could being unsure about your sexuality and who you are attracted to, feeling lonely and not wanting to express that to anyone, feeling like you’re on the wrong path in life but not knowing what to do about it.
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Jess looked at the idea of taboo in regards to women’s bodies and the ways they use their clothing to express themselves. Cassie explored the life and works of Miranda July, an artist who bravely covers taboo topics and pushes social boundaries. Sarah focussed on sex toys and the importance of women taking pleasure into their own hands.
Our film writers have discussed notable films that have pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable to screen in cinemas. The books writers take on a similar mission, reviewing books that challenged the reader by including explicit language and imagery. In the One Ocean column, Laura Toailoa describes how her experiences at university have led to her to question and consider aspects of Samoan culture that are often not talked about. In Token Cripple, Henrietta discusses how disability legislation has changed over the past century, as the barriers to the participation in society for people with impairments are slowly being removed through voices speaking up and people with power listening.
We have been inspired by our writers this week for bravely sharing us a glimpse of their thoughts and feelings that they are tempted to keep hidden. Often when we share the thoughts and feelings we were reluctant to expose, we learn that they are in fact very common and normal, and often others will feel grateful and privileged that we have shared these parts of ourselves with them. We all feel things, sometimes, that we want to keep to ourselves even though that might often make us hurt more.
But we strongly feel that pushing this boundary has great rewards, and finding people, whether they be friends, family, co-workers, or at the end of a phone help line, to talk to about these things makes them seem a little less dark and scary. It’s never a good time to talk about a lot of things, so sometimes you just have to boldly push through—you’ll feel better for it.
We hope that throughout the year, Salient can continue in its tradition of being a voice for the topics that are often silenced, ignored, or avoided.
Emma & Jayne xo