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The indigenous feminist rebel fighting to become Mexico’s president

Published by Dazed, 17/01/2018

For what’s supposed to be a democracy, the political situation in Mexico is notoriously undemocratic. The current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, is a member of PRI, the political party that ruled uninterrupted for 71 years from 1929 to 2000, and media bias, corruption and voter fraud have been consistently reported during recent elections. However, relentless campaigning by local activists and international pressure have resulted in gradual improvements, and this year’s election may turn out to be one of the most interesting yet.

In 2018, for the first time, independent candidates will be permitted to contest Mexico’s presidential election, thanks to a binding ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2013 which found that the ban on independents infringed on the right to participate in government. Of course, the three main parties will also field strong contenders (namely the left-leaning populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador and PRI’s José Antonio Meade).

Of the 63 independents currently campaigning, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, known locally as Marichuy, has gained both national and international attention. A traditional healer from the state of Jalisco, she will be the first indigenous Mexican to run for president in over 150 years (in a country where around 20 per cent of the population identify as indigenous). Like many other countries, Mexico has never had a female president – and it’s also somewhere that documents seven femicides a day. Controversially, Marichuy is backed by the Indigenous Council and the EZLN, the militant left-wing political group known as the Zapatistas (who have focused on improving women’s rights in the country for years) based in the south of Mexico.

Marichuy has explained that she is campaigning to draw attention to the issues that affect the most marginalised in Mexican society: the indigenous, poor, and female. She’s also a supporter of LGBTQ rights. In a speech on the campaign trail in October she acknowledged the odds are stacked against her. “The electoral system is not made so that we, the people below, govern,” she said, according to Mexican newspaper Regeneración. “The laws and institutions of the state are made for those above, for the capitalists and their corrupt political class, resulting in a big illusion.” She has pledged to reject any government funding for her campaign.

In an interview with the Guardian last year, Marichuy explained a very different vision for Mexico in the future. “It’s part of the same problem. The government, the army, the police, the narcos, they all facilitate the exploitation of our natural wealth. They all want to scare our people and make those of us who oppose their capitalist projects disappear,” she said. “We have to tear up the roots of what’s hurting Mexico. This country needs healing.” Her message of peace and sustainability rings true for many in a country that has suffered through a turbulent history of colonialism, civil war and neo-liberal globalisation.

While Marichuy has strong support in majority-indigenous areas of the country, urban voters remain largely unconvinced, citing her lack of experience and socialist politics. Even her supporters have their fears. “Independent candidates like Marichuy are inspiring because she represents necessary diversity in a country in which just a few parties with defined voter bases and values used to be the only choice for the electorate,” a student in Mexico City tells Dazed. “But I think there is the danger that the big parties could use the idea of independents to increase their own legitimacy.”

Others have seen too much corruption to find any hope in political change. “Because of Mexico’s history, I’m very cynical. I think those in power will always find a way to hold on, and independent candidates will not be the exception,” explains a small business owner in Guadalajara.

In order to secure a slot on the ballot in July, independent candidates like Marichuy must collect signatures from 1 per cent of the electorate (nearly 900,000 people nationwide), as well as the same proportion in at least 17 separate states. She currently sits in fifth place among the candidates, with only 15 per cent of the necessary signatures. This distant goal is made even more difficult by the fact that many voters in indigenous and rural areas do not have access to the technology needed to sign for a candidate. The deadline for the signatures is February 12.

Recent polls indicate that independent candidates could receive 14 per cent of the presidential vote, behind Obrador, Meade and Ricardo Anaya of the conservative party PAN. However, these votes are forecasted to be divided between two established candidates: former First Lady and lawyer Margarita Zavala and the rogue, ex-PRI but now independent governor of Nuevo Leon, Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez Calderón, widely known as ‘El Bronco’. The electoral success of Marichuy’s candidacy is anyone’s guess.

When it comes to ideological influence though, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez has already made her mark. Her revolutionary political ideology envisions a future for her country that most Mexicans could not even dream of until now. She has become a voice for those who rarely see themselves in public life, and an persuasive leader of the reemerging radical left in Mexico. In 2018, the world will be watching.

Is Sexism The Reason We Make Fun Of Arts Degrees?

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Published by Junkee, 1/11/2017

We all know the jokes. Arts students are destined to end up working at a fast food chain or becoming professional baristas. Studying the humanities is not difficult or worthwhile, and we would be better off studying a ‘real’ degree that’ll result in a ‘real’ job. Following your passions is a guaranteed way to end up broke, right?

Most of the time jokes about arts students pass as casual banter. But could it be that biases against soft skills are rooted in a much deeper disregard for the work and interests of women, who make up the majority of humanities students?

Disciplines like literature, psychology, sociology and languages are often economically undervalued and at worst disregarded, despite the very real contributions they make to our society and our future. 

‘Real’ Degrees And ‘Bludge’ Degrees

Women around the world are more educated than ever, and in Australia we study Bachelors degrees at a higher rate than men. However, trends become apparent when analysing the different areas of study by gender. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, of those studying a non-school qualification, 26 per cent of women are studying society and culture, compared to 15 per cent of men. On the flip side, only 1.4 per cent of women are studying engineering and related technologies, compared to 18 per cent of men.

Men also significantly dominate the areas of information technology and architecture and building, while women favour the health and education fields. Interestingly, the disciplines of management and commerce have about an equal percentage of men and women.

These numbers clearly show that what society deems to be ‘real’ degrees are the ones with a higher proportion of men, while what some label as ‘bludge’ degrees are much more often studied by women.

A History Of Exclusion

The implication that women who study the humanities are somehow less intelligent than men in technical degrees stings even more because women have traditionally been excluded from academia. Women were only admitted to Australian universities in the early 1880s, 30 years after men. Although women are equally represented at universities across the board today, persistent issues like the gender wage gap indicate that women have still not achieved equality when it comes to career and educational opportunities. 

Hey Dudes, Your Misogyny Is Showing

People make fun of people who study Arts because the degree is easy, not because they’re women, right? Ask yourself, do you really think learning an entire language or performing statistical analysis as part of psychology research is easy?

To take an extreme example, an anonymous post was shared on the ANU Confessions Facebook page last month. “I want to believe women are as intelligent as men, and yet they all choose arts,” it reads. “If you choose arts you choose to be a housewife, you choose to be paid less, you choose to be a less useful human, and therefore you can’t be intelligent!”

The connotation that women are dumb and choose not to make money discounts thousands of other factors that affect decisions about degrees, along with the fact that women may be paid less simply because of their gender. For example, in a recent and depressing study, the New York Times reported that as women take over a male dominated field the pay actually drops.

Soft Skills Are Essential

To state the obvious, being a ‘housewife’ or a stay-at-home mum is a completely separate decision to the choice to study Arts, and we should not disregard the value of women’s unpaid labour which literally keeps humanity alive.

When it comes to paid labour though, Arts degrees are also essential. Despite the high demand for STEM skills and the very real issue of getting more women into the technology field, non-technical skills are also becoming increasingly important as our industries transform. In the future, technology should be designed by and cater to a diverse range of people, not just Silicon Valley dude-bros. And even if the robots are coming for our jobs, they will never be able to replace creative thinkers and effective communicators with emotional intelligence. And that, my friends, is the definition of an arts student.

5 Things All Solo Female Travelers Should Know, According To Travel Writer Torre DeRoche

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Published by BUST Magazine, 13/09/17

Traveling is an experience that should be open to everyone, but often women are told that it is “too dangerous” for us to go into the world alone. (Which is ironic, because walking the streets in our own cities is also dangerous when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, as is literally staying inside our homes.) And that’s not even taking into account the additional obstacles women of color and minorities can face while traveling. Despite this, women are increasingly embarking on their own adventures.

Blogger and author Torre DeRoche’s latest book,The Worrier’s Guide To The End Of The World, traces her experiences walking the last leg of the Via Francigena pilgrimage in Italy, and then following the route of Ghandi’s Salt March in India. While this might sound like the work of a fearless adventurer, Torre admits that she has always been a very fearful person, and that travel is, in part, an attempt to conquer her anxiety. She writes about her compulsive fear of danger to herself or her family, the difficulty of building relationships while living a transient lifestyle, and her fear of missing out on important milestones at home while she is out seeing the world. This memoir is driven by her friendship with another female traveler, Masha, and the lessons they learn on the road.

Here are a couple of the most important lessons:

1.) “You’ll work it out.”

Solo traveling teaches resilience and self dependence, because there is no one else there to solve your problems except you (and there will definitely be problems!). Torre is initially hesitant to begin the pilgrimage with Masha, worrying about whether she has the right gear and about the weather. But she has confidence in herself and her ability to be able to handle it one step at a time, and ends up having one of the most amazing experiences of her life.

2.) “Trust brings back trust, which can only mean that fear yields fear.”

While Torre is constantly preparing for the end of the world, Masha has a completely different traveling style. She believes in the good in people, practices positive visualization and trusts that the universe will provide. Torre eventually manages to let go of her fear, and this is validated by the generous people they encounter along their way.

3.) “There is nothing in this world that exists outside you, the you don’t already have within you.”

This is the advice Torre’s grandmother passed on to her when she was growing up, and it can be applied to basically any situation, on the road or and at home. Whether you’re dealing with romantic relationships, mansplainers, FOMO or low self-esteem, it is important to remember that we are all in control of our own actions, and no-one knows better than us what is right.

4.) “Surrender to the magic of a single moment.”

Studies have shown that three-second patterns are found everywhere, from poetry to the habits of wild animals. By breaking down complicated situations into three second sections, they can become simpler and more manageable. When you’re truly being present in what Torre calls “the feeling of nowness,” you can get through just about anything.

5.) “Life is beautiful and then you die.”

Torre’s parents always had a fridge magnet that said “life’s a bitch, and then you die,” and she almost believed it. In India, she gained a new perspective, realizing that the futility of existence and the joy of existence are not mutually exclusive. Traveling is a way to see the world and appreciate the beauty in everything, even in the presence of suffering. Life is a contradiction, and we just have to live with that.

The Worrier’s Guide To The End Of The World is full of relatable, funny and moving advice for anyone who has longed to see the world but felt that niggling feeling that wants to hold them back. Best of all, it demonstrates that the best way to confront fear is to meet it head on, and to laugh at it along the journey.

The Uncertain Future of an Emerging Writer

Published by Overland Literary Journal, 07/06/2017

You know how once you start to think about something intently, you begin to notice it everywhere? That happened to me when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. In fact, I already knew I wanted to be a writer, it’s just that I just decided that I could be one. All I had to do was write. After that, I kept meeting other writers and stumbling across interviews online that made me feel like maybe it wasn’t such an impossible proposition. I even started to tell people ‘writer’, when they asked what I wanted to be after I graduated, although sometimes I just said ‘journalist’ because it sounded more professional. They looked at me as though I was saying I wanted to become a ballerina at the age of twenty-three.

In the current job market, where freelancing is a ‘lifestyle choice’ and superannuation is an afterthought, the economic implications of this decision are clear. I’m going to be broke. The recent decimation of journalism jobs in Australia is testament to the fact that print journalism is dying a slow and painful death. As Jonathan Green wrote for this journal, ‘It can’t be trimmed or economised into sustainable health. It won’t be restored through the repatriation of outrageous Fairfax executive salaries and bonuses. It is done. It is over.’ Emerging writers no longer dream of bustling newsrooms; they envision a solitary desk and a laptop.

The impossibility of a lucrative career in the arts has been reinforced to such an extent that the idea of a successful writer is often independent from commercial success. It is generally accepted that even published authors with multiple books have day jobs. I vacillate between attributing this to writing’s unique status as a ‘craft’ rather than an occupation, and putting it down to society’s basic lack of value for artistic contributions that are incompatible with market capitalism. I really wish it were the former.

My mentor tells me to get a day job because it will improve my writing. I know she’s right. As a craft, writing, like anything else, takes years to refine. But I feel like I don’t have years, I have hours. I’m older than Tavi Gevinson is right now, and the same age Lena Dunham was when Girls was picked up by HBO. And the think pieces keep on coming. The traditional media industry is transforming, but nobody knows into what. In order to be successful, it is imperative to get ahead of this transformation, because the one thing we do know is that it is unlikely that there will be enough jobs to go around.

This pressure has shaped a generation of confessional writers in the truest sense of the word. Our fears, our loves, our pain, laid out for anyone to read, asserting our uniqueness. Look, I am raw and bruised and I feel just like you, it says. I left my diary at a friend’s house on the other side of the country for two months, and I felt disassociated from my own life, like I was wasting my time waiting for something important to happen. When I started writing again I realised that I gave my experiences significance by documenting them, rather than the other way around.

The ubiquity of these personal essays online has changed the way we live, and the way we write. I spend a lot of time reading about strangers who joined cults on my phone. I pretend it’s work. I cut corners and get exasperated with basic journalistic tasks like sourcing photos or fact checking. The transition between working with editors that will publish a piece without so much as a comma placement correction, and those that want rewrites, research and citations is whiplash-inducing. If I calculated exactly how much I make per hour spent on a well-researched essay, I’m sure wouldn’t write it. But then again, it never was about the money.

Millennials face constant accusations of vanity, and our obsession with documenting every second is held up as proof. This translates into disdain for memoir and personal nonfiction in general. As Leslie Jamison wrote for The Atlantic, ‘confessional has become an unwelcome label – an implicit accusation of excessive self-absorption, of writing not just about oneself but for oneself.’ It doesn’t help that our need for validation is similarly immediate due to social media. Our vanity requires constant external reinforcement, leading to writing that behaves in the same way. How many likes does a piece of writing need in order to win a Pulitzer?

And what distinguishes an 800-word reflective piece about the time I moved to New York from the approximately 562 tweets I wrote about it? In The New Yorker, Dani Shapiro argues that solitude and privacy are necessary to the work of memoir: ‘The years of silence were deepening ones,’ she writes of the aftermath of her parents’ deaths. ‘My story burrowed its way deeper and deeper into my being until it became a story I could turn inside out, hold to the light like a prism, craft into a story that was bigger than it is small, sorry details.’ But that’s not what the internet wants, not right away, anyway. The internet wants your soul, and it wants it now.

In a second-hand bookshop in Peru, I found a collection of poems by Chelsea Minnis called Poemland. It was the only poetry there in English, so I bought it, and I read the whole book twice in one afternoon. ‘Poetry is like waking up drunk in a lemon yellow room’, she writes, and it is. Trying to write anything that is real and true is like that. The difference between a good collection of words and a mediocre one is intangible, but you know when you read it. It punches you in the heart, or the stomach, or the brain, or wherever your feelings are. You can read and write and rewrite infinitely, but sometimes the thing you wrote will never be any good. That night I met a guy in a bar who told me he had already written three books and I crumbled into a sand pit of self-doubt.

So I guess this is just another personal essay. But isn’t that what we’re all trying to do; to take our little stories and use them to make sense of everything else? I believe in the ‘confessional’, the self-absorbed and the personal, rather than the universal. But a whole other question is whether anyone is willing to pay for it.

The ‘#Girlboss’ Era is Over and Let’s Make Sure it Never Comes Back

Published by Catalogue Magazine, 05/05/2017

The idea of the #Girlboss, a term coined by Sophia Amoruso with her book of the same name in 2014, seems harmless enough. It encapsulates a woman who is financially independent but also a funny, chill, ambitious, charismatic badass. She makes a lot of money and doesn’t feel bad about it. These women, like Sheryl Sandberg, Miki Agrawal and Arianna Huffington, were poster girls for the idea that any woman could be successful, in both her professional and personal lives, if she just worked hard enough. The #girlboss movement was 90s girl power redux, complete with pink branding, quasi-feminist slogans and a traditionally attractive young woman at the helm. And then it all came crashing down.

Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy at the end of last year, and Amoruso exited her position as CEO of the company. Sheryl Sandberg admitted ‘leaning in’ was not always enough after facing criticism for her white feminist focus. Ironically, Miki Agrawal and Arianna Huffington were both accused of discrimination by female employees. There is something to be said for the fact that these women are held to entirely higher standards that their male counterparts, and that their success is a testament to the advances women have made in the workplace. However, the hypocrisy of using feminism-lite to sell products while failing to support actual women behind the scenes is blatantly obvious and has attracted well-deserved criticism.

It makes intuitive sense that financial independence is a hugely significant step on the path to women’s liberation. Ever since Virginia Woolf declared in 1928 that any artist needed at least 500 pounds and a room of their own in order to produce good work, women have understood that they needed to have financial resources in order to be truly free. However, as Jessica Crispin wrote in her 2017 manifesto, Why I Am Not a Feminist, “If feminism is nothing more than personal gain disguised as political progress, then it is not for me.” The pursuit of financial success can become an end goal in itself in today’s consumerist society, rather than a tool to achieve a more fulfilled life. And women, just like men, are willing to exploit other women to reach this goal.

Of course, the concept of the #Girlboss buys into the worst parts of free market capitalism. The globalisation of the artistic, manufacturing and resource extraction industries have played a huge role in the marginalisation of poor people, women especially, and the commodification of their labour to benefit lucrative multinational corporations. The #Girlboss movement gives little thought to those at the bottom of the production chain but spotlights the woman at the top. In response, environmental activists, the slow fashion industry and the #getartistspaid movement have called for a fairer distribution of resources and have successfully drawn attention to all the girls and women who may not be bosses but are equally deserving of respect and fair compensation for their labour.

Even Amoruso has become wary of the ‘me-first’ feminism she once advocated, moving instead towards a nebulous idea of collective solidarity. At the Girlboss rally in March, she explained “Girlboss is a feeling; it’s a philosophy. It’s a way for women to reframe success for ourselves on our own terms for the first time in history.” The new Netflix show Girlboss, very loosely based on real events in Amoruso’s life, attempts to portray the protagonist as a flawed but likeable young woman trying to find her way in a business world that plays by men’s rules. In the first season, she learns that she needs the support of her best friend Annie, after she initially dismisses it, and that systematic discrimination is a real force against women in the workplace. In reality, it took Amoruso a little longer to acknowledge these lessons.

The end of the #Girlboss does not mean the end of successful female role models in the workplace. On the contrary, it signifies a change in tactic that challenges the foundations of the capitalist structures that these women were forced to operate within. The women we admire are no longer the self-made corporate operatives. They are the rebel fashion designers like Rei Kawakubo, the body positive artists like Frances Cannon, the tellers of untold stories like Ava DuVernay, and the socially responsible entrepreneurs like Ronni Kahn.

I would argue that this shift reflects the slow decline of what Andi Zeisler has referred to as “marketplace feminism”, epitomised by the fast fashion t-shirt that reads ‘feminist’ but was made by exploited female sweat shop workers in Bangladesh. In a post-Trump political climate, where the rights of women, people of colour and the LGBT community are increasingly attacked, we do not have the luxury of focussing only on our own success. If we are to succeed, it will be because we are able to form an intersectional movement that lifts us all towards equality. Now that’s what I call feminism.

Life Advice From Other People’s Mums

Published by The Cusp, 28/03/2017

Ostensibly, I’m an adult. I have a job, I pay rent, I even live on a different continent to my parents. I manage to get through life on a daily basis without causing major chaos and I only leave the house with toothpaste on my shirt around once a week. However, on the occasions when I have to make an important decision about my future, which in your twenties is pretty much all the time, I often find myself drawing on a piece of advice my mum gave me.

I don’t remember the specific situation when my mum first told me to “follow the piece of string.” I didn’t even understand what she meant when I was a teenager, but as an adult this one phrase is something I always keep in my back pocket. I have passed it onto friends and strangers, and it makes me feel less lost on the days when I realise I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life.

As a person, I am excessively organised (I’m talking Excel spreadsheets-level organised.) I like to have a plan and for that plan to work out exactly as I’d hoped. Of course reality is the opposite of that, but when I get overwhelmed I remember to follow the piece of string. To me, that means only worrying about taking a step forward in the direction that feels best for you at the time, and trusting that the universe will work the rest out. And then taking the next step, and the next one.

I was repeating this advice to a friend and it got me wondering what other great mum advice there is out there. So I asked around, and discovered these pearls of mum wisdom for when it seems like being adult is way more difficult than advertised.

#1 You are capable of achieving whatever you choose.

“My mum has always just told us that we can do whatever we want in life. When I had to pick my classes for Year 11 and 12, I decided I was doing maths, English studies (so I wouldn’t be getting an ATAR), art and woodwork, purely because that’s what I enjoyed. I told her the only thing I wanted to do was go overseas, and Mum said that even though personally she would prefer that I did get an ATAR, if that’s what I wanted then she’d support me 100% and tell the teachers to support me as well. That definitely stuck with me.”

Lauren, 22

#2 It is OK to be selfish.

“When I was under a lot of pressure last year and getting super stressed trying to do everything with uni and work and please everyone, my mum could see it was negatively affecting my mental health. She told me I should be more selfish, and I found that so weird because we’re always told to be less selfish and put others first, but it really helped.”

Finn, 23

#3 A healthy body leads to a healthy mind (kinda.)

“My mum is a bit of a nutter with the best intentions. Her latest advice is to drink kombucha or basically anything with a live culture in it. I had a few intense bouts of food poisoning whilst in South America that really messed with my digestive system so she wants me to increase the good bacteria in my stomach. She also reckons that your gut bacteria is linked to improved mental health and happiness, so a bit of kombucha can’t hurt.”

Kirsty, 21

#4 Positivity is the key to success.

“My mum has two pieces of advice she preaches regularly. The first one is ‘if you want to learn a language, the only way is to sleep with a native speaker of it’. The second is Annie’s ‘law of attraction’, which is just the practice of putting all your positive energy into things in order to expect a positive outcome.”

Jess, 22

#5 Take the chances that are presented to you.

“Mostly my mum gives us medical advice and we always follow it but I guess that just comes with her profession, because she’s a nurse. Before I went on my gap year Mum’s advice was to explore as much as I possibly could and make to most of the massive opportunity I had been given. She was also the biggest influence on me moving to a different city for university. Her advice at the time impacted my whole future and from that I’ve now created a great life here.”

Georgia, 23

#6 Skip the bullshit.

“To say things plainly is the best advice my mum has given me. Sometimes it hurts people’s feelings or people think you’re rude, but most of the time it saves other people and yourself a lot of time and worry. As my friends know, this has become my life philosophy.”

Nic, 22

So there you have it: mums really do know best.

Best Features of 2016: Millennials Aren’t Lazy, We Just Have to Chase a New Australian Dream

Published by Catalogue Magazine, 03/01/2017

It’s a classic Aussie stereotype: a four-bedroom house with a garden and a verandah and maybe even a gum tree out the back. For our parents and grandparents, the Australian Dream was the belief that home-ownership could lead to a better life and was an expression of success and security. Which was cool, for them.

However, home ownership is now decidedly out of reach for many young people, regardless of how much brunch we eat, due to skyrocketing prices when compared to average incomes. This housing bubble is partly driven by negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions that encourage investors, rather than first homeowners, to buy property. The flipside of all this, however, is that maybe we don’t even want to own a house to begin with. We’re fighting back and changing the conversation.

It’s no wonder Millennials are feeling a little defensive, because criticising Millennials is a sort of national pastime for politicians and traditional media in modern society. Recently, this practice has become predictable to the level of comedy, like the front page of the Daily Telegraph from September 14th entitled “Young, Able and Unwilling to Work… Meet the New Breed of Bludger.” Predictably this headline-grabbing story turned out to be a genius and mysterious hoax concocted by ‘Ashleigh’, the 21 year old interviewed by the newspaper. The Federal Government has also turned Millennials into a scapegoat for policies that benefits older, wealthier Australians, like restricting access to Newstart welfare payments in order to provide budget surplus that can be allocated elsewhere.

We are repeatedly portrayed as selfish, stupid and unambitious, when in fact we are the most educated and socially aware generation in history. (Not to mention we’ve been saddled with impending economic and environmental crises thanks to the consumerist excesses of previous generations.) As a 22 year old trying to figure out this world I know we’re not lazy; we want different things from our predecessors, that’s all. Millennials have grown up in a much more interconnected world. We don’t bat an eyelid at the so-called sharing economy, epitomised by Uber and Airbnb, and see freelancing as a completely viable career choice. We share much more of our inner lives too, through social media, connecting to people all around the globe instantaneously. Our world is both smaller and larger than the one our parents knew at our age, which means there are so many opportunities we often don’t know where to start.

We know we need money to live, but in general we don’t want to work the same 9 to 5 office job for our entire lives. So we’re finding more creative ways to go about it by becoming our own bosses. We’re buying fewer durable consumer goods, like cars and washing machines, and instead connecting with our local community. We don’t get married, and we are more likely to end up living in a non-traditional family structure, whether that means adopted kids, same-sex parents, extended family or friends living together. We value the baby-boomer labelled cliché of ‘experiences’ because we view our world as much more temporary than those who grew up in the golden age of capitalism. We understand that there is a plurality of options available to us, and that each individual has the right to choose for themselves.

Whenever I hear myself complaining about hipsters and worry I’m turning into my mum, I always think of Lindsay Weir in Freaks and Geeks, adamant that she will never want the white picket fence lives her parents have lived. I suppose young people have always felt like this; misrepresented and misunderstood by older generations.

My Australian dream is to live in a place that makes me happy, surrounded by friends and family and creativity and diversity. I know this means I will have to work hard. By choosing to pursue a career in media, I have pretty much guaranteed I won’t be able to afford a house in any major city, but I don’t mind because I appreciate the flexibility of renting and travelling for the foreseeable future. I don’t dream of ownership, instead I want excitement. I want to be able to change jobs or even countries whenever I feel like it.

And yeah, maybe that is idealistic. But isn’t that what being young is all about?

Image: Chloe Sevigny. Image Source.