An open letter to Generation Y. Is Facebook our friend…or foe?

Dear generation Y,

A lot has happened in the last few years and I can see that the world is changing. We have grown up with technology, social networks, and the reality that globalization is making the world more interconnected than ever before. Whether we like it or not, we have entered the social network matrix, and its going to be hard to get out.

The pressure and watchful gaze is on, from family, friends and ‘chosen to be seen as anonymous’ profile views on Linkedin. Our every move is being scrutinsed. What are we studying? Where are we living? Are we in a relationship? To the perhaps, more sinister and less verbal questions… have we gained weight? Have we broken up with someone…

The saddening reality is that we are internalizing these questions. These questions are staying with us for the remainder of the day, long after we have closed our laptop lids.

The internet is wonderful yet we must remember that it is an ungovernable force with words that are written in ink. Our minds are indeed very similar to the structure of the internet. We are asking ourselves these questions. And we don’t like the answers.

Social networks are evolving into a means of presenting the life we want others to see. One that looks pleasant. A profile that looks athestically pleasing to our frenemies, aquantancies, employers and potential suitors. But presenting the perfect version of ourselves is both unrealistic and unattainable.

Couple this with Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc etc… and it begs the question- are we actually living our life anymore, or just recording it to make it look pretty to someone else? Its becoming hard to tell.

Viral videos such as ‘Look- up’ are helping awaken people from the social media comatose, but ironically…only through social media. And once these viral videos have passed… then what? We go back to how we were. Unchanged.

We are no longer satisfied with who we are anymore, but how we compare to other people. Something feels deeply wrong here.

This process of cropping, filtering and editing our lives is simply exhausting. Presenting ourselves as successful, popular, loved and beautiful. Arent we tired of this? We all want to hear our voices heard and feel valued. As a politics undergraduate, I voice my concerns a great deal about political issues and things that trouble me about the world. I feel frustrated. I want people to hear and see what I see, so they can help change things too.

So, Generation Y and beyond, what are we going to do? We need to change something. We need to inform generations after us that the world is more than this. We need to log out of Facebook. Talk to people in person and on the phone. Hang out with family. Read a book.

Its time to realize that the internet is a liberating force, but also a dangerous one if you allow yourself to be trapped in a glamorized and damaging alternative to your own life.

Its your life. You don’t have to have everything figured out yet. You don’t have to justify your actions to anyone.

It’s your life, SO LIVE IT and leave out the filter.

And on that note, I’m logging off.

A summer of classics for a twenty something

This summer I have challenged myself to read some classic literature. Having attempted the classics before and failed, I thought that it was time to try again. And man. Was it worth it.

There is something special about reading the language of a different era. You are transported into an entirely different time, where one’s greatest worries are catching a cold and marrying a man with no fortune. My first read this summer was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte,  which I thought was wonderful (‘reader I married him…’).

After I read Jane Eyre, I found it easier to seek other books by similar authors and time frames. My next challenge was the gothic epic novel- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. (Kate Bush I here you sister). Reading about the torturous relationship between Heathcliffe and Cathy was almost too much to bear while holidaying in Santorini. It was a harder read than Jane Eyre and a great deal less pleasant, but definitely word a read.

I have now succumbed to my love affair with Jane Austen. I have read Persuasion and have just read the infamous Pride and Prejudice. More to follow…

‘What Men Need To Understand About Everyday Sexual Harassment, In One Perfect Comic’

Huffington Post is just fantastic. I am sure that many a link will be posted on this blog for reflection.

Finally we are given a clear article/ illustration about the harsh reality of 21st  century sexual harassment. Yes, it does exist in progressive and democratic societies. I feel that this is an important read. Especially for men and women alike who despair at the all too familiar ‘but men and women are equal now’. Or, as David Cameron famously put it: ‘Calm down dear’..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/12/robot-hugs-sexual-harassment-comic_n_5671532.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Read this book

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This book exceeded my already high expectations.  If you know of Malala, you may know that she was shot by the Taliban and was an advocate for education. But this books dives deep into Malala’s familial history, where her plight to allow girls the right to an education is beautifully depicted. The reader learns of her strong relationship with her father and the importance of family in times of enduring hardship. My personal favourite part of the book, was the sense of normality among the young girls. Reading twilight books (a teen addiction many young girls can tell you about), with the murderous and oppressive activity going on outside their doorsteps. As well as a fantastic show of passion and resilience, the book is educational. I learnt of the existence of ‘ghost schools’ whereupon funding aimed at building new schools is used elsewhere…creating a host of abandoned like buildings with no facilties. Most children aren’t in schools, they are helping their families at home. Ofcourse this is due to heightened corruption. The book delves into the perspective of a young girl, in a country where when a woman is born, no great celebrations take place, if fact more commiserations. It shows how the district of Swat, Pakistan is slowly taken over by the Taliban, and highlights the ramifications of 9’11 and the ultimate capture of Osama Bin Laden. Despite the constant threat of danger, both Malala and her father continue to attend television interviews, to ensure that their voice is never silenced. Even in times of tremendous danger, Malala continues to attend school and will not let the fear of death get in her way of receiving the education she deserves. Cataclysmically, despite the reduced Taliban numbers in Swat, she is tracked down and shot on her way home from school. Thankfully, due to her incredible international support she is eventually transported to Birmingham, UK to recover from her injuries- where after a lengthy process she survives. READ THIS BOOK. If your faith in humanity is deteriorating, this young woman will show you why you must have courage in your convictions. She shows the power of education, and importantly, why we must fight for it.

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