Friday, June 19, 2009

So I came across a quote by Beth Ditto a few days ago. Those of you who don't know her music, here is a link to a recent music video. I am not a super fan of "The Gossip" or anything but I applaud their art. Beth also proves that beauty is not defined by skin and bones. She does not conform to music industry standards and stays true to herself. Her voice, to me, has more feeling than most of the artists hitting the charts today. 

Beth responded to a comment Katy Perry made about her music. Apparently, Kary wasn't all too impressed. Well, I must say that in my opinion, Beth is creating art and Katy is, well, regurgitation catchy pop tunes. Fun to listen to, but not much substance. I was struck by what Beth said because I think it runs parallel to society's trivialization of mental illness. But first, Beth's quote:

"I don't care if she writes a song about kissing a girl, but there are people who kiss girls in their everyday life, and it's not as easy as just kissing a girl and everyone loving you. It'd be really rad to hear her talk about something like that. It's not about Katy Perry. It's about this song and its innocence on her part. To [Katy], it's just this party song. But as a gay person, it's like, 'Oh, of course this straight person singing about kissing a girl goes straight to Top 40 and people buy this record. Who can give a fuck about real gay people?' That's what's really painful about the whole thing. That's what makes me laugh about 'I'm not impressed.' It's like, 'Oh, that's what you think? Of course, because you never thought about what a real gay person feels, and the impact that a song like that has on the gay world in a time of crucial civil rights.' That's just one of the examples of what the mainstream is thinking about queer culture, when actually, we are completely fighting for our rights right now."

I feel that the media and most of society sensationalize situations which they have NO EXPRIENCE with. This very act is why stigma exists. And what gives a person the right to make money off of someone else's pain and suffering? In most cases, people are manipulating a twisting the topic of mental illness in order to shock the public. I am trying to wake people up to the fact that suffering can not be overlooked by ignorance. I know, this requires education, etc., but we need more discussion on this topic. 

I would love for more individuals to come forward and take a stand against stigma. I hope to develop a national campaign one day. Luckily, I will be speaking with congress in the future about my ideas to fight stigma on a national level. But I can't do it alone. I will need others to join me in this fight. Let me know if any of you are interested in telling your story. I will devote a section of my documentary to show real people living with mental illness and stigma. This portion of the video will display imagery and quotes from those who deal with stigma and are forced into silence because of it. Showing the public that you are not ashamed of your recovery and strength is a very powerful message. Don't allow others to speak for you.  

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