A year back, Mr. H and I went to Iceland. Sitting in a cozy restaurant, I looked randomly at the beer menu and ordered one I had never heard of before – I wanted to try something new and locally brewed. The description read – “pink colored beer with beetroot”; and weirdly enough beetroot happens to be my favorite vegetable.
After 5 minutes, the waitress got my drink – an interesting looking bottle with a ‘pink elephant’ on it – smiled at me and thanked me for ordering this particular beer. She said, “the beer you have ordered is named – Bleiki fíllinn – and I would love to tell you the story behind it. By buying this beer, in a way you are supporting to raise awareness, discussion, and preventing ‘Rape’ in Iceland”.
Lets talk about "RAPE" – THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – In Iceland I ordered a beer called "Bleiki fíllinn". While ordering I was completely unaware of the story behind the beer – until the waitress got my bottle and asked me to note the picture on the label. It was a "Pink Elephant". She said, "By buying this beer, in a way you are supporting to raise awareness, discussion, and preventing rape in Iceland". Below is the significance of the story, and I think we all should take out two minutes to read it, irrespective of which country we belong to. In 2013, a local brewery in Iceland got involved in drafting of a preventative group called Bleiki fíllinn (“The Pink Elephant,” founded in 2012 after the Vestmannaeyjar SlutWalk), which has the job of spreading the message – "That rape is never OK, and that people’s choice of attire or state of inebriation is irrelevant in every instance. Their message boils down to: never assume consent, and never ignore when consent is withdrawn." The head of Bleiki fíllinn, Jóhanna Ýr Jónsdóttir, says that is exactly what the group is there to do, and to remind people that there are no vague rules of sexual conduct. “It doesn’t matter if a person was interested in you earlier,” she says. “If she’s asleep, she can’t give consent.” Yes, Rape is never OK. And yes, we should talk about it, discuss it, prevent it, fight it, stop it and get rid of it – openly with our family and friends. Lets not treat it like the pink elephant in the room. #iceland #iceland🇮🇸 #icelandgeysir #geysir #naturalwonder #hotsprings #icelandicnature #icelandicglacial #geysiriceland #unbelievable #worldcaptures #naturalliving #worldisabeautifulplace #mysteryland #travelgram #travelblog #travelblogger #experiencelife #photobystreettrotter #maps #worldmap #map #bluelagoon #lagoon #hotsprings #icelandhotsprings #bleikifillinn #pinkelephant #elephantintheroom #rapeawareness
This was the first time I talked about “rape” with another stranger, came back with the bottle and spoke about it on my social media too. Since then I often talk about this particular incident and follow into a conversation about the rape culture in the world and what is happening around it to change it. I talk about it with my male friends, my brothers and my elders. And yes, I find it completely normal.
When we were young – how many times do you remember hearing whispers and hush-hush conversations by our elders about rape, assault, suicides, depression, mental illness and trauma? Remember when our parents used to tell us “this is not a conversation for kids” or tell us “this is a bad word”?
But times have changed and so have the newer generations. From Sunday morning – Tom and Jerry and DuckTales, we have casually moved on to American Pie, Lust Stories and 13 Reasons Why. We have all sorts of content on TV which was once considered as uncensored.
Why? – Because it’s high time we talk about it. It’s high time we bring it up in candid conversations – criticize, analyze, accept, support and normalize such issues with opinions and voice.
Recently in June, two famed celebrities – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. Behind their extremely popular and successful professional and social lives – we are now sure – a lot was going on. TV host, Michelle Wolf said in a following article, “if we’re going to have any chance of de-stigmatizing depression, we have to get rid of the pressure to pretend we’re happy, even when we’re not.”
Remember Avicii? – On April 26, 2018, Avicii’s family released a second statement confirming the singer died from suicide. The statement noted, “He really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”
I often tell my peers – happiness is not directly proportional to success. And depression is a disease that is REAL. So is anxiety. And mental wellness is more than necessary in the millennial generation.
So what is so wrong in the idea of having a family “therapist” in the future just like we all have a general physician today?
And now let’s talk about the controversial – 13 Reasons Why.
We all live complicated lives. We all make mistakes. Some we are proud of, and some we are not. Nevertheless, we all learn from them. Teen lives are complicated – always have been. But the millennial lives are even more complicated – something we are only starting to understand. Why do we do what we do? Do we know all the answers yet?
Recently I finished the second season on 13 Reasons Why. And while I was on it, there were other reviews floating around about how good or bad it is. But I decided to watch it with an open mind and I wondered – do we really have to judge the series?
Do we really have to comment upon the choices of Hannah, Clay, Zach, Alex, Justin or Jessica? Is that what their stories demand, or do they intend to make us think instead?
Critics say that the story is complicated. But are our lives not complicated? Is high school and much after – not complicated? Are our own mistakes – good or bad – not complicated? Is it fair to judge a series because of its twisted plots, endless trauma and the never-ending complications of teen life?
I do think 13 Reasons Why is a complicated watch – simply because in my view that is what they wanted to really portray. A complicated sense of high school lives. How we all are trapped into a web of mistakes that affect each other in mysterious ways and all we can hope for is to stick with each other, be better to each other, be kinder and find hope and comfort for each other.
The mistakes made in the season one of 13 Reasons Why – were now being fixed in the second. Friends stood up for each other, and the enemies defended themselves even harder. Some won fairly, some lost unfairly. But isn’t that life anyways – you win some, you loose some? In the end you only learn and restart.
The series further makes me think about the term “Wellness”. Medical science says, wellness is not only good physical health – but also mental and emotional. While we all run away from talking about a healthy ‘mind wellness’, we have at least started to understand it in today’s generation.
We all are broken in our own ways, some accept it, some don’t. And 13 reasons why did exactly what it should have – make us think about the fact that maybe we all are broken in demented ways – and maybe NOT judging, and NOT having a critical opinion about things is what we truly need.
To not go by the old rules of society about what is right and wrong – but to start from the scratch and re-look at choices without prejudice.
So why can’t we create a new society where we all are free of judgement? Where we are truly there for each other, listening, lending an ear and be kinder. Where depression is not a taboo anymore and wellness is everything.
Why can’t we start a new conversation?