Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Frustration: Week 3

I never thought I’d be the one to say unpacking was enjoyable. But after TWO WEEKS of living in and out of suitcases, being able to put my clothes in a closet is nirvana.

This past week was the second week of orientation since arriving in Australia. With only one more orientation week to go, I can assure you I am going to be the most oriented person on the planet. Not that it hasn’t been a blast. The Melbourne Welcome Program has introduced me to so many great people and we did so many amazing things. The first day we were split into 20 groups – I was group number 6. Our mascot: the life guards…. And what an international group of life guards we were. There were people from the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, and the U.K. Not to mention those of us from the States. Together we went for a wine tasting and tour of Chandon winery, went to a chocolaterie in the Yarra Valley, went on at least three tours of the Melbourne CBD, and got up close and personal with some birds at a bird show.

The longer I’m here, the more I am meeting LGBTQ+ peers. It’s nice to see the LGBTQ+ communities from several countries represented so well. It is strange, however, coming from a country that just recently legalized same sex marriage to one that hasn’t. To be honest, the sociopolitical climate surrounding the issue reminds me a lot of the U.S. last year. On street corners and around the university campus, there are people handing out fliers and asking for signatures to support same sex marriage – much like there were in the States. Many people I talk to are wondering why it hasn’t happened yet considering the progress so many other countries have made; especially when such a large majority of Australians support same sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights.

It is hard for me to talk about one form of discrimination without talking about others though. Gender inequality for instance.

Get ready because I’m about to rant.

I had some lovely gentlemen say that not only could women not play sports as well as men, but deserved to be paid less because they didn’t generate the same revenue as men. “It’s just economics,” they said; “You just don’t understand,” they said. First of all – I understand economics. I know my lady brain gets in the way sometimes, but I am a reasonably intelligent human being. What I don’t understand is how you can use economics to justify inequality. Especially when the reason behind the economic disparity is discrimination. The southern United States had the same argument about slavery. It didn’t turn out so well for them. Women are told from an early age that they aren’t as good as men at….well, anything. We see this not only in verbal put downs (i.e. you run like a girl) but in – you guessed it – the economic side of things. Women’s sports aren’t nearly as well funded as men’s. Women’s sports aren’t nearly as well advertised as men’s. Women’s sports aren’t even shown on network television like men’s. As Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers pointed out, the Women’s World Cup was being mainly broadcast on Fox Sports One…”Who gets Fox Sports One?! Really?” So no wonder women don’t pull as much revenue, the entire system is a vicious cycle of sexism. Women don’t receive the press and funding they need to earn as much revenue as men, and then their lack of revenue is cause for them to be paid less.

Also, congrats U.S. Women’s national team on your World Cup WIN. And U.S. Men’s national team good job losing in round of 16….

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