Same sex marriage surf chat.
There is love, it is one of the most challenging but rewarding human emotions known to human kind, it can be nurtured or destroyed in the matter of one small moment. If we were to consistently apply this human emotion equally across our daily endeavours, throughout everything we do, from surfing to loving another human being, it would all work. It all works – if we let it. You have a passion, and that is an activity that you devote a certain amount of time into to fulfil a level of happiness, it is removed from any sort of requirements or necessary action, it is just simply something you do for yourself, much like the action of sharing your love with another being. You do this because it fills you up, it is a feeling you may have never felt before and you want to acquire the skills to perfect it. So, we have surfing as an activity, and then we have same sex marriage as also, an action.
I began to research how cultural thinking shapes and reinforces what we do as human beings, when I came across a scholar from Jamaica, Stuart Hall, who began to teach lectures on something called ‘Cultural Studies’. In his lectures, a train of thought was created about the distances between canonical cultural archive, that is – the books, music and other mass communications that were supposed to teach you how to be civil and well-mannered as opposed to our own upbringings through lived experience. Hall understood that culture funnelled through a series of authenticated then validated situations of popularity. The elite upper middle-class tastes of culture were the favoured flavour of shaping and creating what everyone thought to be believed as ‘cultured’. It was Hall who drew the contrasts between this hierarchy of culture by the masses and the culture that is created from within us, innately, through individual and diverse lived experiences, interpreted experiences and defined experiences. Our experiences can tell us more about the world than any traditional studies of politics or economics, and rather, we gain an understanding of different meaning systems across our world to subjectively negotiate between.
By using our experiences rather than what we have been taught, we can transfer thoughts into much more valuable information. My point here, is that there can be no rules applied to something that we have not experienced ourselves, and then when we have, we can then interpret how we will navigate how to master it entirely, into its full potential. Australia, come on, you took so long. It was only recently that our very expensive votes were released with a result of 61.6 percent of Australians in favour of same sex marriage, and a depressing 38.4 percent left unopen to the idea, and naturally - left defeated by it. Marriage is an activity to celebrate love, it should not be restricted by who you are or what you are to be able to comfortably perform it in front of all your other loved ones. Why was something so simple, so misunderstood by its counterparts? What I can put this down to is control, from the understandings that the union between a man and a woman creates families, families create communities and communities form reasons to create legislation. It’s a cycle that doesn’t exactly consider progression, and there is no political or religious freedom without progression, there is just fear, fear of change.
For the ones that have had their love under political scrutiny for so long, I can only attempt to empathise with this by comparing it to there being legislations opposing my freedom to love the things I do. And that is gut-wrenching. Same sex marriage legislation passed yesterday in Australia, making us the (embarrassingly) 26th state to pass this law. What an awkwardly late achievement, for all the ludicrous amounts of energy, time and money that have gone into fighting for something that should never of really needed a fight, I will rejoice to say that it is all worth it. I believe this legislation passed for a multitude of reasons, one being that it was leaving Australia behind the eight ball, but primarily because love and its emotional experiences of it, won. Everyone likes love and everyone wants it.
But fight for what you love. Because it will prevail. Also. Fight for the ones you love and the things. Always.
Words by Daini Stephenson
Art by Filippa Edghill