On Friday 12th June 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the documentary, '13th'.
Here is our combined reflection on the film:
13th is a compelling exploration into the history of racism and mass incarceration in the United States. It depicts the evolution of how the use of media projected racism and instilled fear of Black people into the public, especially through their war on drugs and crime. It highlights some shocking statistics in regards to incarceration. America holds 5% of the total world's population, however America holds 25% of the world's prisoners. 40.2% of incarcerated males in America are Black men.
America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. At the time of viewing 13th, American prisons hold 2.3 million prisoners.
As a team, we were quite ashamed of how little we knew about these issues. We were especially unaware of the issue regarding private prisons profiting off prison labour as a form of modern-day slavery. We believe as a brand it's important to make sure in the future we ask the question of brands or companies we may collaborate with to make sure they do not use prison labour, so that we aren’t naively contributing to this issue by possible association.
Overall 13th analyses the depth of racial inequality and mass incarceration throughout generations in America, which has urged us to continue educating ourselves on these issues.
View '13th' here: https://youtu.be/krfcq5pF8u8
On Friday 19th June 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the documentary, 'Our Generation'.
Our Generation is a documentary that focuses on the treatment of Australia’s Indigenous Aboriginal communities, specifically in the Northern Territory. It outlines issues regarding Indigenous life expectancy, living conditions, and land rights that many Aboriginals face.
We learnt that the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians living in remote areas is 17 years less than the average Australian, with an infant mortality rate that is three times higher. As well as the life expectancy gap, Indigenous Australians are 40% more likely to develop diabetes than the non-Indigenous population. Listening to these statistics has made the team feel devastated about the drastic differences in health amongst our population, making us want to learn about organisations which are dedicated to closing these gaps.
Two thirds of the Indigenous population are currently living in overcrowded homes with up to 30 other people due to the lack of housing available for these communities. As a team seeing the living conditions in these overcrowded dwellings was not only hard to watch, but hard to believe is happening in our country.
As a team, we collectively had minimal knowledge about the Indigenous injustices occurring right now in our country, and this documentary has taught us valuable information that has opened our eyes and minds. We are eager to discover foundations and organisations which help Indigenous Australians, as well as understand what it is that we can contribute in assistance.
View 'Our Generation' here: https://youtu.be/Tcq4oGL0wlI
On Friday 26th June 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched Netflix documentary, 'Disclosure'.
Disclosure is a recently released documentary that focuses on Hollywood’s depiction of transgenderism and the ways in which these portrayals have potentially affected one’s beliefs and interpretations.
Throughout the documentary, there was a reoccurring theme of Hollywood films using transgenderism as a form of amusement or something of comedic value, which has possibly created the perception amongst audiences that being transgender is not something that is actually real or valid off the screen.
Another common theme was that of often creating psychopathic, murderous, and dangerous characters who were transgender, which has subconsciously taught the audience the false belief that transgender people are to be feared.
These limiting portrayals of transgender characters in Hollywood films and TV has led to restricted and problematic representation which embeds false ideas into the subconscious of the audience.
As a team, we appreciated the consciousness raising that this documentary offered as we have now become more aware of how media, specifically film and TV, can create a bias in our minds, which allows us to further work on dismantling these ideas.
On Friday 3rd July 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the YouTube VICE documentary, 'Inside the World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis'.
This short documentary provides a brief glance into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis that is happening in Yemen right now.
Due to the civil war, which has been taking place since 2016, many crises have occurred as a result, such as a cholera outbreak, the use of child soldiers, malnutrition in many babies (one town alone had 700-1000 malnourished children), and 20 million civilians facing famine. These factors have also contributed to a large number of fleeing refugees as well. As a team we collectively agreed that seeing the conditions in which the Yemen civilians have to live in was heartbreaking.
As well as the conditions mentioned above, there is also an increasing amount of land mines being used in the area which are high risk. Land mines can actively last up to 30 years which is extremely dangerous. It was claimed in the documentary that 4,000 land mines have been found so far.
As a team, we found this documentary confronting but extremely important and we will continue to educate ourselves on not only commonly talked about global issues but confronting and often unspoken about crises.
View 'Inside the World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis' here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWOPlynTcmk
On Friday 10th July 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the YouTube documentary, 'It's A Girl'.
It’s a Girl is a documentary that focuses on the treatment of young girls and mothers in the male dominated countries of China and India.
In India, the dowry system is a forced payment from the wife’s family to the husband’s, often resulting in poverty. This system has led to the belief that it is better for a mother to only have sons, rather than daughters, as a daughter will cause them poverty when she marries. The documentary shows how this way of thinking, in addition to mothers not wanting their daughter to have a life full of suffering, has caused many mothers to commit infanticide or abandonment against their daughters. Those daughters who do live have a 40% higher mortality rate than that of boys, both aged 1 to 5 years, and 1 in 4 girls do not live past puberty.
The documentary also focused on the occurrence of forced ‘sex selective’ abortions in India, which are illegal but still practiced. We were shown and told many stories of these forced abortions which made us deeply saddened as a team.
In China, the documentary focused on the One Child Policy and its militarised enforcement. The One Child Policy did not just mean only one child per family was allowed, at one stage it meant that you could only have one child if it were a son, and if you had a daughter you could have one more child in hopes of having a son. This policy demonstrates how male dominated the country is. It’s a Girl explained how this policy became heavily policed and enforced through Family Planning Police, rewards and incentives for reporting, forced abortions, and sterilisation. These strict and harsh conditions resulted in the prevention of 400 million lives from 1979-2012 and 40 million abortions a year.
These policies have caused an imbalance between the population of women and men through gendercide, resulting in 37 million more men than women in China (as of 2012). This has caused an increase in child trafficking, with 70,000 children stolen a year, as families want to secure wives for their sons.
As a team, before watching It’s a Girl, our knowledge on the treatment of girls and women in these countries was limited and we were especially unaware of the extent of the mistreatment of women and the prevalence of gendercide that exists in these countries.
View 'It's A Girl' here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azdUcyCkpYI
On Friday 17th July 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the ABC documentary, ‘I Can’t Breathe’.
This documentary explores how the Black Lives Matter movement has assisted in sparking a conversation regarding the injustices that Indigenous Australians still face today.
Stan Grant shares personal recounts of racism that he has faced throughout his life as an Indigenous Australian whilst also showcasing the voices of other Indigenous Australians in different communities.
The documentary sheds light on the centuries of brutality and oppression felt by Indigenous Australians that has been continuously inflicted through violence, over surveillance, deaths in custody, and racism.
As a team, we found that the stories shared in this short documentary were deeply personal and emotional which truly showed the effect that racism in Australia has had on Indigenous Australians.
View ‘I Can’t Breathe’ here: https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/i-cant-breathe/12452444
On Friday 7th August 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the YouTube documentary, ‘Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia’.
This documentary provides a short history of Australia’s mining history, focusing on the racism and xenophobia that occurred during the booming gold mining era.
The discovery of gold in mines just hours away from the city of Melbourne caused an eruption of mass migration to Australia and Melbourne became the fastest growing city in the world. Although the team, being from Melbourne, knew about the gold rush, we were unaware of just how much it affected migration.
Unfortunately, many migrants were faced with racism and xenophobia from many of the locals, and experienced things such as rampages of their camps. As a team, since we weren’t aware of migration, we were definitely unaware of the rising xenophobia during this time and we were deeply saddened to hear of these events.
Not only was there much racism during this time, there was also an issue of water supply shortages, so much so that alcohol was more accessible than water. This caused many miners to die of thirst, until a water pipe was built to supply the towns with drinking water.
The Shhh Silk team found this week’s documentary extremely interesting as it showed a different side to the gold rush than what we thought we knew.
View ‘Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPKS_fb2_l4
On Friday 21st August 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the 60 Minutes documentary, ‘Preaching to the Converted’.
This short documentary showcased the thoughts and beliefs of some churches in Australia who conduct gay conversion therapy, as well as the psychological effects that it has caused for many.
To uncover the true thoughts of these churches, a volunteer went undercover to have meetings about possibly undergoing conversion therapy. These meetings were recorded and a common consensus was found: homosexuality was a product of brokenness in the eyes of these churches.
This idea has been known to be pushed by some churches and has caused many gay people to feel as though they needed to be ‘fixed’. Modern conversion therapy in Australia was found to include psychiatrist appointments which were aimed to undo the homosexuality through psychological torment methods.
The messages that were given from the church made many feel as though they ‘couldn’t be Christian and be gay’. A Latrobe study found that every person interviewed, who had undergone conversion therapy, had thought about suicide.
As a team, most of us were not aware that conversion therapy was still occurring in Australia and were shocked to see that some churches were still conducting it. We were very happy to hear that Australian Capital Territory banned conversion therapy just a few days before we watched this documentary, but we all believe that Australia still has a long way to go with the other states.
View ‘Preaching to the Converted’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ow5huF6ec&feature=emb_title
On Friday 18th September 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the Netflix documentary, ‘Hello Privilege, It’s Me, Chelsea’.
This documentary showcases Chelsea Handler, a white American comedian and actress, travelling America to interview various people including, actors, activists, authors, politicians, people in markets, of all different races, ages and socio-economic backgrounds on the topic of white privilege.
The wide variety of voices heard alone, makes this documentary extremely beneficial in understanding the diverse understanding of what white privilege is and how it affects both white people and people of colour.
The documentary not only provides differing opinions on white privilege, but it also discusses the importance of these conversations and discourses amongst white people as it is a white person’s issue that disproportionately affects people of colour.
White privilege is described in this documentary as the elevation of white people over people of colour through systemic oppression based solely on the colour of their skin. This was shown by reports of black people being punished harsher than white people for the same crime, as well as voting obstacles for people of colour.
As a team, we found this documentary extremely useful in identifying what white privilege looks like for us and in our lives, and how we can apply it to life in Australia and not America, which is an important step in acknowledging its existence.
On Friday 25th September 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the Netflix documentary, ‘Period. End of Sentence’.
This short documentary provided a brief insight into the taboo subject of menstruation in India, as well as the lack of access to sanitary products.
Opening the documentary was a short clip featuring men on the streets of India being asked what a period was, to which many of them replied with the answer of ‘an illness’. This shows that there is a lack of education surrounding menstruation and is a topic that is extremely taboo.
The attitudes towards menstruation in India have led to less than 10% of girls and women using pads, which means that the other 90% are not able to attend work or education because they are not able to manage their periods.
Following on from the glimpse of the attitude surrounding menstruation, the documentary showcases a group of women who have begun creating sanitary pads and distributing them to chemists, as well as hosting educational sessions for young girls and women in their villages. This educational support seems to be extremely needed in these villages as it is imperative to break down the feeling of being ‘dirty’ for these girls and women.
As a team, we were surprised to see just how little sanitary pads and items are used, as well as the lack of education about this natural process, but we felt the empowerment that was radiated by the group of women who are dedicating their lives to helping others through distributing pads.
*Trigger warning: this review briefly speaks about eating disorders and body image issues. If you are struggling with these issues, please reach out to someone you trust or call a helpline such as:
HopeLine USA: 919-231-4525 or 877-235-4525
On Friday 9th October 2020, the team at Shhh Silk watched the Netflix documentary, ‘Miss Representation’.
This documentary provided a deep dive into how media and marketing have influenced our societal perceptions of women, and how this has ultimately affected the real lives of girls and women.
To begin this documentary, statistics, such as the fact that teenagers spend 31 hours a week watching TV shows/films and 10 hours a week online, were used to emphasise just how embedded the media is in the lives of our young population.
Once establishing this integral role of the media in our lives, the documentary begins showing a compilation of how the media represents women and our bodies which creates a sense of value that is dependent on our appearance. The overwhelming representation of women consists of one body type, slim and white, which has led to many devastating effects on young women such as eating disorders and other self-loathing issues.
As well as Hollywood, and other media forms, constantly portraying potentially damaging stereotypes of women, this documentary also explores how women in politics are constantly discriminated against.
The missing voices of women in politics means that governments are not having the perspective and experience of women influencing their policies, which can lead to laws being created that neglect women.
It was also explained that the lack of women in leadership means that young girls who look for role models in leadership positions aren’t seeing themselves, so therefore, they look at media forums, where women are being misrepresented.
Not only are women missing from politics and leadership positions, but the small percentage of women who are in these roles are constantly being belittled and only talked about when referencing their appearance, rather than their ability to be powerful leaders.
As an all women team, we were not surprised by any of these ideas as we are constantly living in this society and we see these misrepresentations daily. However, this documentary raised concerns for us regarding the wellbeing of the younger generation as they may not be able to see that women have much more value than the amount that the media decides they do.