Things We Should Leave In 2017

The overall consensus was that 2016 was the worst year ever. However, it seems 2017 has given 2016 a run for its money, having left us all wondering what on earth we were complaining about last year as the past 12 months have just got increasing worse. Whether it was something to do with politics, pop culture, our personal lives or just generally good people doing bad things, there always seemed to be something to whinge about.
Having all learnt valuable lessons this year and overcoming many hardships, I think we can agree that there are some things which we just don't want in 2018. I've compiled a list of some of the things I specifically think we need to leave in 2017 so we can ensure 2018 is a happier, safer, more peaceful one for all.

Is it bad that this was the first thing I thought of? It's no secret that 99% of the world's problems in 2017 were caused by men so perhaps leaving them all behind as we move into 2018 wouldn't be such a bad idea. Sexual predators, child molesters, racists, homophobes, misogynistic pigs, criminals...the few decent ones left will just have to take one for the team.

The U.S government
If it was possible to rid the world of the Trump administration, I think most of us wouldn't hesitate to do so. 2017 has been the year of countless Muslim bans, attempts to control women and what they do with their bodies, attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, Islamophobic remarks, Nazi sympathising, climate change denying, dream destroying, accusations of sexual assault, opportunistic liars holding powerful positions and so much more, meaning I hate to imagine what 2018 will bring. Can we just forget the idiots in the White House ever held any power this year and start over again next year? Maybe? Please?

The Tories
As well as the US government, I would very much like to leave my own behind this year. If I could snap my fingers and rid the world of Tories and make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister, I would. But, alas, I guess we'll just have to put up with these money grabbing, Brexit loving, rich prioritising, wicked, evil, "people use food banks for a variety of reasons" psychopathexploiterers for a little longer.

Clickbait well and truly took new forms in 2017. I am now at the point where I automatically assume a headline or a video title is fake before clicking on it. I expect everything to be a lie and it does not surprise me when the article I read or the video I watch has zero connection with the title. Can we make 2018 the year of good, honest headlines?

Jokes about mental health
Mental health is no joke and, if you are in a position to joke about it, then you ought to consider yourself extremely lucky. Mental illnesses are not adjectives either, they are not words for us to just throw into conversations as if they mean nothing and they are not things to belittle. Let us make 2018 the year we begin taking mental health seriously instead of saying to people "I'm here to help!" but then proceeding to poke fun at their mental illness.

Non-intersectional feminism
Feminism should be intersectional and should include all genders, races, religions, sexualities, disabilities and marginalised communities. Our activism should not discriminate, we do not get to pick and choose which social groups we stand up for. Feminism includes everyone so, next year, make more of an effort to speak up for the voiceless and not just when it concerns you directly.

Uneducated people
In such a digital age, there really is no excuse for being uneducated. The world is at your fingertips. Quite literally, you can Google anything and find the answer. Stop using "I'm not educated enough on that topic" as a way out of things and start actually showing an interest in the world around you. If you don't know about the government's latest policies, Google it. If you don't know about the issues affecting your local community, talk to someone! Don't be afraid to ask questions and get educated. Not showing an interest is pure ignorance.

People who ignore politics
Being able to ignore politics is a privilege which not everyone has. People of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, the working class, women...the decisions made by the government affect the everyday lives of these people. It's time to start paying attention and realise that politics has some form of impact on everyone and not caring only makes you look stupid. Even if you personally don't care about politics, I can guarantee that your landlord does, your boss does, your insurance company does...and every day they use their political power to keep your wages low, raise your rent and deny you coverage. It's time to get into politics.

The "freedom of speech" excuse
There is a major difference between exercising your freedom of speech and abusing your freedom of speech, it's time to learn the difference. Having freedom of speech doesn't mean spewing abuse left, right and centre is acceptable. It's time to use our freedom of speech for things that matter and to be positive, not just as an excuse to make disgusting remarks without facing repercussions.

Shaming people for their life choices

Let people live their lives. Let people get tattoos and piercings, let people gain or lose weight, let women have or not have abortions, let people change their careers, let people move to different countries, let people be who they want to be without feeling the need to comment on every slight thing they do. At the end of the day, you have your life and everyone else has theirs. Focus on making your own the best it can be instead of being so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. If it isn't harming you, then it doesn't matter.

The "people get offended by everything these days" joke
In 2017, people's response to outrage always seemed to be "Ugh I can't say anything these days without people getting offended!" and that line is getting old. People get offended for a reason. Granted, some people do get wound up about petty things but, for the most part, people only get offended because they care and who are you to deny someone of their feelings and invalidate someones emotions? The truth is, it is very much possible to make jokes and have opinions nowadays, people just aren't putting up with racism, homophobia, sexism or so-called jokes which are harmful anymore. If you're using the "people get offended by everything nowadays" excuse, perhaps you should question why and realise it's probably because your views are outdated.

Self doubt and self hatred
Let's make 2018 the year of self belief and self love. Let's embark on a mission to a positive life, and that starts with a positive mental attitude. Start seeing the good in all things, start appreciating the beauty around you, start having faith that things will work out instead of refusing to try anything out of fear of failure. Tell yourself  that you CAN do it and tell yourself that you ARE worthy of a full life.

Tarring everyone with the same brush
Just because one person from one community does something despicable, that doesn't mean that entire group are the same. This year, more so than ever, we've seen horrific cases of everyone being tarred with the same brush,' especially when acts of terrorism were committed. It's nothing but ignorance. Minority groups are having to fight to uphold their reputations after being blamed for things they have not done. They are judged by strangers because of a few bad people.

Double standards
I'm done with double standards. If you're going to praise a man for taking his shirt off, don't shame a woman for it. If you're going to attack a male rapist, don't excuse female rapists simply because they are women. Stop making one rule for one group and another rule for everyone else. Everyone should receive the same treatment.

Exploitation of young girls
As a young girl myself, I know I have been exploited for a long time. Every time I got to a concert and buy a piece of merchandise for £60, knowing I could probably make it myself at home, I'm being exploited. I see reality stars and internet personalities releasing merchandise at extortionate prices in a bid to make the most money possible and squeeze their, predominantly female, audiences dry, knowing that they want to support them so they'll rob a bank if they have to. It's wrong and it's time to start being fair.

People not understanding the definition of 'consent'
Whatever we were, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no. NO means NO. When someone says NO, they mean NO. When someone does not verbally say YES, they do not mean YES. When someone says NO after previously saying YES, they are withdrawing their consent. It's time to get clued up on what consent really means.

News outlets not reporting on serious issues
It came to light this year that millions of African refugees are being sold as slaves for as little as $400 in Libya. The only reason I found out about this was because someone posted it on Twitter. Yet, every time I open a news website, I see countless articles about Kylie Jenner going to Starbucks and X Factor rejects doing their Christmas shopping. It is time for the media to start reporting REAL news which we actually need to know so we can help.

Global warming is real. Climate change is happening right now as you read this. It's time for people to start believing that before it's too late. There is no excuse for littering when there is a bin within a few metres of you at all times. By picking up our rubbish and just keeping it in our pocket until we find a place where we can properly dispose of it, we are making a positive contribution towards the environment. It's a small thing to do, but, if we all play our part, the consequences will be wonderful. Let us start to protect our home this coming year because there is no Planet B.

Animal testing
There are many alternatives to animal testing out there so there really is no reason for companies to still be testing their products on harmless animals. Where companies must test on animals by law in order to sell in certain countries, such as China, these brands should say no and pull out of that market. We need to call out our favourite brands and companies which are very wealthy ought to do more to fight against futile animal testing.

Natural disasters
Mother Nature wasn't very nice this year. Countless people lost their lives and homes in terrible natural disasters, leaving many of us feeling sad and helpless a million miles away. Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides... if only there was a way to properly predict and prevent them so we could put an end to such unnecessary tragedies.

Cultural appropriation
Other people's cultures are not there for your entertainment. It's time for everyone to get clued up on what cultural appropriation is and for them to learn the difference between right and wrong. It's also important for people to realise there are many ways to dress up as someone or create a costume without mocking a culture.

Making stupid people famous
Stop giving them time. The people who make a viral video of themselves jumping into a swimming pool filled with water balloons. The people who say stupid things on talk shows. The people who post photos of their brunch on Instagram every day. Shine the spotlight on the people who need and deserve it. The people who run charities, the people organising campaigns, the people contributing towards a better world and carrying out small acts of unnoticed kindness.

Racism and "all lives matter"
Yes, "all lives matter," but, until we no longer need to, we're going to focus on the black ones, especially as those who are supposed to protect lives are failing to see that. We need to take a stand against racism and continue to call it out. We need to stop brushing it under the rug just because it's 'always been there.' We need to stop allowing people to excuse racism. We need to stop people forcing the attention onto themselves and their fellow white people just because they feel left out of the protests. Just be thankful that you do not need them.

So, what would you leave in 2017? 

Love, Emily :) xx

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