A challenge

Somewhat unintentionally, there’s a bit of a theme going through the issue this week. On the cover, arts reporter Charls Morin is examining sizeism and the stigma that comes with classifying people as healthy (or unhealthy) based on their size. For some readers, this may be old news. And for some readers, this may fly in the face of everything that’s been taught and shared by experts in health, fitness or medical communities.

This piece poses a challenge to reconsider how to define (and measure) health, which could require unlearning some deeply internalized ideas and judgments toward oneself and others. It could be uncomfortable.

But the reality of living with stigma is also highly uncomfortable to the point of being harmful, so in order to foster better health and well-being for all members of our community, there will need to be some confusing, creaky learning moments.

The somewhat unintentional theme of this issue is challenging misconceptions – pushing up against preconceived notions around how people are labelled, what people are capable of, and how the stories told about people can be harmful and detrimental.

Volunteer writer Kayla Abrahams previews a panel called “Sexuality and Disability Manitoba Panel Discussion” put on by local advocate and U of W student Chance Dupuis. Campus reporter Skylar Smallacombe talks to students to explore how the ideals of diversity actually play out on campus and which elements of representation truly matter to them. And in the comments section, volunteer writer Kate Sinclaire questions why reporting around public figures’ sexuality and sexual behaviour reflects worse on some people than on others.

This wasn’t planned as a specific theme this week, but it’s not surprising to see a common thread of challenging misconceptions running through the issue.

When we say “we’re telling the stories that aren’t being told elsewhere” here at The Uniter, that means that our goal is not to just relay information about what’s happening around our campus and community.

Our role is to tell the stories of events, people, places and culture with a critical lens. Our role is to further conversations that are already happening. Our role is to amplify the voices of those who are challenging us as a society to expand our imagination.

Some weeks, those roles and goals are more evident than others, but whether it’s an obvious theme or not, these are the stories we believe will challenge us to improve our society and to build better communities for everyone in them.

– Anastasia Chipels

Published in Volume 72, Number 17 of The Uniter (February 8, 2018)

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