In life, there are a bunch of invisible social contracts that most of us tend to follow. You know, “the rules”. In general terms, societal expectations stop us from behaving in ways that would make most people uncomfortable – you know, shitty things like purposefully tripping other people over.
Societal expectations are not always beneficial to us all, of course. There are those that say all women should be married by 30, or that men can’t cry, or that our value lies in our success at work. Those ideas are damaging and untrue and they cause a lot of pain. But they also don’t get discussed all too often because they’re wrapped up in another social contract: some topics are taboo and should not be openly discussed.
I’m here to tell you that I think we should break that contract. Not discussing the topics that are hard to think about doesn’t make those issues disappear; it allows them to continue to go unaddressed, or at the very least, it ensures these topics don’t receive the attention they often need.
In a recent article shared on Medium, Tom Kuegler wrote that We Need To Write About Taboo Topics More. He shared that touching on those topics means we’re often exploring “uncharted territory”. “How many times do you talk honestly about the sex you’ve had with other people?” he wrote. And I tend to agree with his point.
Issues like sex or gender or religion are often approached tentatively, which means we avoid honest dialogue about important topics. Not only does this mean mistruths are given more space to breed, but there are loads of people who are left feeling confused. Uncomfortable conversations are a necessary part of life, and they’re an important part of learning about the experiences of others.
So with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you all to a new content series on Lifehacker Australia.
We Need To Chat: A guide to life’s most uncomfortable conversations is going to be a place for the taboo; a space where we can explore topics like mental health, race, politics, death and more, with respect and honesty.
We’ll be inviting journalists to write on the areas they know best, and hope you’ll be open to hearing their stories.
Tear up the social contract on ‘taboos’ (not the one on tripping people over though, okay?) and let’s really talk.