Last Sunday (10th September 2017) I went to my first IFP conference. In the beginning I was quite apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect and what we would be doing. However as the day went on I started to like the whole idea of an IFP Conference. We are not there to come up with resolutions for world issues, we are there to make a live and actually visible difference to people’s understandings of words and phrases that correspond to everyday life.
The activity that got to me most was the activity we did in the “Violence” committee where we closed our eyes and stood in a circle and voiced our personal experiences with violence, and because everybody was blindfolded there was no chance for a feeling of judgement. It was a truly safe space which made me quite hopeful for the future of IFP, the fact that it can make someone who is quite closed off into someone who is comfortable enough to talk about personal experiences with serious issues like violence.
I was also impacted greatly by the “Discrimination” committee as it shed light on the fact that many stereotypes that were formed ages ago are still at work today. Stereotypes like woman are weaker, men can’t cry, woman can only be angry if it is “their time of the month”. It sparked something in me that made so aware of the fact that woman and men are still treated unequally to this day. We had an interesting conversation in my group about the media’s role in stereotypes and discrimination. I voiced my knowledge on the fact that most “women’s” magazines tend to have more articles on how to look better, how to clear skin, how to get a flat stomach. Whereas “men’s” magazines consisted of more interesting articles on how to build a boat, or how to make an app. I found this quite upsetting that woman’s magazines focused more on the looks, the exterior whereas, men’s magazines focused on furthering knowledge and learning new things. Woman are obviously more than just their looks.
This conference made a lasting impact on me and sparked an interest in me that is making me proud to be a part of this “Initiative For Peace” movement. I want to make a change to people’s lives and their views on certain issues in order to make them more open-minded to help build amore accepting and safer environment for all.