I remember when I was a little girl, I was fascinated with war memorials. Stone colossi towering over people, gravely staring into the infinite as if seeing something none living can see. Looking at these selfless men and women who exchanged their mortal lives for the immortality of memory made me wonder why certain people and events are chosen to be remembered, and others – to be forgotten.
As a COVID long-hauler, I inhabit a liminal space of intractable uncertainty with regards to diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and prognosis. COVID infections have blurred the boundary between the two kingdoms of the well and the sick. A new biosocial identity has emerged from the collective experience of long Covid on a global scale, where we exist ‘betwixt and between’ yet belong to neither kingdom.
A social economy approach therefore asks why people are engaged in specific enterprises. Are they simply out to make the most money they can? Many people do. Or do they see themselves as providing an essential service their community is missing? Are they providing employment for otherwise disadvantaged groups? Do they simply take pride in producing artistic or high-quality goods and the only money they need is enough to cover their living expenses?
Cara Delevingne’s ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ moment from the 2021 Met Gala undoubtedly missed the mark. Delevingne and Dior both failed to credit the original creator of the slogan, a black, queer sex educator Luna Matatas. Beyond this transgression, Delevingne’s message and its delivery were blatant examples of the contradictory messages often encoded in mainstream depictions of non-normative sexualities. Delevingne clearly thought her stunt was groundbreaking, or at the very least, intelligent and thought-provoking. This begs the question of why, exactly, mainstream representations of non-normative sexualities so often miss the mark, and often do more harm than good.