"I wish I had known to surround myself with people who fall in love with my mind and my words."

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Aretha Brown

- Queer, Indigenous, Teenager

In terms of body image, feminism, being a woman, I haven’t really explored this yet. I walk into a room and people see my race first and foremost. Subsequently: womanhood, queerness or any other substance of my identity gets ignored.

I went to one of the local high schools in Nambucca heads where I was the majority. Amongst all my cousins, my crew family, body image was never a thing. In terms of beauty standards… who really gives a fuck. We all have curly hair, big beautiful noses. Big eyebrows. I was more exposed to it when I moved to Melbourne, but still didn’t think much about it. We don’t question it. If you’re indigenous, you’re indigenous, it doesn’t bother us. It’s white people that go, ‘Wow you’re very light-skinned.’ Or, ‘What are you?’ Or, ‘You’re very pretty for an Aboriginal.’ The worst thing is I can’t tell them that’s actually not okay to say, because it’s done with such good intent.

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In terms of positive representation, I remember when I was little I was watching rage on TV, and David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ came on. I saw mob on the TV for the first time ever and it was the happiest moment of my life. David Bowie saw the beauty of the mob. He could have had anyone in that video clip and he wanted us. In terms of good representation—that’s the pinnacle! When I do currently see myself represented it’s often not in the best light. It feels irrelevant as all subsets of my identity are not equally portrayed. Of course there are positive indigenous stories occurring. We’ve just been lead to believe there isn’t. At the moment, it’s seeing other mob on the street. That’s when I see myself reflected back. I love Footscray—Footscray Market is my favourite place in the world. It’s the only place in the west where I do see mob on the street. They give a little wave or a nod, and there’s an unsaid recognition and mutual respect when that happens that is so uplifting.