"States of Undress" has opened my eyes.
Naively, I have never wondered what it's like to be a millennial living in Palestine, Russia, or the Congo - or anywhere else for that matter. To place myself in the shoes of young people living in these countries is hard to fathom. Having to strategically navigate your everyday life through patrolled borders and checkpoints, bearing witness to your neighbourhood street being divided - literally cut in half. Or, living in a country where the leader of your country doesn't agree with your sexuality.
That all changed when I watched Vice's series States of Undress.
Journalist Hailey Gates unpacks what it's like to be a young person living in places like Palestine, Russia and Pakistan while using the guise of fashion to dig deeper and discover how major political and social issues impact young people's lives today.
Without the rise of technology and globalisation, some of these young people wouldn't stand a chance in pursuing their interests, simply because the country they're born in or the religion they believe in. As a viewer of "States of Undress", all that gets flipped on its head and you're invited to see an alternative that you may have never considered before.
The young women that Gates meets in Palestine challenge the traditional image most people have of women in Palestine. Without giving too much away, in one episode the journalist meets The Speed Sisters, the only all-female car racing team in all of the Middle East. When you first meet The Speed Sisters, your immediate reaction is that they don't fit the stereotype of a Palestinian race car driver. Underneath their racing suits, these fearless women sport manicured nails, designer sunglasses and leather jackets.
The two women talk about how no one took them seriously when they first started racing and how all that changed when they began winning races. This changed people's perceptions.
It's women like The Speed Sisters in "States of Undress" that force the viewer to challenge a traditional stereotype of someone, or sometimes an entire country. This whole series highlights some eye opening alternative perspectives to life in countries that are usually perceived as war zones or places of oppression. It sheds light on how innovative young people have become, and need to be, when pursuing their dreams and desires.
Someone once told me that there is no right way to do something in life. There are multiple ways to do the same thing. You only need to figure out what way works for you, and you'll be okay.
That's just one theme that "States of Undress" touches on in its amazing series.