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Image credit: Billie

Today’s Taboos

Image credit: Billie

We launched a brand new piece of groundbreaking research on today's hidden subjects on 2nd October at The Conduit London, where over 100 people joined us in a lively conversation discussing all things taboo.

We launched our new report on 2nd October at The Conduit where Florence Nolan (Development at Talking Taboos) hosted a fascinating conversation unveiling the stigmatised subjects of 2023. We heard from Katherine Jennings (Director of Talking Taboos), Hannah Marcus (Trustee of Talking Taboos) and Sema Gornall (CEO of The Vavengers).

Find the link to download the report here: Today's Taboos Report

The report highlights the four taboo areas of 2023:

- Unmentionable Mental Health: Whilst making progress with conversations around mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, people with psychosis related symptoms such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and BPD, continue to face harmful stereotypes and stigmatisation.

- Shameful Sex: STIs are still considered embarrassing and shameful, as well as an indicator of socially unacceptable sexual behaviour. This silencing makes it harder to educate around prevention and treatments.

- Unruly Bowels: Despite online aestheticication of and booming business in ‘gut health’, more ‘real’ conversations around poo and bowel movements are still ignored and deemed shameful to talk about, making it harder for people with Crohn’s, Colitis & IBS to talk about their experiences.

- Daily Disgusts: There is a suggestion that for those who identify as women or have vulvas, normal bodily functions and odours are ‘unclean’, leading to use of unsafe products and impacting everyday experiences like menstruation, which are treated as unclean despite being common, normal and natural.

Why did we choose to do this work? Our mission at Talking Taboos is simple; to shine a light on topics which are ignored or hidden from public view, whose unspoken nature prevents people from seeking, or finding, the help they need.

We want to give voice and space to the taboo experiences people are bravely raising on social media, and highlight how their taboo nature is stopping these topics from receiving the coverage and attention they deserve.

In collaboration with discover.ai, we curated a dataset of UK based online and social data in 2022 across Twitter, news, media, blogs and forums, and used AI tools to analyse this data, looking for emerging themes which are creating resonant conversations or outside impacts. Social and online media is a rich space for exploring taboo subjects since the combination of anonymity and community makes people willing to share experiences they might not in other contexts.