I've been debating on this post for a week or so now. I suppose the best way to begin would be simply to illustrate my life and how I choose to live it. I'm white, I'm female, I'm plus size, I'm an abuse survivor and I'm sure there are lots of things that people could, and do, choose to judge me on. I've been bullied and discriminated against. I live by a policy of honesty. While I care about the words I use, I do not sugar coat what I am to say to someone for fear that it may not be what they would want to hear as I think they deserve the respect of my honesty. I've often found people who find this disconcerting because most aren't that way. My goal each day is to be a better person than I was the day before. And while there are things in this life that I want to do and accomplish, I know what my one purpose in life is . . . to love. That will be a life worth living.
But for every light there is a shadow. A dark place in which love is corrupted by ignorance and hatred. In the last couple weeks this has become extremely evident to me, and yet I find solace in the goodness that I see in people and what has stemmed through recent events as well as years of fighting for a cause . . .
Recently, through various blogs I read, I came across an article written by someone for Marie Claire. The basic jist was a summation of her lack of understanding and intolerance for someone who was outside of her definition of what was the norm for body image. This, coupled with the fact that more recent acceptance of plus size, full figured, husky, whatever-you-want-to-call it has been a call to arms for some of America, sickened her. My issues is not with her acceptance or unacceptance of those who are of the larger variety, God knows I am, but more with her gross neglegence for her spewing of hatred and her sheer ignorance for this issue. Unlike many of my fellow women, I choose not to tear her down and call her this name or that name, but I am saddened that in such a public forum she chose to not think before she acted and to be such a poor example of what a woman should be. It weighs heavy on my heart that rather than support and encourage each other in all our forms, we instead seek to rip each other apart and tear each other down for our differences. I extend this sadness also towards the women who were cruel in their retaliation towards her afterwards for I think such comments and hatred are just as terrible. Do I think she has a right to an opinion? She sure as heck does. Do I think she should be representing women everywhere on a national platform? Sure as heck not. I was particularly perturbed when she threw in the "I have friends who are plus size women" card. This is not an international save face to make your point more righteous. That's like saying you have a token african american friend so your racist bigotry is acceptable. As her plus-one plus size friend, I would certainly not remain silent on such prejudice. She, of course, later issues an apology citing that that wasn't what she meant to say or how she meant to come off, despite her shock-jock position.
In further national news, today I came across the story of an Arkansas educator who used his facebook account to display a message of hatred towards an alternative community. A light has recently been shown on the fact that there is an alarming rate of bullying and hatred spreading like wildfire as well as, and worse, a suicide rate because of this. This extends further to the undercurrent of repugnance towards the gay, bisexual and trans-gender community. And because of this, the media has shown an increasing light on the number of suicides that have been the result of such bullying. In response to a call for rememberance, this educator chose to be an example of disgust and cruelty, responding with inapropriate name calling and a flood of dogma that, without thought, could spread like wildfire. An educator. A man to support and encourage and nurture and foster goodness. And instead, he fostered hate. There was such a national outcry that a facebook page was created calling for his resignation with support of 1,000 people an hour. He did in fact resign yesterday and spoke with Anderson Cooper saying this was not him and the entire situation was blown out of proportion. And while it's a vallient effort and step in the right direction I suppose, I found myself not caring. Not because of my disgust in humanity or my disbelief in the good of mankind, quite the opposite. Just as in the columnist, I don't care for your apology out of pressure. At the end of the day you are left with simply who you are. Your choice is to decide what you want that to look like.
Hatred is taught. You hear it long enough, you believe it. It surrounds you and consumes you. You know of no other way, see no other course of action, feel that your view is the only view because how could it possibly be wrong. I don't care for your apology, it makes no difference to me. What I care for is that you care enough to take note of your ignorance by choice and open your mind and heart to the vast population outside of your small world. To live one's life as though only you matter is a waste of spirit and soul.
I'd like to bring light to this amazing tolerance campaign spearheaded by Cyndi Lauper that brings encouragement to people facing political issues that are on the hotbed of controversy currently and illustrates that change needs to happen. Please Give A Damn and share the potential with others.
"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."