We asked Body-Positive Activist and founder of #ScarrednotScared, Michelle Elman to talk to us about Diversity campaigns and what she really thinks of them, have a read below of what she had to say…
“Diversity. We hear this word all the time. People are praised for it, companies are revered for it and at this point in society, if you don’t include it in your campaign, you will hear the backlash via social media almost instantly.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that we are still referring to anyone who is not white, able-bodied, straight-size, cis-gender and heterosexual as diverse. It is the fact that anyone outside of this category is seen as outside of the norm and and different – or “diverse”. The problem is that we are still differentiating and THAT is ultimately why we need more diversity (for lack of a better word).
I guess this word has become one of contention for me because I am “diverse” in more ways than even the average diverse person. I am basically a dream for any company that wants to tick the box of being diverse and inclusive. I am a mixed-race, fat person with a scarred body, physical limitations and chronic illness with a medical record that is as long as your arm and yet I could also be considered not “diverse” enough. Yes, I am mixed-race, but I am also half white (read: privilege). Yes, I am fat, but not fat enough to have my Instagram page overwhelmed by health concern trolls. Yes I have a scarred body, but fully clothed, you would know no different and likewise with my illness and limitations because they are all invisible.
And that is where the problem lies. Who defines diverse? If we have got to the point of merely ticking a box to fill quotas haven’t we missed the entire point and aren’t we dehumanising people in the process.
Ultimately, I believe we need to be seeing so much diversity that we don’t refer to it as diverse anymore. Much like we need to be promoting body positivity and inclusivity until someone’s body isn’t actually the subject of the conversation. We need to keep seeing it until we are used to seeing it. We need to be so used to seeing it that it isn’t worth a comment anymore and this is why campaigns like “The New Sexy” are doing it right. They are making it normal. They haven’t got a token diverse person. They are showing us real life with people of all sizes, ages, capabilities and sexual orientations.
Alongside this message, they are sharing another one which is rarely discussed. That all people are capable of sexuality and sexiness. Being sexy isn’t isolated to one group of beings and this message isn’t seen enough. More and more we are being told to cover up if we don’t fit the mould. We are even told that if you are over a certain size, you require a different light bulb. (Granted, that was said by a diet company so clear ulterior motives with that one.)
But it is 2017 people, and us “minorities” aren’t going to be silent any longer. It’s time to turn the light on, raise our voices and show our sexiness in the most unapologetic way possible.”
Yes. Yes. A thousand times Yes. We totally agree with Michelle. Diversity shouldn’t be newsworthy, it should be the norm. However until the time when that is the case we will keep including different people and keep striving to make the change, hopefully that way we will eventually get to a point where it isn’t shocking to have a ‘diverse’ line-up of women and men in the public eye.
If you liked what Michelle had to say or what to find out more about her then head to her Instagram page – @Mindsetforlifeltd. She uploads great snaps and uplifting quotes on a regular basis to get ready for an onslaught of positivity. This is the kind of girl we all need around.
Big Love x
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