CW: internalised ableism & body shaming
Today marks the start of Face Equality Week. This year’s campaign is titled “We Will Not Hide”, because visibility for people with facial differences reduces stigma.
Hiding can take form in many ways for people with facial differences and akin conditions. It can be not going outside; using filters on social media to edit out scars or change skin colour in photos of us; not having our photos taken; strategically positioning ourselves in public spaces to avoid receiving stares and comments; covering up with clothes or makeup; and so on. I’ve done a few of these things on that list through my life.
While I don’t use social media filters, I do tend to let the redness in my face calm down after a shower, before I see people – and this is a form of hiding..
I sometimes worry that being more inflamed will scare people and attract more comments.
This afternoon I needed to do some filming, but I wanted to shower first so I’d be more comfortable. There was little time to rest after the shower, and so my face was redder than it would usually be for a project like this. And I was wearing pink, which often increases the redness (Years ago, a guy told me I should wear all grey so I don’t draw any more attention to my face. I took that as gospel for a while). I worried about the ointment splotches on my dress and the skin flakes on the floor. (And I thought my dress made me look bigger than I am.) I feared all of this would be off putting for those I worked with and the viewers of the video.
Being public about my internalised ableism is a big step, too. Yes I’m very publicly body positive, but there are some things I don’t let people see.
So here I am, quite a lot redder than I usually let people see me – both for an upcoming video campaign, and on my socials. It feels ok, the world hasn’t ended. None of what I feared came true. Everyone was lovely. And this video I was filmed for will contribute to authentic representation.