I love this little graphic series about Face Equality Week, created by Elizabeth Russo. It’s a great resource for allies, and also for people with facial differences who might be looking for community, connection and validation of their experiences.
Elizabeth told me: “I like learning about face equality and making this is an easy, fun and approachable way to tell my friends about it. 🙂”
Please also follow people with facial differences on instagram – people like: @katiepiper_ @crystaltheactress @adam_pearson_tv @turiapitt @nikkililly_ @arielhenley @jonolanc @thetravelin_chick @lyricallydiverse @phyllidaswift @burnedbeauty2018 @be_yourself_dylan @coffeewithbelindadownes @melissablake81 @athollmills @faceitmama @robert_rhodes160 @tulsidivine108 @bellspalsybritt @raichemederick_ @ploker1981 @tinaraj46 @misssorasol @iamjrmartinez @brookhoury and more 💛
Image descriptions from Elizabeth Russo:
Slide 1: Title Card
Note: Gale, a preteen/teen girl, narrates these illustrations and slides.
My friends and I all have facial differences. Six of my friends are using their arms to create a heart and I, Gale, am in the middle holding a sign that says “It’s Face Equality Week! #WeWillNotHide.”
Text: What is Face Equality? Well, my definition is that it’s basically about ditching outdated stereotypes so all faces can be seen equally and not evilly.
I drew myself talking in the corner and on the bottom I taped flowers and pictures of my friends. From left to right, it’s Amy, Aynaz, Jen, and Jill.
Text: There are a lot of negative assumptions connected with facial differences, like being unable to communicate, immoral, evil, lonely, isolated, pitiful, unloved, dangerous, prayed over to be saved, OR seen as a source of inspiration because we’re just SO courageous and heroic for just existing, and the only thing imperfect about us is our difference.
Below, I illustrated myself with devil horns on a flaming background and an angel flying through the clouds, and in the corner, the sun wearing sunglasses.
Text: Here are two ways to challenge these prejudices: The first way is to read books written by people with facial differences.
The books listed are:
-Face It by James Partridge
-Ugly by Robert Hoge
-Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
-A Face for Picasso by Ariel Henley
-Running from the Mirror by Howard Shulman
-Full of Heart by J. R. Martinez
-Say Hello by Carly Findlay
-Beautiful by Katie Piper
Text: The second way is to follow social media accounts created by people with facial differences.
I listed Changing Faces and Face Equality International. On the bottom, I taped photos of my favorite people to follow on instagram. They are: Nicky Lilly because I love her style, and she’s the first influencer I’ve seen with a facial difference. Brooklinn Khoury because she is SO COOL for being a skater girl. Ariel Henley because I LOVE everything she writes! Sora Iriye because she’s also Asian American like me. 🙂 It’s been very hard to find women of color with facial differences, so I was pretty excited when I found Sora!
Someone asks me, “Heyyy, how do I talk to someone like you?” And I’m like, “As in talking to a girl???” I mean you should not ask intrusive questions like: What’s wrong with you? Or What happened to you? Also, you should not stare and be a weirdo because that’s EW. BUT you should ask about my favorite books! They are Joy Luck Club, A Face for Picasso, and the Court of Thorns and Roses series. Furthermore, you should make eye contact or look between my eyes, it has the same effect. Lastly, PLEASE act like you usually would with anyone else.
But enough about that stuff. More about ME! I like reading, drawing, and strawberries. Below, I drew two books: Jane Eyre and The Facemaker, and I also showed off one of the drawings I was proud of. It’s Astra, my original character. She has plexiform neurofibromas like me, wearing a dress made out of stars, AND she just so happens to be HIGH Lady Fae of the Twilight Court! Below that, I drew my friends and their hobbies. Jill likes to hike. Amy likes playing Zelda Games. Maria enjoys writing. April loves roller skating.
Jen performs traditional Mexican folk dancing. Jen is wearing a red Jalisco outfit decked out in colorful ribbons while she is dancing. And Aynaz likes taking pics for the gram. Below, I show a group photo of all 7 of us that Aynaz just took.
On Aynaz’s phone, she posts our group photo to the gram and the caption says, “It’s surprisingly a nice day for once! #WeWillNotHide.”
Text: Want to learn more? Visit: Face Equality International
(Images and IDs shared with Elizabeth’s permission.)