Ok. Quick. Easy. And to the point.
I don’t understand why people fight to be included in activities that are actually pretty lame and unhealthy.
Perhaps someone can help me out here…
Yesterday, someone sent me a series of articles about a couple of lesbian women in California who were looking to become the first openly gay woman to be Miss California. I know that my first reaction was supposed to be, “that’s great.” But instead, all I could feel was a sense of bewilderment. I don’t consider beauty pageants to be the healthiest exercise (for women or men for that matter). So to make it a goal to be included in it…? I didn’t get it. I don’t get it. And I’ll never get it.
I do get why people fight for inclusion into something that is positive though. For instance, in the purely theoretical, if a Black professor were being excluded from being a tenured because the administration were racist, I would understand the outrage that ensued. But am I really going to get upset because Black prostitutes are found to be less desirable and make less money than their White counterparts? Actually, I’d probably clap my hands to that one. Even though each discrimination stems from the same racist foundation, I have no desire to go to the mat for inclusion into something which is unhealthy.
To be fair, I guess I do understand that there may be a knee jerk reaction to being excluded from anything. Call it the velvet rope syndrome. Too often myself, in a previous life (obligatory qualifier), I sat in a line with people trying to do whatever they could to be granted entrance to drop major dollars at a party or club which was, in retrospect…not. that. hot. The entire exercise and the high was gaining entrance…being validated by some little man with a clipboard. The fact that what we were gaining entrance to was no bueno was an afterthought.
But the difference is that I never thought that I was doing something for my discriminated people by talking my way into the party. On the other hand, one of the lesbian beauty pageants says “…she agreed to compete because it allowed her to represent the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in a positive way.”
Uh…no. It allows her to validate the idea that women should be judged by their beauty in the first place. I get that more representations of beauty can expand what is acceptable. But participating in something like this only seems to reinforce the original fallacy. Similarly,if a Black person fights for inclusion to a country club, they are only reinforcing the idea that exclusionary country clubs are cool.
And they aren’t.
So I am all for breaking down discriminatory stereotypes. And I’m all for doing so by showing that alternative versions (alternative versions of beauty, alternative versions of intelligence, alternative versions of living), while different, are just as acceptable as the mainstream and should be respected as such.
But do we really have to tap into unhealthy structures and activities to do so?