You probably saw this amazing video already. It went viral on social media a few weeks ago, as part of an equal rights campaign called Love Has No Labels.
You probably cried a bit. (I did.)
You know what happened when I got a bit emo? My immediate reaction was “Don’t be a girl Amz, pull yourself together.” This is something I say all the time, to myself, and out loud, as a joke.
Then I visited the Love Has No Labels website and started reading about implicit bias – something I’ve heard of but haven’t given much thought to. Implicit bias is basically your subconscious, unintentional discrimination. It influences the way we treat people. You can even do a really awesome little “implicit bias” quiz to check yourself before you wreck yourself. (Ha.)
You might think you’re non-discriminatory and racism sickens you, like me, but if you really stop to think, you might be surprised. I was. My inner voice saying “don’t be a girl”, was me being discriminatory towards myself, and towards girls. Placing females in an “emotional” category, like males can’t get emotional. Pfft. Crazy, huh?!
Saying “like a girl” is an insult that’s been essentially engrained into our culture and enforces gender bias. Remember this video from last year? Let’s take a moment to watch that too. I’ll wait for you…
You know what else was really powerful? This PAGE on the Love Has No Labels website. It features people’s real-life stories of discrimination they’ve experienced in everyday life. Just snippets; you won’t be reading essays. If you’re honest with yourself, maybe some of them will ring true. And next time you’re telling a story, have a think about whether the race, sexuality or physical ability of the characters are really important to the story. Do you need to say “some African guy ordered a flat white?” Is it really necessary for me to mention the Asian girls at the markets who haggled my Sass and Bide shorts down to $7? Does it really matter? Probably not.
I vow from now on to make conscious choices about what I say and think. Because it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
And if I want to cry at a video, I will cry because I’m human and I have feelings. Not because I’m a “girl”.
Remember, COOL is non-discriminatory.