Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Role Models?

I was reading submissions on This Is Thin Privilege Tumblr and a few posts have caught my attention and made me think of some issues we have discussed about the Deaf Community in my college classes. Specifically, the lack of adult role models. In the Deaf community (btw, that capital D is not a typo. Capital D Deaf refers to the community of deaf people who are linguistically connected by ASL), schools don't typically hire deaf teachers for their deaf students. In fact, it is difficult for deaf people to get hired anywhere, especially somewhere public and with high volumes of hearing people. There are really no deaf role models; besides Helen Keller, what other deaf person in history do you know?

Source is actually very interesting!
Taking this same thread and expanding it, what fat role models are there? Think back to all your teachers in your whole school career and count the number of fat teachers you had or saw. Include administration, security, and any other supporting members. Think about shows or actors/actresses that you either admire or admired when you grew up. What about in real life, when you go out to a restaurant and order food, what does your waiter or waitress typically looks like? In fact, what about when you enter sit-down restaurants and are put into the back where no one can see you; does this happen?

 What about on TV? How many fat actors or actresses get gigs that play the good guys? How many fat people do you see on regular TV shows that aren't being berated or made fun of?

And here I am looking at the commercials for American Idol (I swear I am watching Criminal Minds!) and what do I see? No one that looks like me, even in the audience. Then a judge says "you look like a million bucks!" to some contestant and it reminds me of the awe and surprise that this woman received because she wasn't conventionally pretty. Seriously, look at those people's faces before she sings and then directly afterwards, like it was a surprise or something that she could actually sing in a fucking singing contest.

Anyway, thin privilege is being able to walk into any store and see models that look like you (let alone clothes that will fit you, clothes that will be cheap, and employees who don't look at you or speak to you in disgust). It is seeing movie stars and politicians (especially the women) and lawyers and CEOs and managers and doctors and biologists and especially those who run studies and teachers and anyone else in power who look like you that you can aspire to.

Thin privilege is having role models that look just like you.

No comments:

Post a Comment