When Empathy Is Limited

There has been a Twitter backlash against US Cosmo after holding a ‘Hello Gorgeous/ ‘RIP beauty comparison as one of their features. Problem? The models on the ‘Hello Gorgeous’ side were all Caucasian while models who were African American were featured in the ‘RIP’ side of the feature, sparking accusations of racism, an accusations staff at the women’s magazine vehemently deny.

This got me thinking about how diversity is preached about in the media, but, frankly rarely presented.  In Australis, for example. Most media personalities are: white, able – bodied, cisgender and, frankly, straight. Of course there is nothing wrong with that. I’m not calling for anyone to be sacked because of who they are. What I’m pointing at is that most people, particularly in the media, try to advocate for minorities without having any real idea of what it’s like to be in the situation themselves. I think sometimes that can lead to a misrepresentation of people and, to kind of quote Andrew Bolt, a lot of ‘seeming rather than doing’.

 

I’ll bad perfectly honest, the reason why I’m so vocal about discrimination and prejudices toward the LGBT+ community is because I can partly ( I emphasise partly) because of my own struggles in the past about my own sexuality, the self – hatred and, for a time, a fear of a homophobic backlash from people I cared about (that was more before I identified as asexual). For a brief while in my mid high school years, it did lead to some nastiness from certain peers in my year. That lead to some years on my part of confusion, fear of losing friends (family not so much) and self – hatred. Now I know that what I’ve listed is quite tame than what a lot of  LGBT+ people go through. These are just my experiences that I believe have lead me to believe in certain things the way I do.

Can everybody empathise with a marginalised group? Yes. But I think we all have to be aware of when our genuine understanding of another person’s experiences are limited, or, frankly don’t exist at all. That’s why I find it so refreshing when I hear stories of asexual people actually being able to tell their own stories rather than have someone else telling the story, and frankly, sometimes, I believe, misrepresenting asexual people one way or another.

What are you passionate about? What life events have made you driven to that passion? ( you don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to)

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