I know women come in every shape and size, and it’s all good, but it is HARD to look exclusively at pictures of very thin women and not start to feel a little like shit. And not to open a whole ‘nother can of worms, but women of color have the added bonus of seeing the unrelenting whiteness on many of the runways, and that’s an even more depressing and infuriating issue. I get all the reasons the models are supposed to be tall and thin, but, like Callie wrote in this excellent editorial, that’s not enough anymore. Women of many different shapes and sizes are wearing these clothes, and the vast majority of them were never and will never be 5’11 and 115 pounds. Aspirational is one thing, but impossible for almost the entire female population is another.
Sure, this otter may vaguely resemble actor Benedict Cumberbatch. But not as much as you resemble a terrible mother who can’t even emotionally connect with her own toddler.
Real life, where we make a difference and change lives and love on people, means getting dirt under your nails. Love is the liturgy of bringing a mug of coffee to a friend and asking your older neighbor if you can mow her lawn. It’s offering to babysit for that mama who desperately needs a break. and it’s helping deliver donations to the food shelter, even when you don’t have much time and have people to feed under your own roof. Don’t just talk about the nobility of simple living so that others can simply live. Do it.
I hope that activists will become involved in more than just critiquing the movement, but also creating something themselves: whether it be a video, an offer to educate further, or a similar movement. At the same time, try to understand what an amazing step this is and how far we’ve come. My frustration (and my fear) is that so many critiques will demoralize those who are truly allies, and chase away those who are potential allies.
Willful blindness and silence doesn’t make one more Christian or Buddhist or spiritual. Quite the opposite. To allow systematic injustice to go on and to not even speak of it because it’s messy or not your family, is a sign of weakness and privilege. It makes you a part of the problem. The concepts of karma and emptiness do not mean we ignore the world and injustice. But we use the world to work through our own stuff. Activism on and off the cushion is a must. But there can be no work done when the inequalities of the day are ignored. Having a friend of color doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the matrix of White privilege or have ‘figured it out.’
As it is with audiences who view this film so it is with all the faithful. History is littered with the carcasses of those who’ve been victimized by people who’ve chosen to use religion as a means to a selfish end rather than an end in itself. “12 Years a Slave” reminds us that every generation has a choice between a faith that crushes and oppresses and one that uplifts and liberates. As audiences explore this “Tale of Two Religions”, they are urged to choose and choose carefully.
When you’re immersed in an activity that is simultaneously challenging, invigorating and meaningful, you experience a joyful state called “flow.” Happy people seek this sensation of getting “caught up” or “carried away,” which diminishes self-consciousness and promotes the feelings associated with success. As explained by Pursuit-of-happiness.org, “In order for a Flow state to occur, you must see the activity as voluntary, enjoyable (intrinsically motivating), and it must require skill and be challenging (but not too challenging) with clear goals towards success.”