still processing my twitter convo with @aliciasanchez and @theeandrogenius from earlier today.
reflecting on the many realities that exist within the queer community; those both hidden and exposed, accepted and rejected, assumed and forgotten, supported and discouraged, misinterpreted and routinely taken for granted.
on my personal epistemology, which allows for multiple valid realities and authentic expressions of person-hood in as many forms as one can construct for oneself. acknowledging my privilege(s) in a society that does not make such concessions for “others” or even for ourselves within community.
checking myself when i recognize the products of bias and phobia in my speech, action, or thinking. and being mindful to not assume or project what i perceive as truth onto others.
knowing that i do not have to share your same identity to be your ally or stand in solidarity with you, and to defend our rights to person-hood. making the choice about how to resist and with whom.
remembering that strangeness and queerness are oh so relative. and that my experiences and exposures will always color my understanding of this walk.
that there are as many queer identities as one can imagine; from the specific and exclusive; to the fluid and ambiguous…and they are all worthy of existence.
Aurora Levins Morales, My Name is This Story from Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios. (via art-is-the-word)
i’m aware that i’ve used cynicism to protect myself from my own naivete. its a short cut through critical thinking that can save time and energy in the end. and sometimes its just a check point—a way for me to consider that another, less ideal reality might exist.
its true. i can be pretty damned gullible. my family laughs at me about it all the time. especially my mother. she calls me her “flower child” because of my historical ability to believe the good in almost anything and anyone. for a time, it was the magic of pantene pro-v. and one day that myth was shattered.
my mother is a natural beauty with very sensitive skin and a simple, modest style. she never fussed over hair or skin products and couldn’t understand my obsession with them. i’d sit glued to the television as young girl, marveling at every lotion and potion the commercials pushed at me. i was a marketing executive’s dream.
pantene pro-v commercials were my favorite. my mother would roll her eyes as the commercial came on and i fawned over the models. oh her hair is so shiny! look, she has no split ends! i had to have the products but my mother would not buy them. for years i settled for VO5, Vidal Sassoon, and Suave—our regular in-house brands, until my allowance could afford me the luxury of pantene.
i noticed the products did make my hair shinier, silkier, and stronger over time; though not a stark contrast from my hair in its peak condition with any other comparable brand. i used pantene throughout my teenage years, even after i let go of the dream that my hair would ever look like the women in the commercials. and then my a-ha moment came…
i was watching TV with my mother and a pantene commercial came on. my eyes light up as usually and she couldn’t hold it in any longer: “Do you realize that NONE of the women in these commercials actually use the products that they’re promoting? Do you think that woman’s hair looks that way because they just finished washing it with Pantene?”
O_O … i was so crushed (and honestly too old to JUST be arriving at that realization). they lied to me!
it took me a while to have faith in the beauty industry again. disassociating the gorgeous models and actresses from the products in their hands left me feeling foolish, which i was. as a child it made sense, but over time there was no good reason to believe that any product would give me the waist length bone straight hair that i saw on those white women’s heads, or to feel i needed that. it was also a lesson to remember that behind the tv screen are expensive cameras and expensive teams and expensive hair/make up stations whose sole purpose is to make little girls (and grown women) like me believe we can achieve the same results with $5 at CVS.