Dear sweet baby Jesus in a cradle up a tree, I am done, done, DONE with people of privilege donning the costume and trappings of marginalized people’s situations and being treated as ‘brave’ or someone we ought to respect because ‘OMG, they totally know what it’s like now!”
I’ma put this bit in bold so you understand: NO YOU GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING DON’T!
No, living like you’re on food stamps for a week isn’t “knowing what it’s like”.
No, wearing a hijab for Lent isn’t “knowing what it’s like”
No, binding your boobs and “be a trans guy for a day” isn’t “knowing what it’s like”.
No, wearing a fat suit for a day isn’t “knowing what it’s like”.
This is privilege tourism, a brief visit to get just a taste. Then you come back and talk as if you know damn near everything about the place, when you’ve only seen the highlights.
You wanna know what it’s like to be poor, a hijabi, transgendered, or fat? Let me make a strong suggestion: Listen to people who are poor, a hijabi, transgendered, and fat.
They are out there. Some have already placed their experiences in easy to read and possibly understand formats that are just one search on your search engine of choice away. You can read them. You can open up your brain past your own damned experiences and LEARN.
LEARN without embarrassing yourself and offending those who can’t take off the ‘costume’ at the end of the experiment.
Let go of this concept that the only way to learn is to walk in someone’s shoes, that the only way you can process another’s world is through you own eyes. There are some shoes you will never walk in, and there are some shoes you really shouldn’t try to walk in. You can express empathy and understanding by listening and learning from those who walk that path every damned day of their lives.
And you can help, actually help, but elevating those voices, especially if you have an audience (*ahem*Gwyneth*ahem*). Those voices need to be heard a lot more than your twisted attempt at empathy that comes off as another fucking vanity project.
If anything, it might even save you from the righteous anger of those who have every fucking right to be angry at yet another tourist taking a cruise through their lives.