Belenen (belenen) wrote,

dream (screaming in frustration about lookism) / when to speak up about prejudice with acquaintances

I was on a college campus with a group of students in their early twenties, laying around on the grass talking. One person started talking about how 'ugly' ze looked without makeup and styled hair (rumpling zir eyebrows, wiping off zir eyeliner, and mussing zir hair to show us). I said, "What's the difference? You look the same to me!" (implying that attractiveness is inherent, and that makeup is for decoration, not correction (in that layered meaning dreamspeak can have)) and some other person started explaining it to me, essentially tearing the first person down by saying how 'awful' ze looked without the subterfuge! and the first person nodded along, smiling, not defending zirself at all! I couldn't take it anymore and I ran off, a long ways away on the other side of the building, and SCREAMED out my frustration. As I was screaming, someone who looked like Adam Lambert (haha) came up to me and said, "I want to hear what you have to say" and I responded with disbelief at first but then told zir how I just couldn't stand lookism, and went into it in-depth, as ze listened intently and considered what I was saying. Then there was something with zir wanting to be with me and me saying that it would be too much of a clash of worlds, and then rushing off in magic coaches but that's blurry and not important.


This is the second time in as many weeks that I've had a dream where I screamed about lookism. (a Bel-definition of the word: lookism is the attitude that it is appropriate to rate the attractiveness of people (others and/or oneself) by external qualities. Lookism is prejudice based on one's own ideal for attractiveness, which may or may not match the societal ideal, and may or may not include more than one style of look. ANYTHING that says "x is more attractive than y" is lookist -- thus, saying that curvy women are prettier than slender women is just as lookist as the opposite). I think my dreams are using lookism as a stand-in for all prejudice.

I've been spending more time with people who haven't been hand-picked for their willingness to unlearn prejudice (like my LJ friends) and so I've been hearing a lot more lookism and sexism (which intersect really well as lookism is closely tied to gender -- ideals are often measured by how 'feminine' or 'masculine' they are). And I really don't know how to react. Because honestly if I spoke up every time someone said something prejudiced I'd be doing it every five minutes! it's how people relate! So I can't do it every time but I don't know how to pick the best times so I end up saying nothing. Apparently my spirit is getting so fed up with my silence that it is screaming when it gets the chance -- in my dreams.

How do you know when you know someone well enough to possibly embarrass them by pointing out that their mindset is prejudiced? I mean, I'm fine doing that with my deep relationships because I don't want deep relationships with prejudiced people, but with casual relationships? If it's one issue, it's so simple, but when it's an issue tied with five more issues, all of which together form the person's worldview, where do you even begin? I don't want to change anyone, necessarily, I just don't want to come away feeling like I've been silent in the face of prejudice when I should have taken the opportunity to speak up. And I don't want to be TOO bold and have someone close off to change when they might have otherwise realized their error. I just want to be true to my beliefs in a way that is not so harsh it gets shut out and not so gentle it isn't noticed. I really am not sure how to develop this balance. ((I'm not really looking for advice right now, because I feel like this is something I need to figure out on my own, but if you want to share your own experiences of confronting prejudice, they'd be very welcome.))
Tags: body image, dreams, dreams more real than waking, lookism, social justice / feminism, the essential belenen collection, those passing through

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