I have not lost 100% of my hair. However, losing most of it has been traumatic enough to know that there is nothing funny about living with alopecia and being bald.
The incident last night at the Oscars has been the most talked about event involving a woman with Alopecia since I started losing my hair 19 years ago, which opens the door for educating the masses about this condition but a lot of people are missing the point.
I would like to start with the fact that Alopecia is not a joke and any type of body shaming is a form of bullying. I don’t care if you are a comedian and that is your “job”. What Chris Rock did last night was straight up bullying.
It was very clear that Chris has no clue of the psychological impact of having Alopecia, and what living with this condition entails. If he did, he would know how hurtful and disrespectful this “joke” truly was.
Watching what happened last night, I couldn’t help but to think about Rio Marie Allred, the 12 yr old from Elkhart, IN, who took her own life a couple weeks ago because kids bullied her and snatched her wig off at school.
What Chris did last night feels very much like the same the same type of bullying. The only difference is that he did it to a grown woman who can handle her emotions and has come to a place of acceptance that lot of people with this condition don’t have. For some, it takes years to come to a place of acceptance and self love.
Jada did not shave her head by choice. She did as a form of coping with this autoimmune condition that she has no control over, that at this moment in time, has no cure. After wearing turbans for many years, she had the courage to show up as a bald woman to the Oscars and this is how she was received.
I honestly doubt Chris would have made this joke if he knew she had lost her hair to cancer. I truly want to believe ignorance played a role in this instance. However body shaming, regardless the circumstances, is unacceptable.
My thoughts on Will’s reaction are very straight forward. Violence is never the answer. He could have handled this differently instead of slapping Chris and shouting accross the room.
Will first laughed at the joke and then, when he saw Jada’s face, he reacted and decided to stand up for his wife. I very much understand where he was coming from, however, I don’t condone violence and his acceptance speech only made things worse.
Saying he did this for love, doesn’t excuse him for assulting Chris.
Will could have taken this opportunity to explain why he reacted the way he did and raise awareness about what he has experienced behind closed doors, watching his wife dealing with Alopecia.
Last night only shows that there is so much work to do. As someone who is on a mission to break the stigma around hair loss, I find these jokes to be offensive and a slap in the face to all the work we are doing to normalize hair loss in a society where having long luscious hair is a beauty standard.
There is so much to unpack about last night. My hope is that this becomes an on going conversation and it doesn’t become yesterday’s news.
If you have ANY feelings about last night’s events, PLEASE share your thoughts.
USE YOUR VOICE 👊
Whether you have lost 100%, 50% or 25% of your hair. This message is for YOU.
Speak up! Stand up for yourself and let us know how this is affecting you.
We don’t have to be victims of the situation. We can use this opportunity to use our voice and share with the world what it’s like to live with hair loss.
WE are being bullied and the only way to stop this and break the stigma is to let our voice be heard.