A few months ago, UK supermarket Tesco released some flesh-toned sticking plasters. Whose flesh though? In this case, Tesco had them in a range of colours and shades. Because people come in all sorts of flavours.
Naturally, some people (mostly old white dudes) were angry about this. Because they’re angry about everything. Here’s my “favourite” response:
“normal coloured plaster”. What is normal? In a statistical sense, we might say that it is the most common. But I don’t think that’s what this person is talking about.
He is normal. Anything which caters to him is normal. Anything not specifically designed for him is abnormal.
This is a problem for a lot of people. The world moves ever so slightly to accommodate someone else and they go apoplectic with rage that their whims haven’t been catered to.
Don’t believe me? Go read the reviews of any RomCom and see the hoards of angry men. I mean, they even complained that She-Ra wasn’t sexy enough for them!
The tweet also demonstrates perfectly the “I speak on behalf of all others” mindset. The thread was full of people of colour who said how happy this made them. And yet, this person decided to comment from a place of ignorance. Because they literally can’t conceive of anyone not being like them.
And, while this isn’t the most pressing problem in the world, it is not insignificant.
It’s OK to focus on the “trivial” aspects. There are enough people tackling the hard problems that sometimes the best thing you can do is start chipping away at the small things.
This “default” culture cuts across everything. It defines anyone who isn’t a cishet white man as abnormal. And it is utterly insidious. Once you acknowledge it, you’ll see the problem everywhere.
There are accusations that Tesco ripped off a small business who had this idea first.
Press release from my friend Vivian of skinbandages and Joanne her UK partner for @nunude_official – realising how the market is set up against small businesses they partnered together last year. Both Brand started many many years before the partnering. pic.twitter.com/LcWTXmR60n
— Lovette 🇬🇲🇸🇪🏳️🌈 (@lovettejallow) March 4, 2020