Nowadays, diversity and inclusivity are two very important words in our changing society. There is gradually a shift of focus from a traditional type of society, quite exclusive, to a society that is more welcoming to differences in race, gender, age and religion. In Western countries this is truly a big topic of debate, as not everyone sees it in the same way.
These two values and the people who support them, stand and advocate for a society that is more welcoming towards difference, conciliating them without the majority group discriminating or oppressing the minorities. Every member of a society should be valued the way they are, and not be imposed a standard that they should fit in. Diversity in race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, weight, personality and so much more is what makes us beautiful and unique.
As these values are gradually more into the public eye, people are coming to terms with their multiple aspects in different ways. Some are welcoming the change as something that was necessary, while others don’t see it the same way. Racism, homotransphobia and other kinds of intolerance are stil present in our society and this creates a clash between different opinions.
Sometimes, however, opinions are not just mere opinions, but they uphold cis-hetero male white (*if you are a cis-hetero white man, we don’t have anything against you) privilege in society. This does not fit everyone and does not grant them the same rights. That’s where the line of respect is crossed and an opinion becomes oppression, damaging a section of a population. One should respect everyone’s opinions, whether they agree or not, but the same respect should be expected to be given back and human rights should always be kept in mind.
Even things like fashion and beauty can create quite a debate. Most of the time, however, these conversations are not constructive: they are not really meant to get people with different opinions to come to a common ground and they are rather disruptive instead. People act on the fear of change and judging others based on standards that were taught to them. Slut-shaming, being called names, stereotypes related to one’s sexuality or race come up when people wear something more masculine, feminine, less or more covering than “they should”.
An example of this is a sentence that is rather unsettling: “bring back manly man”. A man is a person that feels and identifies like a man, but being a man doesn’t really say anything about one’s interests, does it? And if a person prefers more masculine man, that’s fine, but it is not possible to impose personal tastes on someone. The same goes for women. Many people think that it’s bad that women nowadays are less feminine than before. But so what if they are? Femininity and masculinity fit some, but not all, and inclusivity implies accepting these differences.
Questioning someone’s belonging to a place, whether that’s a nation, a continent, a school or a workplace, based on their skin or the country of origin of their parents is also completely nonsense. People often mix up nationality with ethnicity and race: someone can be racially/ethnically Chinese, for example, but Dutch at the same time. The fact that this person’s ancestors are Asian doesn’t make them less Dutch and less worthy of the rights that white Dutch people have.
It seems pretty straight forward, but some people have a hard time getting on board with these ideas. They are labeled as progressive, when they are actually not: they are simply logical. These ideas also tend to be linked to a political side of the spectrum, when in reality, they shouldn’t be. As a society we have to think about everyone’s well-being, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age and religion and that is just civic sense and duty.
NOÉ Skincare is based on the values of diversity and inclusivity. We truly believe that in society there is space for everyone to express themselves as they want and to speak their truth, whether that is according to traditional values or not, always respecting others. Our skincare products are meant to go beyond skincare, not just labelled as “for women”, or “for men”, but for everyone.
As such we would like to celebrate diversity month with you: this month take the time to educate yourself about these issues in the workplace and in other situations and keep up to date. Remember as well to check your privilege: perhaps you’re white, or wealthier than other people, or you are heterosexual, these are things that give you privilege in our society. This doesn’t mean that your life is easy, or that you are better or worse than other people. Not at all. Privilege is not something that is used to criticise you or to diminish your life experiences. It simply means that your race, gender, sexuality or status doesn’t make your life harder per se.