I’m proud of my purse.
I don’t rate the polka dots, but for practicality, it scores perfect. It securely holds all of my old wallet’s contents. No longer am I experiencing Mario-like moments where I’m franticly chasing lose coins (minus the music).
But my latest purchase came with something I didn’t expect… the looks. I almost feel like I’m reaching for a pistol any time I have to present my ID or pay for something.
I shouldn’t. It’s ‘purse-crimination‘.
Puns aside, I don’t really care. But this experience has made me more aware of the problems with societal norms. Even when I was buying my purse, I was asked more than twice if it was for my girlfriend. I don’t have one; I want one. But I also want a purse, thank you.
The real problem is that many people face much worse reactions to behaviours they simply consider to be expressive of who they are. A particular group is the LGBTIQ+ community. Due to my line of work, I definitely knew that individuals who identify as LGBTIQ+ tend to get judged and mistreated; but I didn’t know what that actually felt like.
“Studies have found that non-heterosexual people face up to twice as much abuse or violence than their heterosexual counterparts.” – Beyond Blue
I still don’t. But my purse-nal experience, combined with a very informative inclusivity training event held by Twenty10 has given me a much better idea.
This post isn’t long enough to elaborate on everything I learned. But a point I will share is that so called ‘norms’ are not only in accurate; they’re harmful.
“There is enormous pressure for us all to confirm to ‘expected’ gender behaviours and appearances.” – Twenty 10
No one wants to be made to feel ‘abnormal’, so that’s where the problem lies in being so adamant in defining what ‘normal’ is.
Unfortunately, it’s also ‘normal’ to do so – just look up ‘microagressions’. I can admit to being oblivious in the past. But what I learned from Twenty10 today, is that pistols, purses, or other people’s shoes are not the solution. It’s re-education.