A week into the New Year I already feel as if I am playing catch up. Having enjoyed lazy mornings for a few weeks when the kids were off school, it’s been quite a struggle to get up at 6 am and get ready to take the kids to school, especially as I’m more of a night owl, and resist going to bed before midnight.
At school drop-off this week, parents and children alike have been looking pretty bleary eyed, obviously struggling themselves with getting back into a routine following the holidays. Meanwhile, the teachers are looking fresh-faced and full of energy after a much needed holiday. Teaching is a tough job, something that parents don’t always seem to appreciate.
In my last blog post, I expressed a desire for 2016 to become the year of face equality, but a quick look at two new programmes on Channel 4 leaves me somewhat disheartened.
The first series is called Tricks of the Restaurant Trade and explores the less than savoury means restaurants employ to maximise their profit. For example, your looks determine where in a restaurant you get seated. Every restaurant apparently has a “golden table,” where only those considered good looking get seated, a strategy used to increase the attractiveness of the restaurant.
In one experiment, two attractive models walked into a restaurant and asked for the best table. They got to choose where to sit, but when a man with a facial disfigurement – a consequence of neurofibromatosis -walked into the same restaurant, he found himself seated at the very back of the restaurant, even though there were plenty of tables available. On another occasion, he was told there were no tables available even though the bar had empty spaces.
The other TV show is the fifth season of Channel 4’s “documentary” The Undateables, which follows a group of people with different kinds of disabilities looking for love. For starters, the title of the show is terribly unfortunate, if not outright offensive. I’d, therefore, resisted watching the previous series, assuming it was exploitative and voyeuristic, but the other day I sat down to watch among others, a young man with Asperger’s, and a woman with a facial disfigurement as a result of illness, go on first dates.
I have to admit that it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, but the title of the programme still ruins it for me, implying as it does, that people with disabilities, medical conditions and facial disfigurements are second-rate people and, therefore, undateable.
So, while racial equality and gender equality have made significant, albeit imperfect, strides, it seems much needs to change before we’ll have anything resembling face equality.