Friday

GQ Proves There is No Limit to Ignorance

Just a quick warning, this post is not a lighthearted post. I'm discussing a real issue that is far from laughable.

When I said I was giving my blog a makeover a few posts ago, part of that included writing about things on occasion outside of the world of cosmetics. While this isn't makeup related, it is beauty related in a sense--the beauty of  individuality and of the struggle of those that live in a world that doesn't seem to be made for them. Does this sound ambiguous? Let me explain.

Perhaps you've heard about the recent issue regarding GQ and its list of the 40 worst dressed cities in the US. Boston was apparently listed as number 1 on this list by GQ. Now while I have never regarded GQ as some sort of literary piece of gold, the publication's website recently sank to a low that should be looked at with an incredibly serious attitude. While the GQ list was far from kind to every city, shredding its way bit by bit through some of the most amazing cities in the US, the writer saved the nastiest bits for the capital of my home state--Boston. However, it wasn't the writer's attitude towards the style or lack there of, of Boston natives, it was the term he used to belittle it that echoed through my mind and the minds of conscientious readers everywhere. According to the writer:

“Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”

 Does anyone see a problem with this statement? Not only does the writer lack any sort of filter or conscience, but he essentially likens the diagnosis of Down Syndrome (defined by the presence of an extra chromosome) to being the epitome of stupidity; belittling the individuals everywhere that struggle to do things we take for granted on a daily basis as a result of having been born with Down Syndrome. This statement strikes a nerve with me on many levels, but above all on a personal level. I have a special needs brother that is younger than me. We are fortunate that he's alive given the fact that specialists did not believe he would survive in the womb full-term, let alone post-birth. Yet, nothing short of a miracle later and my brother was born full-term and healthy. He was, however, diagnosed by the age of 3 as Globally Developmentally Delayed. If you're unfamiliar with the term it literally means he is delayed in every area--physically, cognitively, etc. Looking at him you would never know physically that he's special needs, but shortly after meeting him it does become apparent. Where he excels in some areas, his disability holds him back in others. He loves Lady Gaga and Rihanna, enjoys spending time reading up on pop culture on his iMac, and dresses like most guys his age; but his understanding of the world around him is that of a child at times. I am ten years older than him and I have watched him struggle with learning to speak, watched angrily while people stared at him as a child when he had a screaming fit in public because he lacked the ability to communicate, and I've seen how the world treats him now as an adult who is special needs. Regardless of how much time we have invested in pulling together the resources to get him the best services and therapies (one of the reasons my family has stayed in MA all these years is because of all the states, MA has some of the best resources, professionals, and government funding), this world is not kind to those that don't "fit the mold". Though many people would say that tolerance for those with special needs is not an issue, I'd be impressed if tolerance was given at all.

Prior to having kids I had worked in the special needs field as an ABA therapist for severe special needs kids for years. I have worked with children of all diagnoses. These special needs children, these special needs adults are PEOPLE. They shouldn't be defined by their diagnoses. They shouldn't be defined by their physical or mental handicaps. They should be defined by their victories. Yet even in the 21st century ignorance reigns supreme and goes so far as to be published for the world to see by a major magazine's website. 

Perhaps the writer that decided to trash Boston's fashion sense by displaying his own vile ignorance in black and white should spend a day in the shoes of those he mocks. That's all I can say without going nuts and using horrible profanity. 

I don't care if Boston is or isn't the worst dressed city in the US. Frankly, it doesn't matter in comparison to things like the bombing in Norway today, the families with loved ones fighting overseas, or the desperate housing market leaving families without a place to live. But the writer of this piece and GQ crossed a line that should not have been crossed. Ironically no public apology has been made to my knowledge. While the site did change the content, choosing to berate Boston with other terms, that statement has already cut too deep.

Look at the faces of those you used to berate the city of Boston, GQ: https://www.facebook.com/bostondsp 

Style Down Syndrome? The writer and GQ would be fortunate to be as amazing as those that have been labeled with the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Clearly both are far from exceptional, in clear contradiction to those that function in this horrible, cruel, messed up world with far more to overcome than you or I. Congratulations GQ, you reign supreme as the most shallow, imbecilic publication I'm aware of. Perhaps you should generate a list about that.

Here's the edited post by GQ, they've rewritten the original statement. Too little, too late in my mind.

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