It was great to see Mind win an apology and donation from Asda and maybe Tesco after they complained about a ‘Mental Patient Fancy Dress Costume’ presumably intended for wearing at Hallowe’en but maybe at any time… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24278768.
It seems to me important that the two offending items of clothing were both branded heavily in such a way that they deliberately pointed at and stigmatised people with mental health problems. As Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind rightly says, that goes way beyond the boundaries of acceptability.
That is very different from most of the ghoulish and scary face masks that are sold in the annual mini retail boom around Hallowe’en – none of them are branded as ‘let’s pick on people with scars, eye patches and asymmetry’. They don’t need to. Everyone accepts – unwittingly perhaps? – that this is the time of year when children dress up to scare the wits out of others… and if the face masks are extreme, they simply reflect the idea that skulls and skeletons are ghostly and scary.
Is this OK?
Every year, Changing Faces has a problem with Hallowe’en. We debate it but always end up concluding that whilst it is tiresome to have facial disfigurement associated with evil (again), we don’t want to be kill-joys – and actually some children with disfigurements find the whole event rather fun too, able to indulge themselves behind a mask without worrying.
Maybe we should stick to this line. What do you think?
Maybe there’s a role for social media in this? I rather liked the riposte that Mind planned: tweet your real face to Asda and Tesco… http://bit.ly/19LGJnH
Perhaps we should look around for particularly unpleasant masks and let the manufacturer and retailer know what it’s like to live with a real face with scars etc?
Please let me know where you stand… Thank you.