Solidarity amongst charities supporting people with facial differences needed more than ever, so 35 charities unite for International Face Equality Week
This week marks the second International Face Equality Week. Global charities, from Taiwan to South Africa, and North and Latin America, will join forces to continue campaigning for a better, fairer world for people with facial differences.
Despite the unprecedented times stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, 35 member NGOs of the alliance, Face Equality International, have decided to push forward with a weeklong digital campaign. They will highlight the issues and prejudices people with facial differences experience, including health inequalities, online abuse, and hate crimes.
Advocates worldwide have come together to provide a source of hope, a sense of community, and assurance that their rights are continuing to be fought for across policy, the media, education, and day-to-day life.
Facial difference, sometimes called “disfigurement,” whether congenital or related to trauma or an acquired condition, is a neglected global human rights issue. Members continue to identify amongst the people they work with feelings of low self-esteem in the global ‘look-perfect’ culture, isolation, bullying, staring and questioning in public places, low expectations in school, problems getting work, discrimination in the workplace, abuse on social media and stereotyping in the media. In many countries, looking different goes hand in hand with poverty, prejudice, and exclusion.
This year’s campaign will continue to reshape the narrative around what it’s really like to live with a facial difference right now, by telling real-life stories from across the globe and challenging misconceptions. With a series of films, and a social media based ‘Selfie Challenge,’ the campaign for Face Equality strives for a world where differences are respected, valued, and celebrated.
Taking a selfie, and in turn, taking a stance by sharing it with the world, can be incredibly empowering for someone with a facial difference. Members want to use this year’s International Week to prove that selfies aren’t about ‘looking perfect’ or fitting in with the crowd.
By encouraging online communities beyond those who have facial differences to take part in the campaign, the alliance wishes to create greater understanding, awareness, and solidarity for the cause. In a globalized world that tells us we should look a certain way, the aim is to prove popular opinion wrong, and show the world that you can be confident, proud, and most of all, equal. No matter what your face looks like.
James Partridge, founder and Director of Face Equality International, says:
“International Face Equality Week this year will be marked with many people around the world in lockdown, physically separated from their friends and loved ones. Our intention throughout the Week will be to make common cause with everyone as we endure this awful pandemic — those with facial differences and those without. All human faces should carry equal value and we hope that this Week will help to instil this ‘new’ face value as part of the new normal as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Erica Mossholder, Executive Director of Children’s Craniofacial Association, says:
“Now more than ever talking about our facial differences is relevant. Nearly all of us are at a higher risk for respiratory issues and our unique anatomy affects our use of PPE, like masks. There is no part of our life that has not been affected at some point by having facial difference, but this year, our quest for equality and a voice is a life and death issue. We hope to bring awareness and understanding to the public, all while celebrating our lives and the stories we represent.”
Notes to editors
Erica Mossholder, Executive Director, Children’s Craniofacial Association
Remote interviews can be arranged with Dr. Partridge and other spokespeople. Case studies and interviews available upon request.
For more detail on Face Equality International, please see https://faceequalityinternational.org
For more detail on Children’s Craniofacial Association, please see http://www.ccakids.org
Support the campaign across social media by following @FaceEqualityInt and @CCAKids and use the hashtag #FaceEquality
FEI has member organizations in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- South Africa
- South Korea
- The Netherlands
- The UK
- The USA