Last week belonged to the unshowered. This the week the showered among us are stepping forward and crusading for the shower. As I posted yesterday, Jodie Turner-Smith and Dwayne The Rock Johnson planted their flags on the shower side. And now it’s Jason Momoa who’s letting us know that he doesn’t wait until he stinks before cleaning himself, telling Access Hollywood (via Page Six) that:
“I’m not starting any trends. I shower, trust me. I’m Aquaman. I’m in the f–king water. Don’t worry about it. I’m Hawaiian. We got saltwater on me. We good.”
So it’s another person of colour and my point yesterday is that not showering until you’re visibly dirty or smell is different for people from different communities. And there have historically been consequences for people from different communities. After my post yesterday I got an email from a reader called Rebecca who shared this tweet thread by Tressie McMillan Cottom insightfully explaining why the not-bathing conversation bothers many of us:
One big reason white elite disdain for bathing rankles so many people - from poor whites to immigrants to Black people - is how much whiteness uses â€œdirtyâ€ to Other and control the rest of us. https://t.co/CRNvGfVWHI— Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd) August 4, 2021
In the comments below, others are sharing their experiences of how they were judged as children – and by extension their parents. Several people talk about how their teacher reported their mother when they were in school because they wore the same jeans – clean and tidy, but since it was the same clothing, the implication was that the child was being neglected.
I know initially it was one of those bizarre celebrity stories that was supposed to be fun and silly but this is why it’s been taken more seriously by others – it’s a trigger for past experiences that are far from fun and silly.
And it happens in different places in the world, not just the west. I’m Chinese and have experienced racism but in East Asia, where the conversation about racial equality is far behind other parts of the world, there are assumptions made about Black and Brown people and their cleanliness based only on the colour of their skin. Not bathing for them is not an option – it affects their safety, their employment opportunities, their access to resources, their access to a table at a restaurant for lunch, so basically every aspect of their lives. Jake Gyllenhaal certainly doesn’t have this problem.
Yours in gossip,