Carly Findlay: 'People Ask If I'm Sunburnt'
Appearance activist Carly Findlay has opened up about why she feels more confident in the age of social media.
Findlay who lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, has become an advocate for people living with disabilities and facial differences and said her new memoir, Say Hello, is about encouraging people to be better.
The award-winning writer who was named one of Australia's most influential women in 2014, opens up about the discrimination she faces almost every day and why she would rather find a cure for ableism than for her Ichthyosis.
"For me, discrimination can happen whenever I least expect it," she said, explaining how last month she was refused service by a taxi driver because of her appearance, while on her way to her book launch.
"I don’t get greeted like other people," Findlay told 10 daily.
"People just flat out ask what's happened to me, ask if I'm sun-burnt or just tell me what they think".
"Whereas I would prefer a nicer interaction, the idea of saying 'Hello' before asking me or if at all, would be great".
While people would expect that if she were given an option Findlay would choose to find a cure for her condition, she said she would rather find a cure for ableism, and the discrimination, prejudice, judgement and lack of opportunity people face for looking different.
"I think for me I would definitely take the cure for the pain but I wouldn't take a cure for my appearance.
"I don’t want to change the way I am to fit into society's norms or to make other people feel comfortable".
It's taken Findlay close to two years to complete her book and she said the feedback since it was first published a few weeks ago has been noticeable, with people already messaging her to share their own story after reading the memoir.
"I've got a platform that I am very privileged to have, and I want to make sure other people's voices are heard," she said.
Findlay, who often talks about her experiences with discrimination on her social media, said these online networks provide more opportunity and places for people to share their own experiences.
"The more I've told my story, particularly on social media, the more confident people are to share theirs," she explained.
Findlay describes her new book as a "manifesto" and a "handbook of advice" not only for non-disabled audiences but for a disabled audience as well.
Asked what she hoped would be the takeaway message for readers who may also be living with a skin condition or a disability, Findlay said it would be that no one should have to hide their appearance.
"They don't have to be ashamed of it, they can wear what they like, they can post photos on social media, they shouldn't be afraid".
Carly Findlay joins the Studio 10 panel on Thursday. Catch her full interview on 10 or catch up later via tenplay.com.au
Featured Image: The Project
Findlay will be on Studio 10 today at 11.30am discussing her life, her book and her experiences.
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