Wednesday, July 1, 2015

(Review) Love Soap: #gayisOK

(Been a little quiet around here, hasn't it kiddos?  Sorry about that...writers block is a foul mistress.  Lucky for me, I've found inspiration in our current campaign at Lush!)

If there's one thing I know about humanity (being a human myself and not some lizard creature you see in backwater conspiracy theory videos), it's that love in any form plays a powerful part.  Love is one of the main emotions that defines humanity.  Love for a parent, love for your spouse, love for that one guy in your science class who doesn't even know you exist but dear god his hair is perfect...oh yes...humanity is all about the love (politicians excluded as they're our reptilian overlords).  So imagine my surprise when the #gayisOK campaign came around, and upon researching the material given to us for the product and talking points, I discovered the horrifying fact that love in some countries is illegal.  Not only love, but just being yourself is illegal.  In 76 countries, same sex love is illegal, and in 10 of those countries it is punishable by death.

I can actually pinpoint the first time I found out what being gay was.  It was a simpler time...pre 9/11 America where brown lipstick was the trend and boy bands roamed the earth.  I was a wee scrawny ten year old munching my lunch in my dance studio's lobby when he came through the door.  The tall, handsome sixteen year old little me had been innocently crushing on.  He had gorgeous brown hair, a chin stud, and could pirouette right into a girl's heart.  Maybe one day he would ask to hold my hand, I would think (that's like second base to fifth graders).  I must have been beet red because my childhood friend (we'll call her K) sat next to me and snapped me out of my dreamlike fantasy. 

"You can't have a crush on him Robyn!" she said loudly after he went into his class.

"Huh?  Why not?" I asked, ever the meek one.

"Because he's GAY!" K exclaimed.

I remember sitting there giving her an odd look.  I asked her what she meant by gay.  Like, happy?  Well that's okay by me, I like happy people!  Obviously that's not what she meant.  Being the older one by a year, K explained to me in all of her eleven year old wisdom that it meant a guy liked guys instead of liking girls.

"Isn't that WEIRD?!" she asked, her nose wrinkling at the thought.

And I sat there with my Snickers bar and thought for a minute.  "No," I answered.  "I don't think it's weird at all." 

Fast forward to high school, where hair is frizzy, braces and pimples are had, and every move you make is so awkward you nearly cringe yourself into a black hole.  Two of my best and most dearest friends had come out as gay/bi men respectively, and it was during those few years in high school that I had to watch as they endured the toughest years of their young lives.  It was then I learned that not everyone has the same mindset I did when it came to matters of the heart.  I was fortunate to go to a high school that was not only big in student body, but largely accepting.  No one really cared who was gay and who wasn't, and anyone who dared attack my friends or any other person identifying as LGBTQ+ was put in their place. 

Reality struck me hard one day when walking with one of these friends to the bus.  We were chatting about teenage things and all that (most likely how awful this new "scene" trend was and how Myspace will live forever) when we both heard the squealing of tires on pavement.  We both turned and saw an object hurtling towards us from a car window, hitting my friend in the shoulder and splattering us both with some kind of unknown content.  "F*G!" they shouted, speeding off across the parking lot and laughing.  It turned out, the idiots in that car threw a cup of urine at my friend, which we both realized rather quickly from the smell.  I don't think I'll ever forget the look on his face.  It wasn't anger.  It wasn't sadness.  It was nothing.  I never thought someone could convey nothingness in a single look, but he did it, and it tore me up inside.  Because here I saw this amazing, caring, and creative friend who loved to sing, draw, and braid my hair, and he was demonized for daring to love a little differently.  And it was in that moment I realized that there was nothing as a friend that I could do to help him.  I could always be there as a friend, to listen, to let him cry on my shoulder, to hear him scream and yell and throw things, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to take that hatred and bigotry other people would throw at him away.  That realization was one of the hardest pills I've ever had to swallow in my entire life.

I won't lie, the #gayisOK campaign made me nervous.  Mainly because it was the first majorly political campaign and controversial topic that my store has taken place in since opening last year.  And while I grew up in a fairly liberal town with fairly socially liberal parents, the town I live in currently isn't that open minded.  But upon the start of this campaign, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many people in this red colored state of mine were quite open to the idea, mainly the younger generation.  It warmed my heart to see them snagging the big "selfie" bar of soap and snapping away on their phones, and it made me even happier to see older generations coming in and praising our campaign for daring to have a say in the matter.

Love Soap is scented with Lush's Love Perfume, a beautifully spicy candy apple cinnamon scent that will lift you up when you're feeling down.  The top is imprinted with a glittery hashtag, the perfect accessory to ANY Instagram photo, and best of all, all proceeds go to an organization entitled All Out, a grassroots charity fighting for LGBT rights worldwide.  Love Soap is scented with my all time favorite fragrance, and finding this out only made me want to buy more of it!  When using it, I was surprised that the glitter didn't wash off as easily as I thought it would, leaving me with fabulously glittery palms (which I don't mind...glitter is awesome!).  The scent, which is the same as my favorite bath bomb Fizzbanger, lingered quite strongly on my skin and perfumed my apartment quite nicely!  My skin was also quite soft after using it, not dry and tight like a lot of bar soaps leave my skin.  Overall a fantastic bar of soap that helps an even more fantastic cause!

While I suppose this wasn't too much of a review for a Lush product, I just felt that I needed to write all of this just to put it out there, and to tell my story from a bystander point of view.  I will never know the struggle or the oppression and discrimination felt by the LGBT community, and I won't pretend to.  But I've witnessed a lot of it from my beloved friends.  And from what I've witnessed, I feel I've felt maybe a shred of what they've ever had thrown their way.  But with the SCOTUS ruling here in the U.S, I feel as though the tides are turning.  With the positive feedback from my shop, the legalization of marriage equality in my country and many others, it restores my faith in humanity and shows that people can change and do some good.  There will always be bigots and there will always be homophobes, but out of all of that bad, there is good.  In those quiet moments where we feel we're losing our sanity, that is the light to hold onto. 

So to my LGBT followers, customers, family and friends, I just wanted to say you are loved.  You are SO loved you have no idea.  The fact that you have been given this beautiful gift to love whom you choose just shows how big of a heart you have, how good you are and how beautiful you are as a person.  I can't take away the hatred.  I can't take away the bigotry.  But I can and will always be here, and in my heart, you will always be loved, you will always be accepted.  You are beautiful, you are human, and it is ok to be you!

Everybody say LOVE!

Thanks for reading! <3 br="">

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