LIFESTYLE

Comfort is a Privilege

Hey fam! It’s your girl Jane here! I’ve recently shared my thoughts with you on self-care, travel and sensitive skin, but today is a special day because I want to talk about something personal and very real for me (and hopefully for you as well). I’ve thought about writing this story every.single.damn.day for the past 2 months but it’s been really hard finding the right words to express my thoughts…

These days, I’ve been asking a lot of questions about my place within the fashion and beauty world. Those of us hustling in the industry for the latest and greatest often ask ourselves what more we could be doing to help each other out? And beyond the people, the brands and the communities we choose to partner with, what is our larger responsibility as human beings?

The word “woke” gets tossed around a lot these days and I want to be careful about my phrasing here given my position at The Chriselle Factor. I am not an activist. I have not devoted my life to the voiceless. But what I do know is that I can 100% be a feminist and raise up my community while still loving beauty and fashion. These roles are not mutually exclusive; our existence is, by its nature, political. And so… I find myself asking this question daily: what more can I do?

A little background… I wasn’t ever really “into politics.” In high school, I was on the volleyball team, part of the journalism program, and actually hated any situation that led to a debate (translation: I had a deep fear of arguing and would avoid conflict at all costs). I grew up in a sheltered environment so life was pretty good (or so I thought). After high school, I moved to Newport Beach, which was great but it didn’t have much diversity if you read between the lines. I then attended UCI where I received a BA in Women’s Studies and became a proud feminist. (A mini shout out/deeply indebted THANK YOU to the women who came before me and all the strong women in my life right now — you know who you are. More on that later.) I eventually made it to LA, my home for 10 years now.

I remember the first time racism was significant and personal to me. I was 16, visiting Chicago for the very first time with my best friend. I vividly recall the guy on the shuttle who angrily asked me, “What are you looking at, Fook Me?” I was so shocked by his statement I couldn’t speak (The Jane you know now would have clapped back, don’t you worry.) I’ll never forget that moment. How could he call me that when he didn’t know anything about me? It was isolating, I felt powerless, and it was wrong.

I’ve experienced racism many times since then but that’s not why I’m writing this; my larger point is that there are so many people out there who experience this shit on the daily, those who are in far worse situations of injustice and inequality, those who risk their lives, and those who have lost everything in the process. And so I ask that question again, what more can I do? As a minority… as a woman… as a proud child of an immigrant family, what more can I do?

For one, I’m trying to actively gain more information. Agendas are getting pushed by policymakers and things are happening in our neighborhoods/work places/homes, and many of these things are creating divides in our communities. I’m trying to avoid jumping to conclusions as I look into things with more care and compassion. I’m trying to diversify my news outlets and seek out more underrepresented people/organizations when I have questions or lack knowledge about complex issues. Following activists, minorities and movements that empower marginalized groups has helped me keep an open mind and positively challenged my principals. Most of all, I’m trying to question authority and find out the truth for myself.

Another thing I’m working on: daily deeds and actions. Supporting a coworker. Volunteering once a month in DTLA — I recently handed out bags full of clothing, toiletries and food to the homeless with my friend Christine who runs We Are Lightwork. Standing up for equal pay. Being part of a “woke” group chat and keeping each other in check. I’m certain that “looking out for myself” is not enough so I’m working to love myself and love the people around me just as much. Women are stronger when we stand together.

It’s important to note that I’m a constant work in progress (we all are) and you know what? I’m OK with that. I don’t make it to every march or donate to every charity, but I give what I have when I can and I ask more questions now about my involvement and time. I think you can too: Are you maximizing your rights? Are you doing as much as you can to speak up for people who don’t have a voice? If you have a platform, are you using it to build people up rather than break them down? Are you showing up for things that matter or are you staying neutral because Desmond Tutu said it best: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Uncomfortable conversations (or 10) are necessary. This can be difficult, but you’ll feel 100% better knowing that you’re challenging current power structures while striving for greater inclusion and equality. In the current political climate, I know a lot of us look to be “right” but we should look for what’s just. Many, many times I’ve been in one of these uncomfortable conversations and a heated debate opens up my eyes to a new perspective or a more nuanced understanding of intersectionality.

Bottom line, and what I know now more than ever, my parents did not leave their families in South Korea and raise me in the United States so that I would stand down during moments of injustice and be someone’s “model minority.” So, I’ve made the decision to show up and speak up for things that matter to me.

Whether you’re not politically active, or looking to become more active, I encourage you to put your voices into action as well. It’s all about baby steps! Pursue things that matter, especially if you’re a woman! Here are some additional things that I’ve been doing:

Marching/protesting for things I care about. I attended the Women’s March to thank all the women who paved the path for me to have a voice.

+ Donating to local shelters. Give/recycle your clothes, shoes, unused makeup, etc. Anything helps those in need and a little goes a really long way. The CINCteam and I donate to the Children’s Law Center of California where women who are trying to get back on their feet can pick a few free items (clothes and makeup included).

+ Helping other people (especially women) when I can with career advice/feedback. Using my knowledge in my field to build up others and help them when possible. Sometimes even meeting someone for coffee opens doors for them. We’re here to lift each other up, not compete with each other.

+ Reading and challenging myself. I’m a huge fan of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cleo Wade, NPR, TED Talks…just to name a few.

+ If someone targets an underrepresented individual/group, check them. Let them know that it’s not OK to use that type of rhetoric.

+ Supporting local and minority-run businesses. Try to read and educate yourself on the things that drive consumer patterns, know where things are made, and be aware of brands that profit from hijacking the work or culture of others.

+ Understanding that people use their platforms in different ways. Don’t be overly critical of individuals who have approaches that don’t mirror your own. As much as speaking up for something is important, listening is also equally important and the foundation for greater empathy.

An extra special shout out to my friends at KOI for hooking us up with some great, powerful merch with a purpose! You’ve taught me that anything is possible and am so grateful to be surrounded by such an amazing and diverse group of friends. Keep thriving! 

That’s all! Thanks for reading this piece (I know it can be a sensitive one) and if you have any suggestions on how I can become more active as well, @ me below! Would love to hear from you.

x Jane

TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS!

33 Comments
  • Payel Gupta says:

    Beautiful post. So happy to call you a friend. This piece is perfect. 💛💛💛💛🙏🏽

  • Ava says:

    Thank you for this. The piece is straight perspective.

  • Jennifer says:

    So thought provoking. Thank you for sharing your perspective <3

  • What a gorgeous, gorgeous post. You’re beautiful! Keep writing.

  • Jay says:

    I appreciate this. Honestly as an avid CF reader, I’ve felt hurt that from what I’ve seen on social media, when the massacre at Parkland happened, people rightfully marched, made posts, and called for an end to gun violence, Chriselle included. However all this time, for every unarmed Black person who is gunned down by police, or choked, or… , the CINC team has made little to no mention of it. I say little to no because I have honestly never seen a single mention in support of Black lives from this platform. I was looking for it, like “are they going to say anything?”. It’s not your job to do so, but as a Black girl and avid reader, it hurts that it seems like it took what happened in Parkland for people in mainstream media to become vocal about this issue, when our community has been calling for it all along. I’m so, SO happy to see you folks talking about equal pay for equal work, and about supporting minority owned businesses. Happy to finally see some of these convos happening where I can see, and curious to know your thoughts. #SpeakingOfUncomfortableConversations

  • Connie says:

    Thoughtful, meaningful and extremely relevant. Personal stories are always the best. It shows your true colors and helps us to not feel isolated and awkward. 🙏🏽 Jane for sharing and taking a standing. Enough silent self serving cowards around. 💗🤝👏🏽💕🇩🇪

  • Maria says:

    Hi, thank you so much for this post. I came here when I was a child and I am currently a DACA recipient. Growing up I never truly felt different until all of my friends got their driver’s license and I couldn’t, and then when I went to college I had to pay out of pocket because I couldn’t take out loans. Now I’m doing my Master’s. I have a year left, but I need cosigners to take out loans. I’ve never felt so out of place. The beginning of every semester is a struggle because I don’t know who will agree to co-sign. There are times when I feel like I don’t belong here nor in the country I was born. Sorry about my rant. I felt like this is a safe place to let it all out. Keep up the great work and please keep me in your prayers so I can complete my Master’s. 🙂

  • Elizabeth T. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, Jane! I’m also from an immigrant family, and I can relate to everything in this article! It’s really important, in time like the present, to be more politically aware, and just like you, I used to avoid confrontation. But now, I’m actively trying to be more aware and to make a difference when I can! Thank you for sharing all of these ways we can make a difference and help in our community too!

    XO, Elizabeth (a fellow Anteater) <3
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • Zumreta says:

    I’m sooooo happy you wrote AND shared this post! The conversations are so necessary and you’re doing amazing by actively making positive contributions to this world of ours! A great example to have as a fellow immigrant 🙂

  • Kathrin says:

    Such a great post! Inspiring and real!

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

  • Alyssa says:

    YES! Thank you so much for using your voice to say such words! As a daughter of immigrants from the Philippines I strongly resonated with your experiences Jane. We may thing our voices don’t mean anything but even the smallest actuon can make all the difference. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Phua says:

    Thank you for using your position with the TCF to bring light to an issue that isn’t always talked about in fashion and beauty. I appreciate reading this very much!

  • Drew Scott says:

    Wow, this post is amazing Jane!

  • Obi01 says:

    Great piece sister! So very proud of you…🙌

  • Ellie says:

    YESSS! It is so important to understand where everyone comes from! So glad you have written about this

    http://www.petiteelliee.com

    Ellie xx

  • Julia Silver says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been a long time reader, but you really hit home with this one. Killin it, girl

  • Tabitha says:

    Great post! It brings me joy to help others and stand up for something far greater than our own needs. I work for a business run by all women and first generation immigrants, and it’s so eye opening to hear their stories and trials. This day and age we shouldn’t have to deal with these issues, but I’m thankful for the strong team of people still encouraging and pushing forward.

    Tabitha
    https://shopsiloe.com/

  • Mireia says:

    Absolutely love it!

    Mireia from TGL
    https://thegoldlipstick.com/

  • Irene Roberts says:

    Very well written. Beautiful sentiments. I hope we all carry your words into our future actions. I am also a child of an immigrant.
    Also, be wary of false prophets, the devil wears many faces. Desmond Tutu also said that the Holocaust never happened. He is a well known Anti-Semitic.

  • PROUD child of an immigrant family JUDY says:

    Inspired. This post is spot on Jane and so relevant for the environment we are living right now. “Women ARE stronger when we stand together”!!

  • Idalia says:

    Phenomenal piece my friend! Refreshing, real, and YOU! Literally wrote down notes as I was reading.
    Bravo Bravo!

  • Nikki says:

    Loved this piece!

    Love,
    Nikki
    http://www.runwaytoroad.com

  • Royce Park says:

    a snack in story form.

  • BJ says:

    Excellent post.

    Another way to help is to work as a volunteer in the campaign of a candidate running for office who will bring about change that helps people.

  • Boss Bambi says:

    Best write up yet! Your passion came through so eloquently with a little bit of your flavor and clapping back!
    You guys are all doing great things and can’t wait to see what else you guys will do.

  • Jenstar says:

    Thanks for this post Jane and TCF fam!

  • I don’t know how it is possible we are dealing with this kind of problems in our society at this moment even for all we had been through. Great post and fantastic reflection. I’m totally with you!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://mylovelypeople.com/2018/05/08/high-waist-pants-are-my-go-to-for-every-activity/#more-718

  • Wendy says:

    Yes, prejudice is everywhere: Old/young, Special NeedsPeople/”Normal”, Beautiful/Plain, Intelligent/unlearned, and those are the hidden ones…
    But there are loads more!
    When are we going to learn to LOVE each other, encourage, respect each others differences and grow from diversity?

  • […] I’ve thought about writing this story every.single.damn.day for the past 2 months but it’s been really hard finding the right words to express my thoughts… from The Chriselle Factorhttp://thechrisellefactor.com/2018/05/comfort-is-a-privilege/ […]

  • Jae says:

    Understanding how everyone comes from a different background is so important. I am glad that you pointed out the fact that uncomfortable conversations are necessary. It is so important to keep those conversations going so that people become aware of issues like racism. Great post!
    Jae
    http://www.allthatjae.com

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