Learn not to judge

Ruby Rose is taking over—she debuted on this most recent season of Orange Is the New Black as Stella. Really, if you haven’t watched this season, you’re missing out. She was flawless, and the episodes are just getting better and better. But I’m not here to review this season of the show. I want to talk more about Ruby Rose.

In a recent interview, Rose discussed how growing up with long blond hair and girlish looks meant she was always told how pretty she was. Then she turned 15 and decided to break free of that feminine norm by cutting off her hair. She started getting bullied by boys who claimed they would never hit a girl, but also told her she wasn’t a girl.

Although Rose has grown to embrace her gender fluidity, the bullying she—and anyone else who has dared break a norm—has gone through should be addressed.

We live in an increasingly progressive world, and while many embrace it, there are also those afraid of change. Or at least I like to think the reason they lash out and say such harsh things is because they’re afraid, because then I can be comforted by the fact that one day they can overcome their fears and learn from their mistakes. It doesn’t seem so bad if they’re simply scared, because that means we can explain it. Like explaining to a child that there’s no monster in the closet, we can help them see how their fear is all in their head.

That being said, doesn’t it seem foolish that, no matter how many important events are going on in the world today, we still put so much focus on what individuals look like? We put so much importance on each other’s outward appearances that we often forget to remember we are all human beings, we all have our personalities and we all have feelings.

And while many of us like to think bullying is something that happens in high school and stays in high school, that isn’t the case. In fact, we should be trying to resolve the fact that bullying happens at all, rather than just expecting it to occur. In this day and age, with the technology we have, bullying happens with the click of a button. Whether it’s commenting on someone’s profile picture and telling them they’re ugly, or hacking into someone’s account, bullying happens to everyone. Our ages don’t save us.

I’ve repeated this idea in past pieces I’ve written, but I’ll say it again: We are all human and we are all beautiful. To throw your hatred on someone because they don’t fit your idea of what they should look like is an insult—not just to the individual, but to everyone. No one should be forced to fit inside this box of gender-normative fashion with stereotypical hair and looks. We live in a creative world—we shouldn’t subject ourselves to fitting into one small box.

What we should be is kind to one another.