Nearly a week on from the Eurovision finals for 2018 with an interesting song winning for Israel something stood out to me. Nothing about the song, or the chicken noises of Netta or her crazy eyes as she performs.
Instead the thing that stood out to me was part of her winners speak. Netta thanked the audience saying:
“Thank you for choosing different”– Netta, Eurovision Final
This, to be honest, intrigued me. For anyone who knows Eurovision enough will realise that there are normally a number of different acts, some don’t make it through the semi-finals and others go and win it! Lordi with Hard Rock Hallelujah are the excellent example.
Netta also said she loves diversity, again, this is interesting. As things go, Eurovision is certainly one of the more liberal events which happens around the world. So, what does choosing different really mean?
In interviews Netta explains how her size has impacted the way people have interacted with her and how she is different to the norm. Her song written was supposedly influenced by the #MeToo campaign which is no bad thing. What I would like to challenge however, is the need to celebrate differences in a way which places a person’s identity in that difference.
For example, if I were to be extreme, defining Netta’s difference as her weight (which she alludes to in interviews) then becomes her defining feature. Another example is my hair growing curly with sideburns which is not the most common of looks at the moment, at what point do I allow this to start defining me?
I think it is right and proper not to discriminate against people for their differences but as soon as we start to celebrate diversity and differences then we begin to shape people’s identity as the way they are not like us and not making the common ground we have with that person as their identity. And lets face it. We all were born, we all live and we all will die. What more do we need to focus on? We have different shapes and sizes, different voices, ideas and ways of thinking but we are all human. To choose different seems to suggest that some people are more human than others or that some people are not human at all.
If we truly love diversity, we will not focus on how we are different. We will focus on how we are the same. That we have blood beating in our veins and desire to know others and to be known.