It’s one of Hollywood’s most shocking moments. Right up there with Britney shaving her tresses, once again the spotlight was on baldness. And while I can’t commend Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock – because violence isn’t the answer and frankly Will, you should know better – his actions did have a positive impact for alopecians.
Because thanks to that infamous Oscars moment, more people want to know what alopecia is. They realise it’s quite common – then they learn ways to support those with hair loss.
It’s called the Will Smith Slap Effect.
Maybe you missed the moment when Will Smith decided to practise his backhand, waaay beyond his role in a tennis movie. So here’s a quick recap:
Advert alert: For my own lovely headscarf brand!
Well, that almost-slap received far more attention than the Oscar winners themselves. People were divided across social media into Team Will (“he’s just standing up for his wife!”), Team Jada (“she can defend herself!”) and team Chris (“he was just doing his job!”).
As a fellow alopecian, I’m Team Jada all the way. OK, Will wanted to defend the person he loves, but he handled it SO badly. And sure, comedians make jokes – so if alopecians want to be seen as ‘regular’, we’re open to being picked on, too.
But come on, you guys! It just felt like such a personal attack. It wasn’t about her outfit choice or behaviour but a condition she can’t help. And she shouldn’t have been the subject of the teasing anyway; Chris Rock broke the rules by going after the wife of a nominee and not the nominee himself!
Anyway, this post isn’t about spousal loyalty or hosting etiquette. It’s about how such a scandalous event can have a positive impact – by making people more aware.
Of course, I don’t mean that people who read about the slap started losing their hair – imagine that! No, while stress is a major cause of alopecia, there’s a lot more to it. What it did was get people talking about hair loss. Sharing their own stories in the face of bullies and negativity. Supporting each other or even – and this is pretty powerful – simply recognising that it’s not easy to be a bald lady (or man) in this world.
According to this report from Murray Dare marketing in the UK:
It doesn’t take a mathematician to deduce that people became A LOT more aware of alopecia after the Oscars – whether actively searching for it or picking up media tidbits.
And that can only be a good thing. Knowledge is power, and the more we learn about a condition, the more we can do about it. Not that conversation can cure hair loss – but we CAN alleviate the mental stress an alopecian might go through from feeling like they’re all alone, or that no one understands.
After the Oscars, millions of people worldwide came together online to talk about and educate themselves on alopecia. So that slap had a powerful aftershock – in a good way.
Fortunately, some top celebrities are championing this very thing. Not to mention the regular folk like you and me on Instagram rocking their patches and acting as real-life alopecia ambassadors.
After the Oscars, the media acted like alopecia had been unheard of before. Which isn’t true. The conversation has been going on for a loooong time, you guys – but it’s just gotten a lot more mainstream. And in this context, at least, I’m ALL about going mainstream!
Now I wanna hear from you:
As I’ve seen countless times in my 24 years as an alopecian, and am reminded of by events just like these, sharing really is caring. So share your stories and experiences in the comments below. Go out and tell just one person how your bald patches make you feel. Tell someone you know who’s struggling with alopecia how amazing they are. (If they don’t believe you, tell them again.)
Let’s continue shining the spotlight on alopecia!
Get free, semi-regular alopecia news and musings.
Psst… If no welcome email shows up, check your spam.
Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!
Join the gang and receive semi-regular news and joy from someone with very irregular hair.