Streep on Trump, a freak?

Posted on 24th January 2017.


When you do a search on Google, asking it to show you images of freaks, you will see a wide range of pictures, showing people with physical differences from the majority of others in mainstream society. Some may call these differences abnormalities, whereas others see a beautiful piece of creation.

Many of these people pictured in Googles top freaks hits have been born with their uniqueness, their differences, their abnormalities. Whether beauty or defect it is certain that they would have had a difficult life, even ridiculed for their appearance. In a world of physical perfection, where nothing seems acceptable, other than a fat free body, toned to precision – society defines people, who are physically shaped dissimilar to us, as freaks.

Others in the Google freak hit list have chosen to turn their own bodies into physical expressions of their inner character – which again is very different from the majority of other people. Whether a desire to be different, or a hope for acceptance, only these people know the reasons for changing their bodies, but yet again the word used to categorise them on Google is ‘freak’

And then there’s a picture of Donald Trump with a guinea pig on his head!

So is it the photoshop guinea pig which constitutes the president-elect to be categorised as a freak or another reason?

Interestingly though, recently at the Golden Globes ceremony, Donald Trump was scorned at by Meryl Streep for imitating a disabled reporter. In her acceptance speech for being given the Cecil B DeMille Award, she shared her feelings of ‘heart-break’ as she watched Trump reproduce physical responses of a man inflicted with arthrogryposis, which visibly limits the functioning of his joints.

Meryl Streep said:

“There was one performance this year that stunned me,” she said. “It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective, and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.

It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”[1]

There are many reasons why people mock those who are different from themselves. It could be for their entertainment or to improve their own self-worth through making others laugh. It could be out of fear, being afraid that the physical difference is infectious or will have a negative effect on them. Whatever the reasons are, the reality is that as humans, we all struggle with difference, whether physical or otherwise, and our responses are not always helpful and can easily cause distress and conflict.

Now, consider the people who work in your team and how different they are to each other – the colour of their skin, the language or dialect that they speak, their age, gender or sexuality. Some have altered their original birth bodies with piercings, hair colours/styles, tattoos or surgery. Others may have had no choice about the external or internal changes that make them different. And now consider their characters, their experiences, their souls. How different are these people from each other in how they look, think and feel? Would these be categorised as freaks?

Even more so, how different do they approach, deal with, run away from or overcome problems in their own lives and in the workplace?

People are fragile, complex beings. How we act and behave can delight one person whilst offending another. Donald Trump made some laugh with his actions and words, but broke others’ hearts.

So how do we work with this complexity and array of challenges and issues? Developing strong team of people with difference is an incredibly difficult and long term process. It requires a strategic approach to understanding the function and purpose of the team and what specific roles are needed to be fulfilled within it. Recruiting the right people is had enough, retaining them and sustaining their passion and desire is amazingly difficult.

As we plan our team strategy we need to consider whether we have an open mind and a willingness to accept difference as part of life? If we do, which is a great starting point, then we have to prepare ourselves for the inevitable conflict and difficulties that will surface, even explode, when we bring people together. It’s not only the leaders who need to be prepared, it’s every individual within the team too – remembering that the same person can delight one person whilst hurting another at the same time.

We are all different, and whether by choice or design we can all qualify for Google’s freak list.

Freax Adventures are a specialist Team Building company that understands people and enables difference to improve and strengthen the team. We create bespoke scenarios to meet your desired needs and outcomes.

For more information get in touch with us.