Slap at the Oscars: alopecia is not funny

Gifle aux Oscars: l&rsquo ;alopecia, it’s not funny” /></p>
<p> Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia. </p>
<p>American actor Will Smith has created quite a stir when he punched Chris Rock following a joke targeting the appearance of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia. For those who still don't know, here's what it's all about and why no one should laugh about it.  </p>
<p>Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, like type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis, causing the loss of hair or body hair from different places on the body. It can also cause itchy or gouged nails. </p>
<p>According to the Scientific Research Director of <strong> </strong>the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation (CANAAF), each person has a 2% risk of developing the disease once in their lifetime, regardless of age, gender or ethnic origin. </p>
<p >And hair loss can be irreversible, especially if the condition is not treated quickly and the root is affected. </p>
<p>“We know that genetics plays an important role,” says Anthony Gilding. In alopecia, hair follicles are attacked by the immune system as if they were foreign pathogens. It causes inflammation and that's what causes hair to fall out.” </p>
<p><img class=

Anthony Gilding

Because the problem with alopecia is that we don't know what triggers it, or why it develops.  

“It's so complex, and there aren't enough studies to understand,” explains Audrey Roy-Dorval, immunologist, microbiologist and French-speaking representative for the organization. 

Several types alopecia exist depending on the area of ​​the body affected. The disease can affect the head, the whole body or only the scalp. 

There is no cure to date. However, medications and treatments exist to mitigate its effects. 

Alopecia also brings its share of psychological problems, largely due to beauty standards. 

“When women are portrayed bald on TV, it's because they have cancer. So women who have alopecia are approached on the street and told: “do you have cancer, that’s ok, I had that too”. It makes you feel very low, even bad: it's as if your emotions are less,” underlines Ms. Roy-Dorval, herself suffering from the disease. 

Same thing for men.  

“Men are often told that it's okay, that they have to deal with their problems,” Gilding said. But the reality is that it is very difficult to manage. They [also] feel a lot of anxiety, shame and even depression.”

Gifle aux Oscars: l’alopé cie, it’s not funny” /></p>
<p>Audrey Roy-Dorval </p>
<p>Losing your hair is much more than having a pimple on your forehead. It’s not just superficial, it can affect self-esteem. </p>
<p>So that is why Mr. Gilding and Ms. Roy-Dorval understand the anger behind Smith's slap at the Oscars, though they condemn the violence associated with the gesture.</p>
<p>The joke left a very bitter taste in Mr. Gilding, also suffering from alopecia. </p>
<p>“It upset me,” he says. I was laughed at when I was in high school and it brought me back to that time of isolation and pain.” </p>
<h3><strong>In summary </strong> </h3>
<p>Ms. Roy-Duval hopes that alopecia will be discussed more in the media to prevent this kind of (big) discomfort. </p>
<p>“The fact that we talk about it more and that it is better represented means that there will be more openness and knowledge around this disease”, she summarizes. </p>
<p>Of course, this also applies to everyday life. We have to show empathy and not reduce the alopecia of our loved ones who have it to a simple prank, explains Mr. Gilding. </p>
<p>“Everyone manages their alopecia differently: some want to talk about it openly and others don't at all. The strategy is to support them and have a conversation about their personal limits,” he concludes. </p>
<p>No need for violence, just a little kindness. </p>

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