In recent months social media has been flooded with images tagged #softlife. These images show primarily people of colour enjoying and celebrating moments in their lives that bring them joy. Moments such as taking a self-care day, travelling or even brunch with friends. It highlights the basic human right of a life that is deserving of ease and pleasantness. Indirectly questioning the historic systemic narrative that the life of a person of colour has to be hard in order to be of value and to be fulfilling. We see this rallying cry for a soft life advocated particularly by millennials and Gen Zs, who have witnessed their parents work extremely hard just to afford them a good-quality life.
As a result, the #softlife is becoming a silent social protest by this generation. It highlights that we are all deserving of a life of ease and comfort. Also described in the urban dictionary; the soft life is a life of ease without requiring hard work, sacrifice, and unpleasantness. It is important to understand that this social movement is less about wealth and more about fair access to a standardised good quality of living.
For example, on twitter there was a thought-provoking conversation about systemic racism within the insurance and banking industry, specifically questioning their risk assessment measures. This conversation highlighted the reality that people of colour, when buying a car for example, will always be on the back foot financially as they are on average quoted higher for new car insurance premiums. And yes, the argument can be made that risk assessment measures are complex and take a lot of variables into consideration, but we need to fairly question the systems these risk assessment measures were designed under. We need to ask ourselves:
How fair is this assessment measure to people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds?
We need to question this because the barriers that dictate that people of colour have to work harder to enjoy the benefits of a soft life are inherently woven in the modelling of systems that were made to exclude them.
This is a very complex yet crucial conversation as it indicates the need for industries to re-evaluate how progressive their product and service offering are. Ensuring that people are not excluded financially and socially from the benefits of good quality products and services because of their race or where they come from.
As we are all deserving of fair access to a soft life.