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The idea of being an activist has been reduced down to simple posts and reposts

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The idea of being an activist has been reduced down to simple posts and reposts

Women’s rights.

The Earth is dying, and no one cares.

Pick flowers, not fights.

Every teenage girls’ VSCO feed is littered with these types of saying, republishing and posting them all so often that they’ve become meaningless. When did it become “cool” to be an activist? Or, better yet, when did being an “activist” become so mainstream, only to be executed through saying the right words and reposting the right pictures on VSCO? When did caring about world events, politics, and human rights become a scheme for extracting likes from followers?

Once upon a time, veering out of the social norm of ignorance and being outspoken meant something. Back then, if you wanted to fight for those types of rights, you’d have to first face the shunning and the dirty looks from those around you, sticking to your beliefs despite the consequences and social push back you received. I am most definitely not saying that I’d like to return to a world like that; but through social media, we’ve determined a new definition of “cool,” something which has unfortunately led to desensitization. Real issues and world topics have been reduced down to a repost on someone’s VSCO.

By posting or paying attention to pictures like that, it’s giving more thought to the picture itself and not to the topic itself. There is no true action involved in VSCO; simply put, it is to plainly show the world that people care in some small way. It’s educating people on the shallowest level to keep them vaguely updated with the world happenings; but despite this minor education, people are no longer understanding or knowledgable about what they’re supposedly advocating for.

Because of people’s newfound inability to wholeheartedly commit and fight for certain topics, even the actions themselves have lost their meaning. So many movements and events that march for current world issues have been deteriorated into empty actions, completely lacking their humanity and heartfelt emotion, as more people join them to perfect their online image, to follow the trend, or even to feel accomplished. How did events with such importance fall to such lows and lose their integrity?

While it’s easy to point the finger at other people or VSCO users, I’m definitely guilty, too. However, it reached a point where my feed was completely filled up on sayings that were “edgy” and “relevant,” cheapening the once-sincere sentiment someone had tried to get across. Realizing that, when I looked at people’s social media profiles, they were mostly accented with insincere postings about world issues. There, I found that, more than anything, these posts, pictures, and sayings are only fragments pieced together to build people’s facades.

While it may be the case that not everyone who posts catchy, relevant phrases is insincere, it does bring a question to mind: why is your passion only being captured online and not in real life? What would it take for our society to take issues more seriously and to put action to empty words? If you have a passion for human rights, politics, world issues, the environment, or anything else like that, use your gifts to show people the truth and disrupt the status quo.

The world’s deepest scars and areas of brokenness deserve more than an apathetic post or even knowing the right words to say.

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About the Writer
Susannah Bennett, Editor in Chief

Susannah is a senior who is going into her third year writing for The Central Trend. Despite this being her last year in high school and on staff, she...

2 Comments

2 Responses to “The idea of being an activist has been reduced down to simple posts and reposts”

  1. Alec on February 14th, 2019 10:19 pm

    Thank you so much for calling out this truly toxic aspect of social media/current pop culture, it’s a serious detriment to movements that aim to achieve social justice. Folks who virtue signal (the ‘official’ term for this phenomenon, as it is) this way aren’t helping anyone – they’re simply posing as humanitarians in order to cultivate on online ‘image’ of pseudo-sainthood. This isn’t to say that these folks are bad people in any sense, but rather that our generation’s apt fixation upon social media/the internet has led us to conflate the online and the real; we’ve gotten to the point where our own online culture has duped many of us into believing that solidarity only goes as far as posing for a photo at a BLM march downtown, or sporting a pin/shirt/etc for passive ‘support’. If young folks (or anyone, for that matter) truly want to participate in social justice movements, action is key: mobilizing with others and self-education, distribution of information, and physical protests. This is a wonderful piece, and truly encapsulates these ideas without sounding nearly as preachy as I do! Great work!

  2. Claire on February 16th, 2019 12:05 am

    I was just thinking of this same thing the other day as I was scrolling through VSCO! Very well said this is soooo good Susannah

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The idea of being an activist has been reduced down to simple posts and reposts