It’s not enough to believe in social justice and proclaim yourself to be a fighter for important causes, real work must be done to stimulate change in a world that consistently marginalizes minorities through systematic oppression.
Recently I saw an Instagram post that stated, “if you’re against rape you should re-post this, I’m un-following everyone who doesn’t.” A good statement that should be taught, but what is problematic about just re-posting does nothing to fight ever prevalent rape culture. Sure, it boosts the number of people who may agree with this line of thinking, but that is where the post influence stops. An Instagram post of this caliber doesn’t send people to rallies or protest, it doesn’t get people to vote on the issue, and it surely doesn’t stop rapists.
It’s important to spread awareness of different forms of systemic oppression, it’s the first step in unraveling the issue, but without direction, social media posts just emboldens people to have arguments online effectively stagnating the progress to a better society. This is one of the many short comings of internet campaigns.
The latter half of the post is a step in the right direction for encouraging people to act. Deleting toxic people from your Instagram feed helps to exclude the people who are harmful to a conversation that strives to delete rape culture from our lives. Similarly, in Hollywood, an industry plagued by sexism, where many men have been accused of sexual assault.
Many marginal issues can’t be solved overnight or through one post on a social media account, but through efforts of a few good people, the world could progress to a better place. However, it can’t be denied that social media plays an important role in the organization of many social movements and helps to harbor a global correspondence between supporters of a cause all around the globe.
Despite its shortcomings, social media is a valuable component of contemporary political movements that are spearheaded by groups such as Black Lives Matter, National Organization for Women, etc.
Posting to a social media account in support of a cause is harmless, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s helpful either. Actions for better change should follow your post about change. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a radical action, like going to protest for days, but donations to an awareness group, voting on the issues that matter to you, or getting involved in your community (joining clubs) are all modest beginnings to help dismantle systems of oppression.