Social Media Shapes The Standards Of Modern Political Involvement

Social Media Shapes The Standards Of Modern Political Involvement

"How can one be truly politically informed if their only exposure to politics exists virtually?"

It is no longer a surprise to see self-proclaimed political enthusiasts—particularly those born in the new millennium—voicing their views on current issues over social media. Gone are the days when young adults would spend hours standing at street corners as they shout into megaphones to encourage resistance against governmental regulation.

While protests are undoubtedly as present as they always have been, it appears most prefer to sit and rant behind the screens of their smartphones, tablets, and computers. What little is achieved by this, one can only guess. How can one be truly politically informed if their only exposure to politics exists virtually? Without external involvement, there is no way to ensure the truth of what is published online.

There was once a time when movements strictly required supporters to attend in-person meetings and participate in events. Nowadays, petitions are signed online preventing individuals the opportunities to question petitioners about their initiatives. Of course, there are many clean-cut 'helpful' videos provided for those on the fence. However, society proves consistently guilty of belittling the basic human need for face-to-face communication such as, the opportunity to watch a petitioner's face falter when being questioned from a certain angle giving way to their doubts in the very cause they supposedly support.

The gradual fall of modern political involvement dates back to the early 90s, a time in which community service programs sprouted nationwide that required high school students to complete approximately 40-60 hours of volunteer work in order to graduate.

As with anything, once something becomes required, it tends to no longer be considered enjoyable. For example, academic institutions are notorious for their tedious reading assignments causing many former booklovers to burnout thus leading them to detest the idea of reading for leisure much less cracking open a textbook.

With this, it is not the government's responsibility to influence the interests of our youth. A teenager aspiring to become a veterinarian will certainly relish volunteering at their local humane society by viewing it as getting their foot in the door of the career they strive to obtain rather than shoveling animal feces every day in order to resentfully satisfy a high school requirement.

Perception has been proven to be the leading motivational factor in young adults. By requiring them to partake in community service, we rob them of their right to freedom of choice. Those with ambition will naturally act upon it of their own accord. Depriving them of this privilege may result in a lack of appetite for furthered participation in social concerns that once interested them.

At best, most of our youth are now lead to perform as virtual activists from afar rather than offer in-person contributions to a noble cause. If we seek change within society and the way our government is run, we must act upon it, become qualified, and use our platforms for the greater good. A legislator will not seriously take into consideration the views expressed in a sixteen-year-old's ill-informed outburst on social media. So why not become the legislator?

Cover Image Credit: The Woven Blog

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Dear 'Feminists,' Stop Degrading Melania Trump

If you truly believe in supporting other women, then support all women.

Every so-called “feminist” lashes out, and tears down the Trump women every chance they get. From criticizing Melania for her choice of shoes to critiquing her parenting style, women seemly have disowned the Trumps. Why? Because they don’t agree with them.

People, mainly left-wing feminists, exclude Republican women. Women should always support other women unless it is a Republican woman. Republican women are seen as “brainwashed,” privileged, out of touch, ignorant and even anti-women. When in reality, we Republican women just have different opinions and different morals.

Melania Trump came to the United States legally, working in New York as a model. She was born in Yugoslavia, which is modern-day Novo Mesto, Slovenia. She obtained her green card to live here permanently through the EB-1 program. She is fluent in Slovenian, English, French, Serbian, German languages and Italian. As well as being First Lady and a professional model, she has launched a jewelry and skincare line and co-hosted on "The View."

Our First Lady is a textbook example of what the American Dream looks like. She is a self-made businesswoman who is raising an equally intelligent son while succeeding at her job as First Lady.

And let's be honest, she still looks good while doing so.

Feminists claim to be pro-women, pro-immigration, and pro-female entrepreneurship. Melania checks every single one of those boxes. Yet, they tear her down every chance they get.

I wonder if these feminists are really only pro-liberal women?

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So, What IS Modern Day Feminism?

We need to realize that we will have disagreements and different views. But through listening and understanding, we can achieve real change.

Feminism. A word that holds a lot of weight. There are a lot of emotions and mixed feelings attached to it. Many people have definitions of feminism. So I asked everyone I knew what feminism means to them and how they define it. The responses have been interesting. I have received the common expected answers and some unusual ones that have given me a new perspective.

The first wave of responses dealt with the usual perspectives. How feminism is an outdated concept, that is unnecessary for the time we live in. That it sets us back and makes every little thing some type of oppression, when it really isn't. The other typical perspective is, "Screw the patriarchy, women need to be in power and control." These are the perspectives we are used to and that are usually presented in the media. We don't usually see the views that meet in the middle or offer a unique take. Those were the views greater in number that took me by surprise and challenged my view.

A close friend of mine, who is not a stranger on Odyssey, is Aasha. She told me how she defines feminism as "the promotion and protection of equity for all women and their intersectional identities." Her definition stems from the fact she is someone who is the embodiment of kindness and wisdom. It also stems from her experience of living in India her freshmen year of high school and exposure to serious gender issues globally.

My other friend, who happens to be a male, shared with me that he believes in women coming together to support one another and gain equal opportunity. However, it can be taken into an extreme when it doesn't have to be. Men need to be open and accepting towards feminism, but as a society, these extreme measures undermine the real issues that need to be front and center.

Along those same lines, a friend of mine agreed but feels that the extreme measures taken overshadow the real issues at hand. Allowing for feminism to become something that is for the betterment of women and not equality. A view shared by many of the people who contacted me was that they were not a feminist or do not like to associate with the movement.

A person that I hold in high regard told me what they thought about the topic. They said, "to me, feminism is the understanding that all women deserve not just equality, but liberation. All women, as in women of color (black women in particular) and queer women and disabled women and transgender women and working-class women and women that fit more than one of these categories.

Feminism is not just showing up to one march or sharing articles on Facebook and calling it a day. It’s holding the people you love accountable when they say, “Oh, she looks like a man” or “She’s dressed like a slut.” It’s not necessarily the female CEO or solider.

After all, what about that CEO’s exploitation? Feminism shouldn’t seek to uphold existing oppressive structures, and it should be predicated on the idea of collective liberation. No one is free until everyone is free. By extension, no woman is free until every woman is free." I know it is a lot, but I think what they had to say was important and went beyond the general ideas that exist regarding feminism.

I wanted to explore this topic because I do not think it's something that is really discussed. I feel that there are two categories formed and people are placed into them. That should not be the case because there are never two sides. I know as human beings we are fascinated with making everything simple, but sometimes we just need to accept and embrace that things are complex and messy. There is a beauty to it and even when it's hard to confront, we should try to listen and understand. That should always be our goal.

I identify as a feminist and I define feminism as the support and respect for all women, their identities and to have the same equal opportunities as men. It does sting a bit when I hear other women say that they are not feminists or that they don't really support feminism, but I realized that it does not make them terrible people. They have valid reasons that I tried to listen to and understand. Although I have my own views and stand strongly by them, I recognize other views on this topic and give them the same respect and weight that I give to my own. Because for us as a society to make change, we need to realize there is not just one way or right way to do things.

We need to realize that we will have disagreements and different views. But through listening and understanding, we can achieve real change.

Cover Image Credit: American Life League / Flickr

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