Justin’s essay was superb, after reading fellow classmates comments I know they would agree. Although classmate jaffeywang and I had different viewpoints on which point in Justin’s essay was the climax, I thought his explanation was justified. I thought the climax was when Justin began self-educating by reading feminist blogs and messages on the internet. Jaffeywang believed the climax was when Justin started arguing “that online activism are not slacktivism and they can actually make a change even more effectively.” What caught my eye was when he disagreed with Justin that social media gives women a voice ” ALL ROUND THE WORLD”. Jaffeywang explains that in China feminism is not a big deal and people choose not to include their voices because its block by the country. I think when jaffeywang states “block by the country”, he means feminism is deterred by the country’s culture. Not all culture reinforce roles and norms that will hold up to America’s feministic standards. In the United States and a few other places around the world, education and economic availability (should)set an even playing field for women and men but in most countries this is not the case.
- Self awareness
- What is feminism
- Slacktivism versus naysayers
- Social media platform
The essay begins with Justin introduction to tumblr, which he used for entertainment in his adolescent years. Justin matures and begin reading blogs and articles about feminism. Justin learns about feminism and what it means to be a feminist then proclaims he’s a feminist. Feminist strive for equality and respect among the sexes, an ideal achievable through education and social interactions. Old school activist don’t believe people who support a cause from behind a computer screen don’t contribute anything to the movement. Justin disagrees whole heartily and proves that “slacktivist” do contribute through social media outlets. The social media platforms potentially gives every women, anywhere a voice to share ideals and testimonials that help support the feminism.
I enjoyed reading through my classmates’ comments. I was interested in what they saw as the climax. Many saw that when Justin mentioned that “A place for Marginalized Minds” was the climax, which was different as compared to mine where I chose the coining of the term “Slacktivitism” as the climax. Specifically, Laura Marie says … “ [Justin] speaks of how social media can have such a great impact around the world and also portrays the benefits of social media, also including a video and to close it off a personal reference, all this after shutting out the idea that social media shouldn’t be used for activism as a whole.” Laura is defending Justin in his opinion that online activism is just as effective as real life protests or stand-ins. Feminism is as controversial as the civil rights movement, in comparison, online activism is the as impacting as risk taking activism. Justin mentions that there is a statistic that those who advocate online have a more tendency to be physically present at an event than those who advocate in person.
- Impact of social media on activism
- Evolution of activism
- Social media increases the spread of information and current events
- More followers
The list above is my interpretation of Justin’s key concepts. His way of writing is very enticing because he writes in a more relatable voice without using confusing syntax and wording. The first thing Justin talks about is how he saw a lot of advocating on political issues such as feminism. Through out his article, he ties feminism into his argument. Slactivism is used through out this article. This term is used for people who are activist that do not advocate in person but through the Internet. His argument was explicitly stated that online activism impacts society as much as physical (in-person) activism. In this article, Justin talks about the impact of social media on activism, in which he found that more people who advocate online tend to be more active offline (in real-life) than those who are active offline. He saw that people are more involved online, through the use of social media where people or women can state their opinions and find supported who feel the same.
Feminism is a key topic tied into this article. Many of Justin’s examples relate to feminism. He mentions “Online feminism” where women are advocating for equality through blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. It was found that there were more followers gained through social media because there was more information spread throughout the Internet leading to the education of the population. Then there was a concept about how if there were more followers, there would be more support in groups. Feminist worked together in groups to make their platform apparent.
I didn’t lose any bit of interest throughout this article because it was so well written and relatable. Justin integrated a lot of evidence and examples in his article that kept his argument valid and gave it more depth. The sentence that spoke his voice the most is where he states that he was a feminist as well. It makes a statement that not only women can advocate for feminism and that men also support equality.
One comment that made me think was Jaffey’s because she pointed out something I hadn’t thought about after reading Justin’s essay: “I agree that social media is a great platform to speak out your own voice, but I don’t think that you voice will be heard ALL ROUND THE WORLD. At least not in China.” Perhaps Justin didn’t literally mean “the whole world” would be changed by social media activism, but Jaffey’s comment highlights that we certainly cannot forget that the Western World IS NOT the whole world. The implications for making this assumption are pointed out by Jaffey again, who says that there are millions of people in the world who don’t know what feminism is, either because they don’t have access to the Internet or because their access is filtered by the government, such as in China. I like comments such as Jaffey’s because they pop me out of this bubble that we are making great change and the world will be an awesome place soon, because frankly it is not. It’s easy to overestimate our abilities to foster social change when we have had some good results in our country lately, but as Jaffey points out, the situation is definitely not the same in other parts of the world and we need to be aware of that as well.
There are three key concepts in Justin’s essay, which is written in response to Malcolm Gladwell’s criticism of online activism. Gladwell says that online activism is lazy, inefficient and in no means comparable to protests that brought social changes such as the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Justin debunks Gladwell’s idea with evidence supporting these three concepts:
- Key Concept #1: Social media is an effective and useful tool for organizing offline protests and demonstrations, as well as for making petitions popular and bringing in more signatures. Justin provides the examples of the SlutWalk in Toronto, which was organized entirely online, and the Twitter campaign NoMorePage3, which aimed to stop the British tabloid The Sun from printing pictures of topless women.
- Key Concept #2: The popularity of social media means that activists are not constrained by geography anymore. With the Internet, people from around the world can fight for a cause without ever needing to leave their houses. If it wasn’t for online organization, some issues would never be known to millions of people. Another important point Justin makes is that the format of social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr allows for those who haven’t heard about a given cause to learn about it. With likes, shares and reblogs more people are made aware of issues they had no clue about. Of course, Justin is the perfect example for this argument because, before he joined Tumblr, he had no idea what feminism was, but through posts from his friends and the people he followed he became aware of this issue and now considers himself a feminist.
- Key Concept #3: Social media is virtually public and free, not controlled like traditional means of communication (such as broadcast TV). This means that anyone and everyone can sign up for an account on a social media website and start making themselves heard. People who were often marginalized and ignored, not part of the “main discourse” seen in traditional media can now change the narrative to focus it on themselves. Their voices are not tuned out or filtered in social media. Another important aspect of social media is that it allows for anonymity. Survivors of sexual assault, for example, can share their experiences, as well as receive and give support, without having to share their identities if they so wish.
With these clear, evidence-supported arguments Justin shows that online activism is nothing but lazy and inefficient, but rather a crucial tool in bringing about social change in our country.