Whether or not you’re familiar with the term “performative activism”, if you’re on social media at all, you’ve encountered it constantly.
Performative activism, as defined by the blog Purewow, is “supporting a cause or issue to garner attention, support or monetization from others rather than actually caring about making a difference in the cause.”
One of the more prevalent examples of this was seen in early 2020 during the rise of Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd by police. Almost everyone you followed on instagram had the blacklivesmatter.carrd link in their bio, and maybe even posted a black square on their feed if they were feeling extra generous. These posts did very little to actually benefit the movement, and instead functioned as a way to garner attention and support.
This, however, is far from the only example of performative activism. From “aesthetically pleasing” infographics about incredibly serious topics such as racism, sexism, and rape culture, to the “for every like this post gets we’ll plant a tree” instagram posts, almost every movement has people finding ways to profit off of real issues while maintaining a facade of caring.
Another massive instance of this phenomenon is the changes corporations just so happen to make to their image right around June, which is pride month. You can be sure that as the clock strikes twelve and the month of May becomes the first of June, every business, whether it be Twitter, Uber, or clothing brands, changes their logo to something rainbow. Now, this would be all well and good if it weren’t for the fact that many of these businesses decide to show their support when it benefits them. They make a marginalized group of people believe that they are supported, when in reality profit far overshadows solidarity in the minds of those corporations.
Many could argue that they are simply spreading useful information around in an easily-readable and eye-catching fashion. There are many flaws in this argument, however.
If you are posting an infographic to your story simply because you saw 30 other people post it to theirs, you are seeking approval from your peers rather than justice for the issues you claim to care about and “advocate” for.
It is also so insanely disrespectful when you have a serious and concerning topic such as rape-culture being discussed on a slide where its surrounded by aesthetically-pleasing flower clip art.
I expect that we will see many examples of this to come, but we can combat it by taking the time to fully educate ourselves on concerning topics, as well as finding reliable organizations to donate to that actually benefit those afflicted by the issues prevalent in our world today.
Below will be a list of organizations for a variety of causes that you can donate to, as well as people you can follow on social media who deal with these issues first hand, and can provide reliable information.
For up-to-date information on whats going on in Ukraine, as well as finding organizations in Ukraine to donate to, check out:
- Olha Stefanishyna, the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, on Twitter: (20) Olga Stefanishyna (@StefanishynaO) / Twitter
- Americares, Who use donations to coordinate large-scale shipments of medicine and relief supplies, as well as providing financial support to local organizations in refugee services: Americares | Disaster Relief & Global Health Organization
For information on Aboriginal issues and news, check out:
- Cindy Blackstock on Twitter: (20) Cindy Blackstock (@cblackst) / Twitter
- CBC Indigenous on Twitter: (20) CBC Indigenous (@CBCIndigenous) / Twitter
- Native News Online on Twitter: (20) Native News Online (@nativenews_net) / Twitter