Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Getting Angry About Stuff On the Internet Actually Does Work

Skeptical Aragorn
My face when you do this.
One of the most annoying things about online activism is all the anti-feminists and other anti-progress assholes that come to me to say that online activism doesn't work and I'm wasting my time. I know they're only trying to get me to stop because they know deep down that it does work and I am making an impact, but it still pisses me off.

Maybe it's because I feel like a lot of people who are more neutral about these issues, or just not educated about them, believe that online activism doesn't work. Honestly, nothing hurts more than when people that I like and thought were my friends indicate that they think what I'm doing is a waste of time and the issues I care about are trivial.

So this is mostly for the assholes but also for everyone who doubts that you can have an impact by working online.

"Largest American Drugstore Chain Decides Not To Dodge Taxes By Moving Headquarters Overseas"

This wasn't an issue I'm very invested in, but I saw the headline today and, as happens often, I wanted to throw it in some faces.

In Your Face

You see, I'd heard about this issue through one of the many emails I receive daily asking me to sign online petitions. I know a lot of people doubt the effectiveness of online petitions, and I myself suspect that some of them are just gateways to pages asking for donations and won't actually be used for anything. But every so often, I get news that a petition I signed worked.

This is far from the only time this has happened. I know that once or twice might be a coincidence - maybe Walgreens made the decision for other reasons (and it does seem like they were other factors in this case) or there might have been street protests or more physical activism in addition to the petitions. But I have come to believe that petitions do their part. It shows that people do care. It shows the companies that people are paying attention to their actions. And it helps to spread the word to the public - I know I tend to pay more attention to an issue if there's a petition attached to it, because it seems more serious.

In your face.

So don't diss online activism. It was blogs and Twitter accounts that drew me into serious feminism, as well as educated me on issues of racism, ableism, fat hatred, transphobia, and homophobia. For people in rural areas or who don't have the money, energy, or ability to do what people consider to be more substantial activism, this is all they have. And these are the people who put the most energy and passion into it, because finally they have a voice in a world that ignores them.

Online activism is fucking great, and I owe so much to it. It's hard enough growing into an adult right on the tail end of a huge economic crash and recession that's left the economy and my confidence shaken - online activism gives my life purpose and makes pushing forward seem worthwhile. If you scoff at it, you might as well just give me a big ol' middle finger. Don't do that, please. Thanks. Love you.

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