Social media has opened up a whole new medium for activism. Many feminist, LGBTQ+, body positive, and even more activists have moved online, through blogging, Twitter and Instagram. This has opened them up to much larger audiences across the globe, but also often forced them to face harsh blowback and criticism for those opposed to their various causes. If you follow or support any educators or activists for the causes you’re passionate about, it’s important to be vocal and informed about how you support them. Liking and engaging with their content is great, but if you want to go one step further, take a look at this handy list of suggestions for how to engage with online activists in a healthy and rewarding way for the both of you.
Do not - I repeat do *not* - ask a question that you could easily find the answer to on Google.
Even an apparently simple Instagram post will likely have had hours of (potentially unpaid) work put in from the creator. They have sourced the information, packaged it together into an aesthetic and understandable format, and served it up for free to their followers. To help them out, take a moment to think before asking a question that they may well have either answered in a previous post or otherwise which might be easy to find the answer to yourself. Remember: they are not there to be at the beck and call of their followers purely because they are successful or popular. They do not owe their audience a thing, at the end of the day. It can be exhausting and deplete their emotional energy to have to repeat answers over and over again.
If you have the knowledge, answer questions in their comments yourself.
One way to help combat this problem still further is to try and help out with answers to questions yourself. Always be sure to enter the conversation respectfully and not in a patronising way, and back up your information with sources if you can. Helping pad out the dialogue in comment sections is not only a great way of educating audiences, but also helps to improve social engagement ratings for the creator.
Try to comment something related to their post.
When engaging with their content, try to comment something related to their post. Speaking as someone who often puts content out into the world, a comment directly related to what I’m talking about is worth ten random comments about my hair or something irrelevant. Showing that you have engaged and enjoyed this particular piece of content will really make the creator feel valued. No matter how big an audience they might have, your comment will likely still be seen and appreciated.
If you see hate about a particular activist, report it but don’t bring it directly to their attention.
Creators often experience a lot of negativity, hate, and trolling from working online. If you see someone posting unnecessary and hateful feedback, either on the creator’s own page or elsewhere, certainly report it if it breaches that platform’s community guidelines or content rules. However, don’t feel the need to tag the creator or alert them to it. Either they will already have seen it or they won’t want to see it. Constructive criticism is often welcomed, but hate is damaging to their mental health and their content creation. Try and help them to steer clear where possible.
Keep personal opinions about their lifestyle to yourself.
Some activists share elements of their life online, either simply for fun or to support their content. It’s important to remember that this snapshot is only a brief snapshot into their lives. Avoid making observations or critiques, especially around extremely personal issues, like family, health, or relationships. It’s not your place and you most likely won’t have the full picture. Although you might feel like know them well from interacting with their content, you are not a full part of their life in the same way you are with your own friends and family. Make sure your comments reflect that.
Quite simply, if you love their content, share it around!
A quick and easy way of supporting is to share their content on your own channels. Some activists can find themselves stuck creating for the same circles of people. By sharing, you help more people outside of their standard audience see their work. Share it around, include a tag and a comment from yourself, and help their followers and reach grow!
Listen to what they ask from their audience.
Some activists will have their own lists just like this one of behaviour they would like to see from their audiences. Have a look through and see if you don’t quite match up to what they prefer. After all, their platforms are like their online homes. Respect the house rules, just like you wouldn’t run through someone else’s house with muddy shoes in real life.
In paying attention to even a few of these ideas, you could help make your favourite online activist’s life far easier. In helping them feel more comfortable and respected on their platforms, you are also helping yourself and the rest of their audience, as they are far more likely to carry on creating content for longer. So keep engaging, sharing, and enjoying!
By Rachael Davies.
Both sides of the political spectrum miss the fact that sex is fun- and reproductive rights should be seen that way too. I noticed a few months ago that common contraceptives resemble candy in some ways. Perhaps if contraceptives were seen in the same light-hearted manner as candy, there wouldn’t be stigma, debate, or denial with regard to obtaining them or protesting against laws that limit access to them.
Ladies, summer is officially here. I’s time to have at least one hand on sunscreen and one eye on the nearest shady area at all times – this is not a drill. Say your prayers to Rihanna or whoever you believe in that we make it out of this one alive.
And while I absolutely look forward to legally ordering a glass of prosecco at dinner like a real grown-up lady, my impending birthday has also made me stop and reflect on some of the few nuggets of wisdom I have acquired over the last two decades
In my last spring break, I disappeared for a night. While I suspect that this was the second time I’ve been roofied, I’ll probably never know for sure. After waking up in a strange place and returning home, I saw the damage that I believe I had caused--the tears and panic in my mom’s eyes, my boyfriend sitting in the driveway crying as he waited for me to come home. I don’t know what happened that night.
One might think the goal of a lingerie company would be to sell lingerie. But it seems Victoria’s Secret is more focused on selling an ideal image of beauty to its consumer rather than quality bras. Unfortunately, whether Razek prefers it or not, the straight, cisgender, leggy and thin white woman does not represent the majority of the United States population
In today’s era of reckoning, strength, and empowerment, it is important to remember the generations of powerful women who fought for equality and contributed to the victories that we have captured, as well as those that we will continue to pursue.
This self-portrait series highlights different insecurities and flaws that should be seen as pieces of art instead of something to be ashamed of. Each image represents a different “flaw” society tells us we need to change or cover up. Instead of hiding these “flaws,” embrace them.
Femininity and the expression of the feminine has been confusingly (and sometimes misguidedly) reflected in our society, its image ricocheting across surfaces of different textures and layers with different purposes--sometimes empowering, sometimes demeaning, sometimes both? We examine the complicated relationship behind feminine power and its intention.
Illustrator Mary Sutton notes that putting yourself out there and speaking your mind can be difficult, especially as a woman. Exposing her work, an extension of herself, to others has always been something that she’s especially struggled with. In an era where all our lives are available online, however, everything we do is trackable and therefore judge-able. Successes and failures can be broadcast with equal permanence.
Designer Olivia Jimenez’s series is meant to point to women in history while cementing them around us. In so doing, she hopes to remove the boundaries of the historical figure by making them as fluid and resilient as the sky or sea or the natural world at large.
Street harassment is a prevalent issue for women and young girls in every society. In one survey, 65% of women in the United States reported being harassed on the street. Mary Sutton depicts street harassment through the common phrase, “You Should Smile More” with a series of drawings.