We also cannot transform how our movements and the leaders within them relate to one another through individual response or action. But thats a drop in the bucket. When were in this mental place, it can feel easier to align ourselves with someone elses vision and framework that feels similar to our own. As recent research has shown, the problem with celebrity causes is that they tend to de-politicise activism. Could you please elaborate on that? We struck up a conversation, and they said that it was a pity that I had not witnessed the event that had taken place not long before my arrival in town a few weeks earlier. The belief of the problem from others. At that point, responses to unaddressed trauma and burn out had expanded into frequent panic attacks and migraines, dangerous weight loss, and rashes developing under my eyes and on my chest among other symptoms. Unfortunately, many of the policies and remedies promoted by this ever-growing influx of celebrity activists have been heavily criticized for being paternalistic, detached from reality and often dangerously counterproductive. Whose voices are you listening to about it? De Waal also argues that activism should speak to power, but also stand firmly against it, and should not presume that all change is possible from within. It makes an impact, but not in the ways . A people-oriented REAL economy established. And when we disconnect from this reality, we increasing the potential for future harm they are involved in to go unaccounted for, excused, or brushed aside. When you post an image with a tag on, say . Often unknowingly, I was contributing to this larger dynamic propped up by this celebrity culture mentality. Ask yourself why you even care about this conflict in the first place? Once again pushing us into binary thought of good or bad people, it creates an opening for mainstream narratives that attempt to justify violent institutions including militarized police forces, and prisons, arguing that there are people who belong there, when we know this isnt the case. One of those activists, Chonthicha Jangrew, is a candidate for the Move Forward Party. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. It is this mindset that has motivated celebrities like the rock star Bono to take up the causes of debt cancelation, the increase in foreign aid and the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This shift can look like adopting someones specific style, brand of swagger, or personal interests without first reflecting on whether we personally identify with these things. Were all aware that when we view someones accomplishments on social media, we dont see the years of trying, failing, struggling, and compiling small scale victories to get to the flashier results social media is made to uplift. It is not love. Once we make this shift in thinking, our perception transitions from engaging with someone as a movement leader into viewing them as a celebrity activist. But, as were constantly told in the climate debate, actions are what matter, and words are meaningless if we see that even the speaker doesnt appear to believe them. This is because they draw on the self-serving guilt trips that lead many people to believe that their privileged position has invested them with the burden and the responsibility to save those less fortunate from their plight. What is already being tried by local actors on the ground? Crucially, celebrities may use soft power techniques to facilitate a 'politics of attraction' to reconfigure concepts of global identity, citizenship and solidarity. She points to the way the hashtag #MeToo went viral when used in a tweet by Alyssa Milano. By Cady Lang. A3F1C265-A945-4BA3-A3E3-28A92E8EDE68.png - 8:21 4 a [1' I 4 Drive Essay 4. Economic System in Islam Compared with Capitalism and Socialism, ASIA-UPDATES ON MYANMAR ROHINGYA GENOCIDE, KUDANKULAM ANTI-NUCLEAR SATYAGRAHA, INDIA, Remembering TRANSCEND Member Graeme MacQueen (1948 25 Apr 2023), National Peace Disruption: This Is a Nation of Thieves, Quantum Physics and Spirituality: The Relationship between Quantum Mechanics and the Vedas, The Wests State Media and Their Increasing Violence: The Hersh Affair, TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE Why Celebrity Activism Does , Click here to go to the current weekly digest. Magazines. Rancho Cucamonga High. GO TO ORIGINAL links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. But I believe that people would be much more accepting of causes if it is not forced upon them by activist groups. This model prioritizes the opinions of white folks, charity-based models, quantitative, measurable outcomes, and success framed through an individualistic narrative, while sewing distrust in grassroots efforts and devaluing Black and brown leadership, collective action, long-term investment, and relational, qualitative achievements. Putting people on pedestals is part of the binary of how we categorize people into good and bad. In fact, argues Tia C.M. The critiques paralleled similar concerns about two other major social-media activism campaigns in recent months: #BlackoutTuesday, for which Instagram users posted black squares to show support for Black Lives Matter, and #ChallengeAccepted, a campaign that involved users posting black-and-white selfies in a declaration of womens empowerment. Ask yourself why you even care about this conflict in the first place? My experience working with armed conflicts and humanitarian crises has shown me the disastrous effects that such views tend to have on the ground. Their almost complete confidence in their predictions and analyses, combined with the allure of celebrity, emboldens them to leap at the opportunity to promote what they consider to be the solutions for conflicts whose complexities they only superficially grasp. I agree with the previous comments about appearing to paint all work done by famous personalities with the same brush. And, most importantly, why should you become involved? Introduced in 2010 and championed by celebrities from Ben Affleck to Nicole Richie, the ruling required companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country. In the past, as I was beginning to notice my patterns of thought that viewed movement leaders through a binary lens, and relating to them through practices found in celebrity culture, I also noticed myself disengaging from uncomfortable, or unpredictable elements of their humanity. The video had profoundly upset a significant amount of those present that evening, and a riot broke out. Yeah, theres a sense in which your damned if you do and damned if you dont. I am currently getting involved in the LGBTQ movement here in Chile and I will most definitely be asking myself some of the questions you posed. A politically skewed or blatantly inaccurate post may urge viewers to formulate misinformed opinions. If you undermine your argument, why should I buy it? Should Celebrities Be the Voice of Social or Environmental Causes? For all three, a central question dogged the hashtags: what could short-term social-media action actually do to create long-term change? ENGLISH. We should begin, above all, by focusing on the creative energy already present among the local actors in a conflict in order to discover context-specific strategies that can help us to transform it. This is because many lacks of awareness to be able to resolve them. (A Facebook spokesperson told the New York Times on Tuesday that it had no comment about the situation.). Celebrities are capable of shedding light on an issue previously forgotten; in many ways, a sole celebrity could be the catalyst for profound social change. Andrs has worked for NGOs in Costa Rica and Uganda in the fields of transitional justice and conflict transformation, his writings featuring in Waging Nonviolence and The Peace and Conflict Monitor . All rights reserved. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. who act philanthropically or use their social media audiences as a platform to speak to social issues. Visit their individual pages to see more. The tragedy behind these sorts of campaigns is that they are motivated by the belief that problems around the world remain unresolved due to the lack of international awareness of their existence or global commitment to resolve them. (modern). I cant sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation, wrote Kardashian West, who has 188 million Instagram followers, in a tweet on Tuesday, before encouraging her fans to join her. Issues of sustainability, effectiveness, community ownership, local relevance, and adaptability to change, which are the lifeblood of any conflict transformation approach, are hardly taken in considerations by these broad top-down solutions. This can look like expecting our leaders to always be available, always be working, to conflate our leaders with their work, to view them as incomplete without it. You could do worse than start by reading (yes, reading!) These people are the Nicholas Kristofs and the Jeffry Sachses of the world who often find their self-assurance and sense of certainty in their Ivy League educations, in the power that their positions grant them or in the titles that they hold. The original version would have done more harm than good for the causes being showcased, two scholars argue. Im writing this as someone whos experience of burn out was severely exacerbated by a broader culture that centers individualist and competitive action, deeply rooted in capitalist value systems. Whose interests are they serving? We begin to equate having a lack of boundaries with proving our commitment to struggle. September 17, 2020 4:44 PM EDT. In addition to everything named here, applying celebrity culture to our movement spaces weighs heavily on how much and if we value care, healing, and other under-recognized and historically-feminized work including logistics planning, cleaning and space-creating, etc. We should begin, above all, by focusing on the creative energy already present among the local actors in a conflict in order to discover context-specific strategies that can help us to transform it. Activism is important for political change. This is because they draw on the self-serving guilt trips that lead many people to believe that their privileged position has invested them with the burden and the responsibility to save those less fortunate from their plight. The crowd ended up having to be dispersed by police and tear gas. Two, the actual purpose of posting a black image in the first place. This tends to fracture our movements, creating a culture that rewards individualism and aggressive competition and under-recognizes collaboration. I have no solution for this dilemma, but I do believe that most effective strategies that address this issue are highly context specific and are organically generated from the creative energy present within the local communities. persistent non-allergic rhinitis. Ultimately, however, while social media can raise money and awareness, its only one part of a larger puzzleone that wont be solved by any single campaign. The conclusion . He lives and works in San Jose, Costa Rica. Right on, Leo! Ive lost count of friends and fellow movement collaborators who have abruptly left positions at social justice-oriented non-profits, exhausted from navigating harm, enduring violence, having their opinions, contributions, or ideas go unvalued, unacknowledged or claimed by bosses, or simply working hard and feeling no sense that they are making a difference. This piece isnt about scolding ourselves for our flaws; its meant to help identify our shortcomings and adjusting to strengthen ourselves and our movements as we move forward. This is the point at which most of us become silent or look in another direction. Excellent article, Andres. Celebrity endorsements make a difference as they have a larger impact than that of regular individuals. This frequently results in uninspired theories of change, and contributing to the rise of individualist celebrity narratives around leaders. The goal of it is not to criticize our movement leaders or tear down our movements. In my case, this urgent feeling that I needed to always to do more for anything else I did to matter, of refusing experiences of joy, was how I was operating for a long time before I was more or less forced to slow down, ask a few people for help, and clarify, first for myself then for everyone else, what I did, and mostly what I did not have to offer at that moment.  TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE Why Celebrity Activism Does Go to this article . Leonardo DiCaprio, one of Hollywoods biggest proponents of climate change, continues to use a mega yacht and private planes. Arrogant, patronising activism can come from anyone not also actively working on their own liberation. Any action taken toward this end is therefore righteous and will to put us a step closer to fixing the problem; surely any little bit of help must be better than nothing. So in 2011, I cancelled my donations and subscriptions. However, critics argue that some celebrities are doing more harm than good and question where their true motivations lie. What Im asking in this piece is for movement leaders, not movement celebrities. Almost towards the end you said: My experience working with armed conflicts and humanitarian crises has shown me the disastrous effects that such views tend to have on the ground. However, although I read the whole article, I couldnt find what precisely those disastrous effects you mention are. The videos portrayal of the over two-decade-long conflict had deeply angered many of those who had endured it firsthand. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. On the flip side, when we do choose to address harm, our response often results in simply banishing someone from movements and community spaces with no potential to transform and restore relationships or repair harm, which is rarely transformative or revolutionary. Not everyone needs to have charisma, and not everyone wants to or can be at the front of a room. The fans who look up to them may change their own approach towards their mental health.. If you feel invested in a cause, engage it with all your passion, but tread carefully. . TV personality Kim Kardashian and model Naomi Campbell take a selfie in 2016. We avoid holding leadership accountable, or even acknowledge violence or abusive theyve committed for fear it will destabilize our movements. Our lack in stronger organizations and structures to support organizing for collective vision leads to a tendency towards individualistic activism. By operating within a framework of globalism, celebrity activists have placed matters of concern on the international agenda, overriding the self-interest of nation states. We need to distance ourselves from the powerful desire to follow simple solutions drafted by experts in conference rooms half a world away. My new friends began to describe how there had been a massive gathering in the stadium for the screening of a video put together by a foreign NGO. What does celebrity activism accomplish? A stark example of this is provided in the new documentary, We Will Win Peace, which tracks the impact of Section 1502 of the USs Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Before and while I was burning out, whether or not I was willing to admit it, I frequently perceived the accomplishments of certain individual leaders as purely individual efforts and achievement. Conclusion: In your concluding paragraph, restate your thesis or overall opinion of the analyzed articles and the author's conclusion, and offer additional thought on the topic not presented in the articles. The videos portrayal of the over two-decade-long conflict had deeply angered many of those who had endured it firsthand. These conditions exacerbate systemic and wide-spread experiences of overwhelm. We need leaders who guide, facilitate, initiate, coordinate, listen, commit, clarify, and follow-through. There are a lot of reasons why celebrity culture and individualism are so present in our movements. Learn how your comment data is processed. He can be reached at email@example.com. This pushes us further into individualist thought. After a few years of working for non-profits that not only de-prioritized care or rest, but rewarded overwork and lack of boundaries, I crashed. and followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, the UK, Bermuda, the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, Singapore, etc. They also come out of personal experience with social dynamics Ive witnessed, been impacted by, and been a participant of that I believe would strengthen our social justice movements to change. How Misguided Celebrity Activism Does More Harm Than Good. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as the provider may be using cookies and other technologies. Mother Jones recently published an ironic map of the African countries celebrities have claimed through their charity work: Richard Branson, Oprah and Will Smith have South Africa, while Botswana is Kim Kardashians. She also designed the Fenty Beauty line, providing accessible makeup to all skin tones, an unjust rarity in the beauty industry. Some would say that its the symbols that are important if Emma Thompsons message is heard, its worth it in the long run. Ojha and Bloomer also state that spreading awareness through social media is limited to a person's followers and the people the . Any action taken toward this end is therefore righteous and will to put us a step closer to fixing the problem; surely any little bit of help must be better than nothing. Our movement leaders offer critical analysis, historic context, tools, and practices that strengthen our efforts. I think that aid is another key and vital element of what can be considered as a colonized and mechanistic approach to assistance and development work. Paul Cullen Partnerships. Applying these same practices of adoration in celebrity culture to movement leaders, especially when this is how we determine who we place on top to receive the most resources and the attention, recreates the same value systems our movements resist. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the GO TO ORIGINAL links. Georgia Cole, Ben Radley and Jean-Benoit Falisse for The Conversation, part of the Guardian Africa network. The gesture is nice, but Thunbergs choice hurts the environment more. But this kind of celebrity advocacy isnt new, either. My experience working with armed conflicts and humanitarian crises has shown me the disastrous effects that such views tend to have on the ground. This is a global problem which requires global solutions, but thats not going to happen if the wealthiest use their voices to antagonise, provoking scepticism and annoyance at the cause. However, what I severely criticize are those celebrities that feel compelled to become involved in severe conflicts and quickly design ambitious approaches and projects that can only live in the elevated world of international politics and high diplomacy. Share this article: Through the current pandemic, many grassroots efforts are already redirecting their attention and actions, placing the focus on mutual aid and building spaces and practices that facilitate connection and trust; We are developing stronger clarity of collective values, and an unwillingness to bend in our practices or leave any of our comrades behind. 2023 Copyright The Boar. Moving beyond my own individual experience of burn out, after conversations with close friends and comrades who shared similar experiences, it is apparent that the values of celebrity culture (individualism, idolization, dehumanization) are also present in many current and recent social justice movements in the United States, and that this is exacerbating systemic issues of burn out and unaccountable leadership, and is ultimately deferring our efforts towards collective liberation. Study Resources. Write to Cady Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org. if interventions do more harm than good most of the time - then things are even easier: have a high prior for opposing . Many organizations are also functioning under leadership structures that are not elected or clear, and do not offer safe ways to challenge decisions made by directors and other organizational leads whose main work relationships are usually with funders and other organizational leads. This Community section offers just a sample of their latest stories. Causes are to celebrities what corporate social responsibility is to business every established name has to have at least one. Heres one more video youll enjoy on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxASM44gPlU. The latest generation of American celebrity activists has most commonly knocked at the doors of western governments, demanding changes in policy towards their chosen cause clbre. We prefer with a note at the top of the article. You have reached your limit of 4 free articles. Just like Obamas is. Many non-profits dont elect leadership or have clear, effective structures to keep us aligned with community-defined vision and goals and remove or take other accountability measures when they fail or cause harm. Each year has a different theme, and this years was the impact of global warming. As Daniel Drezner writes in When foreign policy goes glam, engaging in humanitarian causes clearly benefits the Clooneys, Jolies and Damons of the world. There are far too many climate hypocrites to list, but here are a few recent examples. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Celebrities don't intentionally go into humanitarian work and political activism with the intent of causing more harm than good, although recent studies reveal that the involvement of a celebrity with a cause tends to de-politicise activism.