One of the most important, basic human needs outside of the physical is the need to be included. It doesn’t take a room full of psychologists to prove that as a child if you’re not accepted into your own family it has long lasting social, psychological, and emotional affects.
As we mature, familial belonging can no longer satiate us so we set out into the world to find our place. We are individuals but we must know we belong, that we fit, that our existence is approved.
Social media might meet this essential need for a small percentage of people who can’t find inclusion anywhere else, but it’s a poor substitute. In the long run, the negative impact of social media is much, much worse than the holes it fills.
Social media provides so much affirmation that people jump into a community without finding out whether it’s based on truth, is a positive contribution to society, or whether it truly represents them as a person. For the price of an app, we sell our character for a retweet.
Selfie celebrities aren’t the worst thing to come out of social media (seriously, they’re not) but the prolific and organized trolls, shame-bots, and half-assed journalists.
There is no one who celebrates the freedom of expression and the broad and accessible audience the internet provides for creative endeavors more than me. But it is being used for evil, not good.
Social media provides immediate gratification and it is a white water rapids ride that never ends. There are endless band wagons to jump on and a globe of faceless people to shame.
Inclusion is so important that, at the same time these negative groups include you, they are based on exclusion. Public shaming is a highly effective way to make sure someone is outcast. Calling her a fake disqualifies her. Labeling him a misogynist sacrifices him to the validation gods. Demeaning her contributions entrenches your position.
“I’m not proud of my heterosexuality—in our tranche it sometimes seemed like a kind of selective sexual impotence, for which I deserved sympathy and compassion—but I was stuck with it.”
– a quote from “Affinities” by Robert Charles Wilson by Adam Fisk on how his new social group viewed his sexuality as narrow minded.
There’s no denying prejudice and persecution exists but not in the way social media leads you to believe. There is a need for understanding and awareness, but we’re slicing our community up into so many little pieces that we’re losing the effect of real change for the self-satisfaction of being pious.
If you keep cutting wine with water you eventually end up with just water. Here’s an example of the type of segregation I believe is futile and a distraction to the real issues in the feminist community.
Back in early August the 13-year old actress, Rowan Blanchard, was asked on Instagram her opinion of ‘white feminism.’ In my work here at GameOnGirl, my focus is to stay abreast of the feminist movement. Intersectional feminism is a term I’ve heard but white feminism is completely new to me and, frankly, sounded a little ridiculous.
According to Miss. Blanchard, feminists are racists:
“However, with as many issues as feminists have succeeded in adopting, many of us seem to have not accepted the fact that police brutality and race issues are our issues too.”
This flat out is not true. Issues affecting all women are at the heart of feminism and have resulted in changes around the globe.
Police brutality is not a feminist issue. That doesn’t mean it’s not a valid societal problem but it does not belong in the feminist wheel house.
All of the issues Blanchard mentioned are an indignity but every indignity cannot be feminisms responsibility if we want to accomplish anything. That’s why these causes need to be taken up by more people.
In the same way segregating women will dilute the feminist idea, throwing everything in the pot will also over extend the cause until it’s ineffectual at anything. The long-term focus of feminism has been necessary to affect changes in laws and society and we’re still fighting.
This is the problem with LGBTQIA. First used in the 1980s, LGB was intended to refer to the gay community as a whole. Since then, so that they remain all inclusive, B, T, Q, I, and A have been added, thus revealing the flaw in this design. There is no way predict and be completely inclusive with an alphabet of labels for an evolving society. If you want to have relevance and make a difference, it’s time to rebrand in a way that has focus and, at the same time, is open to the future.
The reality is the differences between us are infinite. The basic human morality is that no one should be excluded based on… anything. Instead of carving up feminism, unite it by putting strength and affirmation back into the definition because all we’ve managed to do is dilute or muddy what is already seen as an angry and contentious, unsatisfied group of self-serving moralists.