Case Study: #HeForShe

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Barack Obama is #HeForShe, by Elena Duggan.

Getting close to the end of our campaigning here at Your Slacktivity Feed, and we’ve looked at some really amazing on and offline activism in the lead up to this weeks case study on #HeForShe.

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Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, by Elena Duggan.

This one was saved til the end because it is one of the most well-executed strategies I have found, and includes easily accessible ways to contribute in multiple ways.  In terms of commitments, it’s also had a crazy amount of support from its followers.

On social media, there have been about 1.3 billion conversations started with the hashtag.  Committing oneself has garnered 1.1 million signatures of which 966926 were from those that identified as men.  They have held 1.1K events around the world.

What started as the first campaign of its kind about gender equality run by the UN, has blown up.  How, you might ask?

I’m sure you’ve all seen it, but know-it-all (this is a compliment, I love her) Hermione Granger, aka empowered and empowering woman, Emma Watson gave an incredibly moving speech to kick it off.  If you haven’t, you should watch it now.  It’s 11 minutes of your life, but after you’ll understand no matter how you felt to begin with, that gender equality needs to happen to free us all of the shackles that bind and dictate our emotional responses to the world.

I am often told I’m too aggressive, too passionate.  I have often punished and subordinated myself by saying things like, “Yeah, I know… I’m a bitch.”  That’s a habit I need to kick.  I’m honest, and I don’t have time for BS.  I know you all have stories like this, and I’d love to hear them.  As I’ve stated early and often here, sharing stories is the beginning of change!

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Tom Hiddleston is He for She, by Elena Duggan.

If you search #HeForShe on Twitter you will immediately be taken with the widespread contributions from the world over.  Regardless of legislation, there is social change happening.  People’s beliefs are changing.  All of a sudden activism isn’t such a difficult or extreme behaviour.  This campaigns success is that it offers so many ways for people to be involved and all of these contributions are considered equal.

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Eddie Redmayne, by Elena Duggan.

As much as it can be problematic for celebrities to function as the voice of a generation I am continuously grateful for those with reach who put themselves on the line and stand up for what they believe in.  Not just Emma, but men everywhere.

Sign up here.
Read more here.
Get involved here.

 

Takeaways:

  1. If you’re going to have ambassadors, they need to connect with your message on a personal level and be able to speak about it on your level.
  2. Have a call to action: get people to sign up, get people to show up. Invite them.
  3. Always document your goals, and your achievements.
  4. Give people multiple ways to be and feel involved.
  5. Move people over and over again.
  6. You should comment with your own experiences of gender inequality!

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Benedict Cumberbatch, by Elena Duggan.

Case Study: Pledge A Plate

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Maeve O’Meara and OzHarvest Ambassadors, by Elena Duggan.

Pledge a Plate is a social media campaign developed by amazing food waste company OzHarvest.  The whole premise is that you make a tasty meal out of leftovers, share it on one of your social platforms with the hashtag #PledgeAPlate, nominate someone to do the same, and then donate.

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You could make Elena’s Apple, Cheese, and Bickies with me, by Elena Duggan.

As a passionate foodie, but also a tertiary student for like the last seven and half years, I love this campaign.  Combining my love of food and cooking with my entire lack of dollarydoos, I can feel great about being creative with my leftover food stuffs and donating a very small amount that I would otherwise probably spend on the crazy expensive Sydney transport system.  Shout out to #Opal.

Two of my first experiences with OzHarvest were actually through my deep fan commitment to MasterChef Australia, and my annual three weeks of every possible meal spent at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets in October.  MasterChef Australia has done a really good job the last few seasons of really emphasising the food philosophy of tail to snout, root to stem by having contestants challenged to be creative with all food scraps.

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Poor little shells, by Elena Duggan.

If you were a fan of this most recent season you would have seen dishes like Elena Duggan’s Cool as a Cucumber which made use of one ingredient in a million possible ways which really helps people consider different ways to utilise ingredients in creative styles when they have leftovers.  I’d say I’m plugging most recent Masterchef winner Elena Duggan here but let’s be real, she doesn’t need the help.  She’s helping a sister out… thanks for all the rad sketches!

Anyway, my love of MasterchefAU led me to wondering where all the excess food goes.  They actually partner with organisations like OzHarvest and Food Bank.

At the NNM (Night Noodle Markets guys, come on!) a lovely volunteer for OzHarvest approached me and my friends to see if we’d wish to purchase some fortune cookies.  The proceeds were going towards feeding those in need.  I had such a lovely conversation with this woman, and she was a wealth of knowledge on something she was obviously so passionate about.

Now you might be thinking, “…oooh how timely!  She’s talking about food waste the same day the NNM kick off!”  Well, I just can’t get anything past you guys, can I?  I wouldn’t do you guys like that… except that I totally would and totally did. 
*See upcoming Tips and Tricks post about scheduling and planning out your calendar in a social media campaign! 😉

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Berry Smoothies for me, by Elena Duggan.

More recently, what’s making them successful?  Sarah Wilson is the woman who quit sugar, and mind you not only still lives to tell the tale, but has lived on to become an entrepreneur, writer, health conscious individual, and someone who has changed a lot of peoples’ lives.  She is also a woman who pledges plates.

Big names like her and their LONG list of celebrity official ambassadors, plus their endless commitment to nourishing the country have kept their name at the forefront of this initiative for social change.  Within a year of starting OzHarvest, founder Ronni Kahn and a group of lawyers worked tirelessly to achieve a legislative change that removed restriction of repurposing surplus food.

Lots of stuff to take in obviously, and you can tell it’s close to my heart… You can donate here but regardless, I’d highly recommend reading up and following these organisations so you can lead a more aware existence on these matters.  (I say this knowing my readers are probably all over leading aware existences… Love y’all!)

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Here’s a *toast* to all the cranky bread out there, by Elena Duggan.

Takeaways:

  1. The Night Noodle Markets in Sydney is a food mecca we should all attend every year.
  2. Creative and easy ways to get people to contribute to a cause are essential.
  3. Keeping your followers and contributors up to date with the amazing impacts they’re having is key to maintaining their dedication to your cause.
  4. Consider the roles of ambassadors, and approach people you’d love to have on board.
  5. One visit to their website or social platforms shows a very clear and memorable branding.  Their logo and colour scheme is etched in my mind, and I know that if I see people in those shirts, I know what they’re doing immediately.
  6. Finally, taking things offline in activism is not only important but necessary for social change.  We here are not ignoring or pretending that’s not true.  Online activism is a good start, and essential but should work in conjunction with offline work.

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There’s so much you can do with my skin and rind too, ya know? By Elena Duggan.

#BlackLivesMatter: Case Study

So our last Tips and Tricks post was all about Telling Your Story, and in it I mentioned the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

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Kobe Bryant wearing his I Can’t Breathe tee in warm up, by Elena Duggan.

Before we get started, there are a few things I want to mention.  I need to identify and position myself truthfully and accurately with regards to this movement by stating that I am a white cis female Australian and therefore cannot possibly feel or experience the things that people fighting for this movement are going through.  I say this so that if any of my language could possibly be construed any way other than my intention, please know that my intent will never be to hurt.  I would call myself an ally except that I have seen numerous people online say that do not think allies either can really exist or should have their opinion heard in any way that subordinates that of someone experiencing the same situation as someone who identifies as black.

Another thing I want to address is that this blog in particular is dedicated to analysis of different acts of activism, and what’s involved in making successful or not successful online activist campaigns for social change.  #BlackLivesMatter is representative of centuries of race relations and anguish and murder, systemic racism that proliferates all industries including those that think they are more open like Hollywood, and more recently the despicable, horrifying and tragic events involving people like Michael Brown in Ferguson and Terrence Crutcher and the Charlotte riots… How could any singular blog post tackle or even attempt to negotiate these incredibly deep and highly emotional concepts?  I don’t think it can, what I do think though is that talking about these problems is the first step in effecting positive social change.

And that right there, is the crux of what this blog is all about.  Story telling, and how important it is.

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Tyga, by Elena Duggan.

What we all need to understand is that all problems we have as a group of people have been created entirely by us.  Therefore the only way these issues can be corrected is through people.  How do you get someone to change a belief, attitude, behaviour?  Get them to care.  Get them to care about their own future, the future their children will have.  Get them to care about the people they love, get them to care about their country.  You need to appeal to their senses of justice, morality, fairness, humanity.  If you know anything about advertising, you know that the story is what will sell your product.  Watch any Apple ad

Another thing I need to state is that while I’m talking about #BlackLivesMatter as a campaign for social change and I’m using words like success, I am well aware that this campaign will be in progress as long as necessary for systemic change to be in place.  #BlackLivesMatter is not something that’s over.  It’s not finished and everything is perfect.  I’m talking about it because it is very much something we should be talking about every single day.  Everyone.  In the whole planet.  No matter where you belong or where you call home.

The thing that draws me to talking about it is actually because of how powerful it is as a movement.  It is one of the most discussed topics on all social media platforms.  Millions of people are contributing.  Thankfully we live in a time where social media and smart phones exist.  Crimes like the ones we are seeing in videos uploaded to these platforms used to be hidden away in the shadows and not discussed.  I remember the way my stomach dropped as a kid when I saw the Rodney King footage.  I remember it so viscerally because it’s the way I feel on the verge of physical illness with each new image and hashtag dedicated to another black person killed in the streets.

These videos are stories.

And they are hard to watch, but even harder to ignore.

Stories are important to get people onside, but they are equally important in the education of the people reading them.  The messages encoded translate as important because of how much a story makes us care.  And we remember those messages.  We share those messages.

For a better description of this, you must watch or read Jesse Williams’ speech at the BET Awards this year.

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Jesse Williams at the BET Awards, by Elena Duggan.

And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking this doesn’t all apply to you, you’re wrong.  If you need convincing just have a look at the mass outpouring of solidarity expressed in recent protests held in Melbourne and Sydney.

Or if you think you can watch and love Beyoncé’s Lemonade for just the musical content, you’re wrong.  She’s telling you the stories of millions of lived experiences, you just need to listen.

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Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Janelle Monáe, Chris Rock, Jennifer Hudson, Pharrell, Alicia Keys and Rihanna talk about 23 Ways you could be killed if you are black in America, by Elena Duggan.

Takeaways:

  1. Even when it’s the hardest thing to do, tell your story.
  2. Even when it’s the hardest thing to watch, watch the videos shared.
  3. Even when it’s the hardest thing to say, call out racism.
  4. Even when it’s the hardest thing to own, own and acknowledge your own prejudices and do your best to change them by educating yourself.
  5. Even when it’s the hardest thing to believe, believe that change is possible.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Case Study

This week we’re thinking about how perceived #slacktivist movements go viral, get thousands of people involved, and then get criticised.

I’m sure you’re all aware of the ALS #IceBucketChallenge.  If not, you literally must have been on a digital cleanse or under a rock for like a year.  For those that need a refresher, the viral movement was all about raising awareness and gathering donations from those who participated.  Think #WorldsGreatestShave where people get sponsorship for performing an act like shaving their head or getting a bucket of ice thrown over their head, videoing it and uploading it to their social media platforms in this case.

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Kim Kardashian gets soaked by Ellen Degeneres, by Elena Duggan.

If you look this movement up, you’re not only going to get a lot of YouTube videos of the world’s most famous celebrities getting dunked in their most creative ways possible, but you’re also going to see hundred of articles from pop journalists and academics alike heavily criticising those that participated.

They have their reasons.  They state that many of those that participated either never donated and participated only to be seen engaging, or ended up spending more on the buckets of ice or expending time and effort on the action rather than research on the issue.  This is real.  I see their points, and I agree with them that this is endlessly frustrating, especially for those that suffer with motor neurone disease who at points during this campaign’s virality it could have seemed unhelpful.

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Rita Ora contributing to #IceBucketChallenge, by Elena Duggan.

But the coolest thing about this is, that despite all the negative criticism and the negative world-view type of reporting we’ve seen on this, news came out in the last couple months that all the proceeds of the #IceBucketChallenge actually contributed to the funding of a new scientific breakthrough.

The money from donations helped fund the biggest and most widespread study of samples previously collected, that allowed the discovery of a common gene found among ALS sufferers.

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Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Rob RiggleHoratio SanzSteve Higgins soak themselves on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, by Elena Duggan.

A relatively short case study, because there’s really not much else we need to say.  This is proof that movements that start online can contribute in multiple ways to offline change.

Takeaways:

  1. You need a phenomenal strategy.
  2. Your strategy needs to be accessible.
  3. Know your objectives.  If donation is one of those, it needs to play a big role in your strategy.
  4. Make engagement fun.  You only get people interested if their role is fun!
  5. Once your campaign has created change, you need to publish and emphasise what your contributors helped with!  Follow up is key.

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ALS Ice Bucket ready for dunking, by Elena Duggan.

Matt McGorry: Case Study

So if you’ve been living under a rock, or somehow just circumnavigating the Netflix globe and haven’t managed to come across Orange is the New Black or #OITNB as we call it, then you’ll have probably missed breakout star Matt McGorry in his role of prison guard Bennett.  You can also catch him in How to Get Away with Murder.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-4-18-26-pmMatt McGorry as Bennett in #OITNB, by Elena Duggan.

I’ve warned you, that this page would be at times political.  This is one of those times.  I want to make it clear however that while I have my own opinions, the purpose of this case study is to look at this actor’s contributions in the world of activism.  Overall the opinion most important to this blogging space is that we should all believe that any level of activism contributes something good to any movement.  EVEN the negative stuff.  That stuff is the fuel for conversation to continue.  Dialogue is the only way change can start, and sharing stories is key here.  So keep that in mind when I discuss the ways McGorry has been both praised and hated on by media and activists alike.

McGorry posts to his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts a wide variety of content.  He promotes new shows and movies he’s in, he posts photos of him with castmates… But most importantly he posts links to campaigns for social innovation, tweets whenever he attends a physical meeting of those within a movement, uses hashtags to demonstrate his solidarity and alignment with a cause, and engages in discussion with his followers about all manner of political topics and his involvement with them.

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Laverne Cox with Matt McGorry accepting her Television Industry Advocacy Award, by by Elena Duggan.

First things first, this is brave.  It takes a lot of courage to speak our minds.  It takes even more thoughtfulness and consideration to not only have an opinion and share it but also to be able to back up what you’re saying, and admit where you’ve been wrong.  Is he perfect? No.  He’s told us that himself.  Should media news outlets be lauding him as they do? Well, that’s up for debate.  One side of that argument is that continuing to give praise to white men who do good things over shining lights on those marginalised and subordinated within the movement itself perpetuates that which McGorry and other activists are trying to challenge.  A convoluted way of saying that privileged white males are not really allowed to define themselves as feminists, but rather allies, and that them receiving praise continues the system of patriarchy.  This last part, I totally agree with. Where’s all the praise for the ultra brave women who fight this every day?  Well, I can tell you, it almost doesn’t exist. No one thinks it’s cool to be a feminist. And we all know the ways people have perceived this movement.

The other thing that’s interesting is that he doesn’t just post or know about one topic.  He posts about feminism, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, domestic violence… the list goes on.  Critics would say that he contributes primarily to the #slacktivism side of each of these campaigns.  But that’s wrong.  He is posting as a part of the activist strategy that suits his life best.  He goes to #BlackLivesMatter chapter meetings, he donates to these organisations… and then he posts about these events on his social media.

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Matt McGorry with Francesca Ramsey, ridiculously busy activist, by Elena Duggan.

Let’s take a particular moment of his online activism into consideration.  In 2015, he posted the definition of feminism to his accounts stating that he ashamedly only just discovered the true meaning of the word and the movement.  Then this year for International Women’s Day, McGorry designed a shirt that all proceeds from would go to NARAL in support of women’s reproductive rights.

And then, he got absolutely slammed by Feminist blogs for it.  Wow, it was vicious.  I would definitely recommend reading this and this though because they both are incredibly poignant for highlighting the struggle women face every day with this.  I feel these things too.  And some things that have been said by all sorts of people that claim themselves Feminists like McGorry leave me with equally conflicting emotional responses.

But I will never condone criticising someone for their attempt to develop their understanding and contributions to fixing something so wrong with societal systemic prejudice.  Especially with regards to feminism.  This is something incredibly difficult to overcome… We’ve been trying for decades.  And hey, look, it still exists.  Should we not be embracing any individual who fights against patriarchy?  Just because the way they fight is different, or maybe could be interpreted as adjacent or oppositional in contrast to some of the core tenets in the fight for women’s freedom, this doesn’t give us the right to say they shouldn’t speak their feelings.  I don’t understand anyone who fights for a more inclusive and equal society by labelling other peoples’ contributions to a similar if not the same fight unwanted, incorrect and stupid.

We are all on paths towards education, change and meaningful contribution to our world.  Fundamentally, he’s hoping to spark dialogue about something truly wrong that he along with many others has a problem with.  All of these arguments could be applied by people of all the movements he supports.  And they are all good arguments.  To be successful in creating change we need to be hypercritical that the steps we take are all in the right direction, I just think there are much better ways to criticise, discuss and create dialogue.

While feminism is about removing patriarchy and male power, rather than the fight for gender equality, this doesn’t mean the fight can or should only be won be women willing to stand up.  I would not feel content within myself to achieve any type of feminist state where all and any gender identities are not given equal power.  Getting away from patriarchy should not be seen as a binary.  Again, my opinion.  I am equally as free as you are to express it.

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Matt, by Elena Duggan.

But what does all of this teach us?

Here are your takeaways from studying Matt McGorry:

  1. Be prepared that once you take a stance, you will cop both love and hate in equal measures.  Either way you MUST question both.
  2. To be an influencer, it’s not enough to know the bare minimum about your content.
  3. Dialogue is all important.
  4. Listen.
  5. Make growth and progress your constant goal.  This should actually be a takeaway on how to live your life as well, but in this case, you need to make sure you are focussed on learning, evolving and being open to the rest of the world.

#FreeTheNipple: A Case Study

Protesters being interviewed by a couple Activated Nuts… inspired by this. By Alexandra Duggan

So why should we study #FreeTheNipple?  What makes it a successful campaign?

lena-dunham-01Lena Dunham bares all, by Elena Duggan.

Some main points to consider…

Its message is clear.  This is a fight for gender equality.

Its name is catchy, short, easy to remember, and honest.  This is a fight against the idea of the sexualisation and criminalisation of the female body.

The use of all forms of media in spreading their message has allowed it to get mass exposure through the light-touches people make on their own social media channels.  Whether or not your remember the post, you’ve definitely seen #FreeTheNipple all over the place.  Celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Lena Dunham, Willow Smith, Miley Cyrus, Scout Willis, and countless others have joined the movement.  They’ve posted photos of themselves freeing their own nipples, they’ve hashtagged, they’ve even worn the merchandise.

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Miley Cyrus joins the movement, by Elena Duggan.

But not only has this movement gained notoriety through social media, the women responsible for its kickoff created a film that aimed to document their lives in combat with the systemic gender inequalities.

The act of going topless in America as a female is something you can be arrested for, yet we watch countless people dying at our own hands on the news each night.  What we are allowed to be exposed to says a lot about what legislation does to those disenfranchised by it.

willow-smith-01Willow Smith’s conversation-starting post, by Elena Duggan.

What started as an attempt to raise awareness of this particularly ridiculous notion, has now seen its hashtag #FreeTheNipple stand for the widespread issues women face when they come in contact with the many systemic inequalities against us.  If you follow their Instagram you’ll see conversations about consent and rape culture, feminism, female reproductive rights, body confidence, sexuality, art…

Take aways here are:

  1. Think through your ideas and find the core message
  2. Make sure its something that will incite passionate response
  3. Use all the skills you have to create your content: video, photo and animation production, clothing design, drawing, digital art creation… the list goes on
  4. Know your demographic, and target them with your message on ALL their platforms
  5. TALK, TALK, TALK to those who agree with you, and then COLLABORATE.

Join the movement by signing the petition here.

Or more actively engage by following the simple steps listed on their site:

1. Get together with your friends and meet at a public location that gets a lot of traction.

2. If it’s illegal to be topless wear X pasties on the nipples and write FREE THE NIPPLE on your chest.

3. Send us pictures of your gathering to info@freethenipple.com and we will also post to continue the conversation in all our media outlets…

4. Someone like you needs to be the leader in your community and make sure we are at least getting more and more people to join you on your next topless hang out day… Depending on how big we can also reach out to media and press to come and cover it.

-By Alexandra Duggan
kendall-jenner-01Kendall Jenner tackles the issue, by Elena Duggan.