Speaking up on the privilege to grow in our society.
Rupi Kaur has been a writer that I've constantly looked to during troubling times. Many of her poems that discuss growth as a result of pain truly resonate with me, "to the reader" in particular (read below). As an able bodied, heterosexual, cisgendered, and fortunate person in society, I must constantly check my privilege. Even when it comes to growth. How ridiculous is it that our society and its leaders turn growth, a human process of evolution, into a privilege?
After seeing the recent turnout of theworld wide event; The Women's March, it is clear that many people are still unaware of their exclusivity, particularly with their vagina centered signs (although reproductive rights is a very important topic that I will discuss further, vagina does not = woman) and the continuos need for a boost in the racial discussion (the struggles of a white woman does not = the struggles of an African American woman does not = the struggles of a Latina woman does not = the struggles of an Asian woman does not = the struggles of a Native American woman and so on). However, this post is not a critique of Third Wave Feminism, or lack thereof. Instead, this post is a call to all people: all supporters of women's rights, all supporters of human rights. We must speak up so on the privilege to grow so that we are aware of the exclusivity of it. By growth, I mean being able to fight for your rights in a movement that includes you, being able to educated yourself on matters that you are passionate about, having the ability to choose for your own body, etc.
Currently, we are living at a time where the president of America, the "poster" country of liberal/provocative culture, has signed an order to defund International Planned Parenthood and executive actions to advance aooroval of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline, at a time where mainstream media and humor accepts and forgives racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and sexist slurs. We are living at a time where people in power and people of privilege are making deliberate efforts to hinder the growth of others.
On the other hand, we live in a day and age where a young 17 year old Indonesian girl's voice can be heard, where we have information at the tips of our fingers, where we can connect with people on the other side of the world all thanks to technology. As human beings, we have never been more connected. We no longer have an excuse to turn our backs on the terror that our fellow humans experience because everything happens before our very eyes. We can no longer turn off our conscience and enjoy the comfortable hum of our privilege without recognising that that is what it is: privilege.
We must open our eyes and learn, take a stand and lead, fight and support. Yes, our progressive efforts has its flaws, but this is not the time to stop blooming, stop fighting, stop growing. We all have our own shackles, some more than others. But we must do everything we can in our power to highlight the differences in these shackles in order to provide an equal platform for all during this battle for equality. We can educate the people around us (whether it be family, friends, or actual students), we can speak up (whether it be on social media, within our community, or on a platform with many listeners), and we can act (whether it is to donate, volunteer or lead).
I feel that as common social media users, who use our platforms to mostly just capture memories or voice our thoughts, we can speak up on these issues that we do understand and feel passionate about. I understand that we don't all have access to sudden travel to a country or city where The Women's Marches were held, or that we don't all have money to donate. But if you are reading this post, then you probably have access to a platform with some kind of following, regardless of how many. Perhaps it is in fear of starting a controversial virtual battle, or maybe it is in fear of saying the wrong thing. Well, this is me telling you that your voice does make a difference. Maybe you won't reach millions, but you will still reach however many followers you have. Perhaps you may only turn a lightbulb in someone's mind, but provoking thought is being active. You may not be able to make hands on change or donate, but you may have followers who can.
If you don't even know where to start, or how to start, here is an example from my very own Instagram, where I frequently and casually discuss social injustice. It doesn't have to be an essay about why it's important, or a super serious PSA type post. If you don't know what to say, you can always just repost or quote other people like I do in the other examples, which is completely okay as long as you give credit! The link in your bio also works as a place to put links for donation, informative articles, petitions, etc.
Do not be afraid to say the wrong thing, we can aways learn and we must always create safe spaces for people to learn. Although, please don't start posting about things without backing it up with some research first! Maybe we can't stop wars, break the glass-ceiling and establish social justice all at once, but I do believe that simply discussing and creating more awareness helps. We must continue to plant seeds of knowledge and nurture each other in such a way that when the time comes for our generation to lead, we will choose to bloom with no hesitation. And not just for ourselves, but for the global garden.
I'm curious to know what your opinions are about voicing your thoughts on socials (or any other platform) during such a monumental time in history, especially if you're geographically far away from all that's happening right now. What else do you think is an effective way to speak up in an accessible and relatable way? How are you making impact in your community or in the world in general? Do you agree with getting political on your social media profiles?
© Selena Soemakno. All rights served unless stated otherwise.