the practice of addressing an issue by challenging those in power.
Activism can be loud or quite. It can be civil society challenging those in the system of governance. Justice is at the core of activism. Equality and fair treatment of individuals and opinions it what all activists are striving to achieve. Compassion drives activism. Seeing someone being treated unjustly evokes compassion in an activist.
But what makes someone an activist? Isn’t everyone an activist if they stand for a cause? I believe those who show compassion are activist. Most humans are compassionate, we may show it in different ways, but social scientists say compassion is mankind’s strongest trait.
Why is that? Well its relatively simple, we are the most successful species due to our compassionate nature and teamwork. Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of “Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life”, and his colleagues believe humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits. Keltner defines this theory by saying, “Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.”
So if its possible for us all to be activists, why is it that bad things still happen in this world? Where are the all the activists?
Activism doesn’t always mean mass protests and mass action. Activists aren’t always superhero’s. Activism doesn’t heal all the big and bad things that are happening right now. It can, but more often activism is taking place at home in our daily lives. Making simple small changes in the world, but big and meaningful changes in our lives. Activism takes place when someone applies their everyday integrity to their daily life. It might not be something big and world changing. But by maintaining honesty and having strong moral principles it can only provide positive change to your day to day life. A small and barely noticeable change in the world as a whole. But these acts of activism mount up, and eventually affect the world as a whole. “Activism is not separate to life, but it is life itself” – Anjali Appadurai.
Activism in regards to big worldwide change takes place when a large group of individuals come together with the same moral principles and integrity. This sort of activism is most powerful, but this doesn’t undermine local activism. As I have mentioned, anyone with compassion (which is pretty much everyone) is an activist. An activist could be male, female, gender non-conforming, young, old, middle aged, local, high profile, poor, rich, black, white… activism isn’t specific to any type of individual.
Seeing as I am a young woman living in the western world with the likes of the internet and my social economic background feeding into how I see and experience the world, I feel I can only really speak truthfully from my personal experience and from my personal viewpoint as a young female in the digital age. I can relate better to and understand individuals like myself, and whilst I feel like I understand and know how other people live, that is naive of me. So I would like to delve deeper into female activism and modern female activists who are of a similar age to myself and relate to my social and economic situation.
Needless to say after continued research into my topic of choice I discovered how much I do relate to other women across the globe who may be from completely different socio-economic situations to me. The thing that joins us is the Internet and Social Media, this is the aspect of female activism I would like to focus on and how social media has affected activism. Topic name: Female Cyber-fueled Activism/Hashtag Activism.