DISCLAIMER – This is not directly about feminism.
The more I scroll through my social media feeds, the more I feel a sense of virtue signalling amongst the printed t-shirt wearing, colour-filtered, quote sharing type people on social media, who then afterwards do nothing to expand more, explore or take action on their cause of interest.
The featured image was posted by a famous model with more than 4 million followers on Instagram. The post was to support a fashion show that features the events of the Women’s March 2017.
I have no issue whatsoever with people wear slogans and signs. It is what draws people together to share common feelings, thoughts and ideas. The problem is when I begin to question the person’s authenticity with the slogan that they are so happy to share on social media. Many people define this act as ‘virtue-signalling’ a concept where loud expression of moral values by an individual is done mainly to enhance their standing within a social group. (Celebrities are known for doing this.)
It is so evident that certain environments and platforms advocate for certain ideas, so if one were to have an opposing view it would be seen as not cool, anti-belonging just generally associated with negativity. This sort of thinking shuts down learning, open-mindedness and true understanding.
‘I too grow very weary of emotionally based outbursts of indignation from people in their support or opposition for a given cause that express little understanding of their own. Instead, they simply regurgitate what they have been fed rather than synthesising their own understanding of it in their own words. I think many people are afraid to explore their own thoughts and understanding as they know that they don’t really understand the issue. They just want to throw themselves in, as a reactionary response, in an effort to quickly overwhelm and bludgeon the opposition with their regurgitated Facebook post and likes! This is done in an equally annoying manner with both my conservative friends as well as my (so called) liberal friends.
Personally, if I’m acquainted with you, then I’d rather hear your take on an article than just read or see the same old re-posted article over and over from all my friends supporting or opposing a given issue. I loathe small talk! I find repetition dull! I wanna dip into your mind, your heart; I’m not as interested in what so and so said about such and such. I wanna hear your take, your research, your conclusions, not Obama’s or Rush’s! That’s interesting to me. That’s worth reading. That’s worth posting.’
The commentator continues;
‘If I may conclude by saying, take pride of what you write and, therefore, research it well. Understand what it is you are reading. Understand the opposition. Then and only then, carefully and thoughtfully construct your response, if you feel that one is required. Invest the time to understand as well as taking care to be understood. Communicate clearly! The path to understanding leads to peace on your behalf as well as for others. In an age of information, connectivity, and digital communication; indeed, there is no excuse for doing otherwise.’
This is the exact reason why I started this blog, I wanted to be able to analyse and conceptualise thoughts, feelings and ideas rather than to blindly absorb it.
I am not suggesting that the women in the picture are oblivious to the meaning of their cause because obviously, a picture can only tell so much. But I sometimes feel as though people share visual and text-like comments for the wrong intention such as for validation, collectivism and conformity. This not about whether or not your point may be uninformed or hypocritical, but whether the right intent is there, especially for things as important as social causes.
It is great to share common values with a group people, but when it is only for visual appeal, aesthetics or attraction it then becomes ingenuine, it reduces the depth of your cause.
We catch people from all spectrums, politics, religion or anything really, who when questioned, have no genuine reason about why they have a particular standing on a particular cause or the meaning and significance of the t-shirt slogan in a real ever-so-complex world. It’s all just talking points from their peers or the media.
In conclusion, individualism! I am bothered that people chose to be ignorant in the conversation about favourite topics but are so quick to click post on their Facebook feed. I am bothered that ‘in the age of digital communication‘ open-minded discussions are turned down because of collectivism. It is the responsibility of us and others to explore and expand on what we absorb so that thoughts and opinions can be taken with all seriousness.
Do you have friends who you think ‘virtue signal’ on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms?