Daily Activism-Products to Boycott

Our generation, our era is known for it’s internet activism or “slactivism.”  We  prefer to call it easy activism.  We sign Change.org petitions, arrange groups on Facebook, and write emails to editors and politicians.  For those of you who are interested, I have Change.org petitions linked at the bottom of my Make a Change page.

One popular way to show a complaint with a company is boycotting their products.  Hit the companies in their profits, not the blogosphere.  It’s easy for us to write, but companies respond more to sales than to reviews.  Remember the fiasco with Bic For Her pens?   Despite the creative reviews by anonymous bloggers and Ellen Degeneris, Bic actually turned a profit, and they didn’t change their marketing strategy.

It wasn’t enough for us to write sarcastic reviews about how this plastic ink thing didn’t work as a tampon.  We need not to buy the products in the first place.  So here are other products to avoid.

Anything else to avoid?  Let us know in the comments!

Motivational Mondays-Reverse Psychology

I’m amazed by this.  As someone who loves libraries and public literacy, this project is awesome.

K.I.S.S.

Have you ever been to the grocery store trying to buy peanut butter?  There are shelves and shelves of peanut butter, different brands, different oil contents, different nut bases, and  different textures.  It’s exhausting.  And then you have to go finish the rest of your shopping list. In psychology, we call this the Paradox of Choice.  Too many choices or too much information slows us down.

But what does this have to do with social justice and activism?  Everything.  If you want to engage people, encourage them to support your goal, you need to be good at elevator pitches, and getting your point across quickly.  Also, you need to have an immediate suggestion for the person to take, a website to visit, a petition to sign, an event to attend, or a lifestyle change to make.

In true KISS fashion, keep it simple.  Fact.  Problem.  Step toward Solution.  30 seconds and you’re done.

Use complicated strategies for people who are already active in the movement, but if you want to make a broader impact, come up with simple steps and factoids for the general public to use.  People are truly good at heart, they just need a the incentive to take the first step.

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Just a Stereotypical Liberal?

Before starting this blog, I debated the merits of publicizing thoughts on feminism and social policy, especially in an  uncertain job market.  So I started posting anonymously, and I loved it.  I felt safe, like I could post anything, argue for what I believed in, and have a meaningful dialogue.  I knew the dangers of blogging about feminism under your real name; I saw what happened to Rebecca Watson, and Anita Sarkeesian.  Therefore, I decided to blog under cafeaulait, instead of my real name.

But in my youthful blog enthusiasm, I told a few friends that I had a blog and showed it to them.  When I showed a friend who works on Wall Street, he laughed.  He pointed out that the Ghandi quotation is overused to the point of cliche.  He’s right, but his valid criticism stung, and made me feel like a walking stereotype.

The truth is that I do believe in social justice.  And that involves believing in people, believing in their innate goodness, and believing that you can make a difference.  I believe in social justice because I have seen it work.

I have seen health clinics manifest from nothing out of sheer determination and hard work.  I have seen the offering of video games available expand to more female-friendly games.  I believe that one broke college graduate can change the perception of teaching in the United States, starting with nothing but a tiny apartment and a big idea, like Wendy Kopp, the CEO of TFA.But to those who don’t see the world like I do, I’m just an idealistic fool.

I am a latte liberal because I believe in social justice and because I have seen it work.  Not because I’m still too young or too naive to know better.

His words inspired a moment of doubt, and then a realization.  Speaking like I would to like-minded friends is not going to change conservative hearts.  My liberal roommate and my liberal coworkers will be inspired by the Ghandi quotation.  Unfortunately, those who don’t believe in the power of activism will dismiss the quotation as trite, overplayed pretty words.

He reminded me that portraying myself as a stereotypical latte-drinking liberal isn’t helping me spread the message that social justice matters.

I learned through my friend’s assessment, that I need to improve my communication skills.  Because he is happy with the status quo, and I believe that things can and should be better, I have to take the responsibility to learn how to better communicate with him and others like him.  After all, if I want change, I have to work for it, or else I’m not living up to my own mantras.

For now, I will try to reach to those who think similarly.   I will continue to blog as cafeaulait, and I will separate my blog life and my personal life.  In the meantime, I will work on improving my ability to communicate the importance of social justice and activism to more conservative family and friends, sharing techniques along the way.

If you have any advice on how to communicate with more conservative family and friends, leave tips in the comments!