Today is the 21st Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Today is about remembering Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31; Maryse Leclair, 23; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Maryse Laganière, 25; Anne-Marie Lemay, 22; Sonia Pelletier, 28; and Annie Turcotte, 21. Killed simply because they dared to be women; killed because they dared to go to a technical university. This day is also about action – that is what I want to address.
Lately on Facebook there has been a campaign to have people change their profile pictures to a cartoon from their childhood as a way to combat childhood abuse. There are many of these campaigns on the internet be it for cancer or other diseases and issues. There is no shortage of causes to support and petitions to sign. Now there are large corporations offering money to charities by getting them to vote – like the Pepsi Challenge. Thousands of people go to these sites to vote. Every time people vote they see the logo of the corporation. Blogs and charities use the name of the company while getting their supporters to vote. It costs the corporation a small amount of money for huge advertising spin-off.
All of these activities can collectively called ‘slacktivism.’ Basically slacktivism is a term that describes actions like the ones I mentioned above which take little effort and do nothing except make the person doing them feel good. Slactivism is not the way to address the very serious issue of violence against women or any other issue.
I have a challenge for everyone – the next time you are thinking of doing a slactivist action try to think of something active you can do. Donating money is great but not the best solution. Becoming involved is a great way to actually do something. If you have a cause you are passionate about find an agency doing that work. Join their board of directors or volunteer in some other way. You will make great connections with other like-minded people while you are making a contribution. Try it and see how good it feels!