Performative activism is a harmful type of activism in which you don’t necessarily care about the movement or cause you are protesting for, instead, you are just doing it to make yourself more liked or popular. The term is often referred to as ‘slacktivism’. So, how does this negatively impact movements? Well, I’m sure lots of you will remember when people began posting black squares on their Instagram to raise awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement. However, this was not very effective as most people doing it didn’t fully understand the meaning behind it, causing the Black Lives Matter hashtag to be spammed with black squares, making it harder for people to educate themselves. But this is just one example of how performative activism damages movements. Feminism is an idea that has been around for centuries, and the overall goal is to achieve equality between all genders. This means that not only does it help women, but it also helps men. How many times have you been in an argument with someone, and you are talking about women’s issues and they reply with ‘men struggle too’? Lots of people assume that feminism is about tearing down men, but that is simply not true. ‘Men's struggles' should be its own conversation, not just to be used as a point in an argument to shut down feminists. Feminism is about equality and understanding that men face struggles too.
Social media has had a huge effect on feminism. While it has been able to give women a voice and allow them to raise awareness about a lot of issues, it has also become a way to gain social capital and popularity. Many popular creators are urged by fans to speak out on issues such as feminism, and often do minimal research and end up spreading false information as a result. Yet, people have heard what they want to hear and aren’t interested in the actual message being spread, simply the fact that there is a message out there. Performative activism has been damaging to society and the feminist movement for too long, and it is about time that we try and make a real change that propels us forward into a world with more equality. The change starts with rallies, protests and petitions, not a black square on your Instagram story.