So, how do you define an activist? Because just saying that someone is “vegan” or “feminist” or “woke” doesn’t really entail how one qualifies for those labels.
Okay, so the term activist is so… broad. I feel like as soon as you announce that you stand for something, like “I’m against harming animals, so I’m vegan!” people come at you claiming that your actions are wrong and that you aren’t “vegan enough”. Like, sure you don’t eat meat or animals products, but you use non-vegan shampoo! Shame! (I’m NOT vegan, just to clarify, but I feel like those who are, even those who are only eating vegan, are taking a really big step. It takes a lot of planning, privilege, and will power to be able to be a vegan, so kudos to those trying.)
On the flip side of things, I find myself being someone who also revokes people of their “woke” status. Remember when Kendall did that Pepsi commercial, and everyone was enraged? Yeah, yikes. Twitter attacked her, people “cancelled” her, and here’s the thing. I agree that the commercial was super insensitive to the political, racial climate around protesting; those are some issues no amount of Pepsi can fix. But, like, what did we expect from someone like Kendall Jenner?
We scare people away when they try to join activism but do it incorrectly. If you decided to identify as a feminist, but I yelled at you for laughing at one sexist joke, you might not be too keen on the label anymore. You might even go the opposite direction, and talk trash about feminism, which nobody wants. But if I said, “Hey, I know that you are a feminist and I’m grateful for that. But, I think it’s important not to laugh at sexist jokes, because it just encourages them, and upholds the cycle of sexist behavior.” You might rethink, and agree with me. I’m going to be honest. When I started learning about activism, my first attempts at being “woke” were a little weak, and probably a little insensitive. I wasn’t doing “enough”. I’m still not doing enough, though. Until the issues are gone, we are never doing enough. But don’t scare away the people that are trying to do the right thing. Correct them, guide them, criticize them constructively. But don’t demonize them. We need them.