Being a child of the sixties, I’ve been thinking a lot of late about one of the catchphrases of the era: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
And then I ran across the quote from Alice Walker that is currently festooning the head of this article. I think I like that version of the sentiment better. It’s not as accusing. It’s more welcoming. And by being less aggressive in tone, it makes it easier for others to look at it and think to themselves ‘have I been paying my rent like a good citizen of the planet?’ rather than raising a mental middle finger and saying ‘and you’re telling me this while wearing those shoes?’
As I contemplated all of this, along came some fabulous news from Brit Fat Activist Charlotte Cooper. Her Bad Art Collective has been accepted to be Artists in Residence at the Researching Feminist Futures symposium at the University of Edinburgh in September.
Their project is called Bombarded By Images a multi-media performance based installation.
Cooper et al are tired of the phrase ‘Bombarded by images’ used in so many cultural discussions. For one thing, they feel that ‘media’ gets used to describe an impenetrable monolith, while the fact is that media… well… covers a heck of a lot of things that are approached from radically different angles. What’s more, the Bad Art Collective have decided they can be a medium, too, and bombard the world with very different images of fat, of womanhood, of feminism, and of random ponies.
And you know what? They can. I can. You can. We all can.
I don’t care what your cause is. I’ve chosen several for myself, and I write about them, talk about them, donate to groups fighting for the causes that matter to me. Your causes may be quite different from mine. That’s no biggie to me. I’m not even that much bothered if our causes are in direct conflict. I will disagree with them, but I can still engage with you as a human being without rancor. Each of us must find our own beliefs that work for us as individuals, and then act on those beliefs as our consciences direct us.
If you’re worried that you can’t be an activist because you can’t devote your whole life to one cause or you don’t have a lot of money, don’t panic. Just read this article from last year at All Things Wildly Considered about activism. Then figure out what matters to you.
Whether you choose feeding the hungry, FA, feminism, literacy, drug abuse prevention/treatment, fighting a disease that has affected your life, your church, atheism, animal rights, your favorite political party, free speech, the care and feeding of attractive rugby players, something else, or half a dozen different causes at once, just get involved in something. Care. Engage.
We all have something to give. Each and every one of us will need help at some point in some way. It feels good to pay the rent.
And there is nothing more superfantastic than passion.