You’re Doing What? Why?

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The Wear All White for Women’s Rights movement (http://www.facebook.com/WearAllWhiteForWomensRights) is sponsoring an event on April 2nd that encourages people to wear all white clothing (or as much white as possible). We’ve even provided patterns for iron-on and do-it-yourself T-shirt logos. Honestly, I expected more hate mail than we’re getting. Except for a couple of fairly civil and respectful disagreements, most of our headaches due to combative postings are coming, not from opposition to what our ultimate goal is, but our initial step: getting as many people to wear all white on the same day.

Here’s my response to one such combative message:

<name redacted out of respect>, you are quite correct in that congressmen and senators will ignore a bunch of people in white. But keep in mind that every movement, every mass uprising against oppression, every attempt to change policy requires a certain critical mass. Socially speaking, that is what this movement is about.

The white clothing is not for the policy makers, but for us. It lets us know in a visual way that others share our viewpoints, and that they are willing to at least be publicly identified as someone who holds that opinion. When I see someone wearing all white on April 2, I know I can network with that person, I know that here is someone I can work with to fulfill the next step of the process.

This _is_ the first step in doing something. The first step in dealing with any problem is acknowledging it exists. Admitting to ourselves and to others in such a public way provides an impetus to action that may not otherwise exist. For those of us in areas where the purpose of this movement is…unpopular, publicly taking a stand is a huge step. For you it may be this is a silly and unnecessary part of the process, but for me and others in similar situations, this is a critical point. Please allow us the time it takes to catch up with the rest of you who are already so publicly committed that the only step remaining is writing personal letters to the people we voted in…and hopefully are about to vote out.

A little later we were dissed as being “slacktivists”. As you can imagine, this pushed a few people’s angry buttons. Our response, after the initial anger-in-response-to-insult bit, was:

<name redacted out of respect>, thank you for sharing your opinion. It’s great that you’re willing to really get into the thick of things and get your hands dirty. We’ll miss you April 2, but maybe you’ll lead the way on the next stage of the cause.

It did, however, get us thinking and looking around. Guess what we found! It turns out “slacktivists” provide some of the most meaningful support any cause could desire. Here’s an excellent illustrative article: Why Slacktivism is Underrated.

 

Here’s an additional viewpoint on why we’re doing a visibility protest: Why a Visibility Protest?

No Wonder

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I was driving home, when on the sign outside a church that announces the sermon topic for the week, I saw: “Beware of your thoughts, they might become words”. Wow. It took me a while to get over the shock of seeing that. When I finally did, my first thought was “No wonder people are starting to be okay with a police state.”

I may not always agree with the churches in the area, but I’ve always respected them. I’m not so sure I can do that for this church any more. It seems the pastor believes that thinking and acting are the same thing, that if you disagree with someone, you will inevitably come to dislike them. Carried further, this simple statement is the foundation of George Orwell’s “thought crime”. If you think it, the belief goes, you will act on it. So to prevent disrupting the status quo for good or ill, the act must be stopped at the thought. And what makes it really scary is that people listen to their pastor/minister/priest/etc. They put faith in what the person says, and try to follow the strictures set down by such an authority.

I realize that, since I do not attend that church, I do not know what the sermon is actually about. On the other hand, when putting something on display to draw people in, it is probably best not to announce that you will try to control their thoughts and beliefs. Just down the street, there is another church that has as it’s announcement: “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” This, to me, is a much better draw. It says to me that God will take care of you and give you the tools you need to face the unrest in the world. I don’t attend that church either, but on the whole, they tend to be more positive in their approach. I don’t always agree with the messages they put up; but then, agreement isn’t necessary to get along–respect is. And they have my respect.