In Media Control Noam Chomsky writes about the ultimate goal of the public relations industry: to help industries and the government control the public mind. What is big industry is most afraid of? Activism.
People have to be atomized and segregated and alone. They’re not supposed to organize, because then they might be something beyond spectators of action. They might actually be participants if many people with limited resources could get together to enter the political arena. That’s really threatening.
When I first read this, I had a clear picture in my mind: scores of people, nowadays, sitting in front of their computers – reading Facebook, or political blogs – and feeling a synthetic sense of connectedness and activism. Myself included. Writing – or commenting – on a blog post about body image issues or creating a Facebook group to raise awareness on domestic violence does one thing: it raises awareness. But things stop there. You may have hundreds of members joining your FB group, thousands of visitors on your political blog, but the feeling of doing something, I will say this again, is synthetic. You’re sitting alone in a room in front of your computer, typing away. You are “segregated and alone.” And the real world, with all its rules, is often unaffected by that. That is why we need to reclaim the activism of the 20s, 60s and 70s. We need to regroup, to organize, to meet face to face and join groups of people who are actively working on improving issues dear to us.
So, here is a list of some of my favorite organizations, who are doing just that. Because a clever blog post on blog X will only get you this far. Think about joining their causes.
The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (U.S.). My heros. Thanks to their activism, Hasbro halted the production of Pussycat Dolls toys for little girls.
Girls Inc. (U.S.) “Picture the world through the eyes of a Girls Inc. girl. She belongs to a community that empowers her to pursue the biggest dreams she can dream. She is uplifted by the strength of a national organization that is committed to inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.”
Pink Stinks (U.K.) The campaign for real role models. “PinkStinks is a campaign and social enterprise that challenges the ‘culture of pink’ which invades every aspect of girls’ lives.” Their ultimate goal is to “influence marketeers and the media about the importance of promoting positive gender roles to girls.”
About-Face (U.S.) Their mission is to “equip women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect self-esteem and body image.”
Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (U.K.) “At WSFF, we believe in a society which encourages, enables and celebrates active women and girls.”
Women’s Forum Australia. A wonderful organization helping women on many issues – from health to body image and work. Their think tank created Faking It, a glossy magazine-style report that “explores issues around the objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture, with a focus on women’s magazines.”
And the list could go on and on. Will certainly write about other organizations in the future.
Remember the old saying: actions speak louder than words.