Good to see you again, for the fourth time today! Sorry for clogging your feed, but something bad just happened—or maybe it’s been happening for hundreds of years—and I need you to know that the person who posted me has a cursory understanding of the problem. They know it exists, and also, one point about it. See, I’m an Aesthetically-Pleasing Instagram Graphic About Social Justice, and I’m here to do absolutely nothing.
I’m a gorgeous infographic about a horrible crime, citing a statistic nobody will fact-check but plenty will share with their like-minded peers, suggesting that anyone who doesn’t already agree with them “hit that unfollow button,” because their ally-ship begins with spreading awareness and also ends with spreading awareness.
I’m a hip font on an eye-catching background. I’m a cake that says “end white supremacy.” I’m a black square. I’m a pen ink drawing of lady tits. My face shifts, but my message does not: “acknowledge this issue by liking this post. End of message.”
Suck it, Woody Guthrie, this pastel motif kills fascists.
I’m something that isn’t usually rainbow-colored, but rainbow-colored. Get it? Sure, the people in power who make life worse for LGBTQ+ youth on a daily basis won’t see me no matter how many hashtags get added to me, and in all likelihood, neither will any LGBTQ+ youth. But I’m not for them. I’m for the person who posted me, and their friends, and the people they’d like to have sex with. And while we’re talking rainbows, have you noticed just how white this person’s entire friend group seems to be? Nope, because you’ve already scrolled away—perfect!
I’m the next evolution of protest art, as long as we define “art” as “a little bit of graphic design” and “protest” as “a gesture you make in between stalking your nemesis from middle school and shopping for sneakers in targeted ads.”
I’m about how the future belongs to artists (I do not include a credit for the artist who made me).
I’m a well-intentioned shortcut. In the time it takes to come up with an original, researched, personal and action-based post, the world will move on to the next tragedy. So I become a placeholder for that week when we cared about that thing, and grids become issue graveyards littered with aesthically-appropriate memorials to crises we keep forgetting until another victim brings us scrambling back to post about how “this has to end.” In fact, it has to end so much that it doesn’t matter how complicated or nuanced “this” is. Just agree that it should end, or you’re evil, and also bad and wrong.
I’m powerful. One time, a white supremacist wanted to do a mass shooting, but then he saw me and was like, “nah,” I bet.
Oh, while you’re here, can I get you to take a look at my caption, where a privileged person has unpacked their feelings in what might be the worst-written, most navel-gazing paragraph of all time? You’ll notice that at the end you’re directed to their bio which will take you to a LinkTree and at the bottom of that is a link to a google doc of resources and one of those is a place you can donate money which goes to a foundation which will give that money to a lawyer and then eventually the lawyer helps the disabled… become lawyers? I think? No one’s ever actually reached the end of these directions so I’m not totally sure what happens but luckily, just by driving up my engagement, you’ve done your part for the day. Good for you!
No, you don’t have to Like me, but didn’t you get the memo that silence equals violence? And I’m not silence; I’m solidarity (with the other people posting me).
But hey, at least I’m not the fucking balloon guy.