Inactivism. Slacktivism. Whatever you want to call it, the terms refer to people who want to make social change while doing the absolute bare minimum (or nothing at all but think they’re helping).
To actual activists, this can be frustrating; they’re out there “pounding the pavement” so to speak, volunteering and doing the dirty work while others sit idly by yet demand change. And while we definitely think that hard work needs to be done, we get it — life gets in the way, and who has time for commitment, amirite or amirite?
But there are ways you can make social change without really trying — truly! Even though you should still totally consider volunteering or donating if you’re into that sort of thing, you can change the world without breaking your back (or bank).
Here are five easy ways you can take slacktivism to the max…tivism (don’t hurt us):
1. Request Your Local Library Buy Inclusive Books
Ever wonder how libraries obtain their books? Aside from donating them yourself (which is also an option), libraries have request forms where patrons can ask the institution to purchase books for their readers. If you want your neighborhoods to have books with better representation and diversity, start by requesting that your library buy them! We have some recommendations, but feel free to request your favorite reads as well!
2. Get Professional Photos Taken
The average person doesn’t really hire a photographer all that often — usually only during engagement or wedding shoots — but it’s important to have your photos taken. Why? Aside from preserving history for posterity, photographers often put your photos on their websites, which means that representation is getting out there. Potential customers frequently find photographers through Pinterest, Google image search, and other routes (like cake shops). Additionally, companies are always looking for images to use as stock photos, so if you’re comfortable with your face floating around the internet, find a photographer and get snapping!
3. Invest In Yourself
Now this one takes work, sure, but it doesn’t take any additional work to make social change. If you’re investing in yourself, be it working out, updating your wardrobe, or getting a new haircut, it not only does wonders for your health and self-esteem but will impact how others around you feel about your race/gender combination. While it does sound kind of sh*tty that you have to look your best as a means to combat stereotypes, it’s scientifically proven that it tends to work. But you should take care of yourself anyway for your health, so there’s that.
4. Got a Cute Story/Photo? Submit It!
Got a cute engagement story? Maybe your baby did something adorable? Or have some silly photos from a funny anecdote? Share it with the world! Websites and social media channels are constantly looking for the next viral hit — why not yours? Sites like How He Asked and Bored Panda rely completely on user-submitted content, so if you have a few minutes, why not sit down and write about something interesting that happened in your life? It’ll get in front of their user base and then BOOM — representation, baby!
5. Follow Activists, Share Content, and Click Things
Okay, so we promise we’re not crazy. “How is sharing a video or clicking an article supposed to help anybody?” is what you’re thinking, right? And on its own it seems a bit silly, but understand that in today’s world, clicks, views, shares, and likes can go a long way. Clicking on an article (much like this one) can ensure that the website gets paid if it’s clicked enough times. Liking an activist can help them rack up their like count and make them more prominent. Sharing a video can ultimately help it go viral.
In fact, a friend shared the Pepper Zhang video to a Facebook group; we saw it from that group, and the video inspired us to write an article about the project. That article helped the Kickstarter get noticed by dozens of other outlets, and the resulting publicity enabled Pepper Zhang to raise over $30,000 — six times its original goal! So click and share away!
Activism doesn’t always happen on a grand scale. You don’t have to be a person with millions of followers who hang on your every word as you spit truth. You have the ability to make change and impact others in your daily routine. Sure, you could make more change if you tried harder, either by volunteering or donating to worthy causes, but there are other ways you can contribute as well. By being aware of the small actions you take in your every day life, you can act on them to make big change.
Now go out there and fight the small battles, and maybe one day work up to fighting the big ones!