Activism; the guilt of not doing enough.

This article starts from a feeling I have experienced for a long time. While feminism and social justice have always been causes close to my heart, it has always been difficult to be “active enough”. I am surrounded by activists that participate in demonstrations on a regular basis, belong to organisations such as UNICEF, Amnesty International, etc, do collages, offer conferences to educate people… 

You might be reading this and think “well they are writing for the FCA; that is activism”; it is; but it does not always take away the guilt of not writing enough or not engaging enough. When my family are being racist, classists or sexist, I do not always confront them. When I see sexist behaviour, I do not always call people out. I rarely participate in demonstrations; I have social anxiety so being in overcrowded places makes me very uncomfortable and I have ADHD which makes me very easily overwhelmed if there are many things going on around me.

So, today, I am writing this post, maybe as a journal entry or as a friendly pep talk, I would give to myself or to people that feel guilty for not “doing enough”. 

First of all, you never have to justify yourself for not going to a demonstration or not writing or not calling out people since activists will not ask you to justify yourself. Moreover, people that might ask you “what do you do for this cause” are most probably people you are having an argument with. Like the famous “Oh well you’re vegan to save the planet but you have a smartphone!”, ok good argument, monkey brain. 

Secondly, if you feel this guilt, you are aware that you care for a cause. That is already something you can be proud of. You might have millions of reasons not to be active and all of them are valid, it is okay to need time for yourself when you do not engage, it is okay to protect yourself from confrontation. However, it is not okay to go over your boundaries because you feel pressured to. 

Activism is hard, caring for a cause is hard. It is ok to feel mentally or physically drained and to need to step out. There is nothing wrong with preserving yourself. Your (mental) health comes before anything else. 

Now, if you feel like you want to do more but do not know where to start; here is a list of things that count as being active in a way for a cause and can help you to realise how much you are already doing or small things you can do.

  • Educating yourself on a topic (reading, watching a video, a movie, listening to someone talk about it, listening to a podcast)
  • Talking to people about that cause (that can be informing someone about it or sharing your thoughts with a friend)
  • Engaging with social media content about that cause. 
  • Correcting people when they are being casually sexist/ racist/ homophobic 
  • Participating to organisation events for the public (without being part of the organisation)
  • Going to demonstrations 
  • Being part of an organisation
  • Writing for a cause 

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