I’m not that into activism. I know that may sound odd because who doesn’t like a good cause. Activists, you know the kind, their uniform consists of scratchy, uncomfortable-looking clothes and feminist slogan tees, all donning, try (too) hard, blunt-cut, ice-creamish, pastel coloured hair. You’ll hear their Doc Martens stomping, and drowning cries of ‘keep your rosaries off our ovaries’, before you see them, tree lovers who consider Stephen’s Green total wilderness. You know them – the ‘independent thinkers’ still being supported by mummy and daddy, the feminists who wouldn’t wash a plate for themselves. Or as I like to call them, the SJWs – Social Justice Warriors, their armour consisting of piercings and enamel badges. But these soldiers are no longer just confined to fanatical, left wing college societies. Oh –no, they’re all around us, drowning our social media feeds, plastered on the covers of our Sunday papers.
Only last week, I ended up beside one at a dinner party. She swapped her flannel shirt for a Clinton-esque, scarlet power suit. During the meal I am brought up to speed on every political and social cause under the sun, that Donald Trump is slowly chaining every American woman to the kitchen sink and how the American feminist is a dying species. Not pausing for breath, she relays how Gucci killed 150 kangaroos for the S/S show - I thank God for deciding against wearing my leather jacket to dinner and I hope that those piercing eyes can’t read my puzzlement as I wonder how I missed that kangaroo had replaced snakeskin on the wish list of the fashion pack. I turn to the woman on my other side and ask how her new baby is, but before she can open her mouth the SJW is back at it. ‘Cheryl Sandberg only took two weeks maternity leave’ and suddenly before we can lean out, me and the new mother are experts on gender quotas and the ‘ever-increasing pay gap’. After two hours of nodding and mmmhmming, I’m exhausted (surely someone should take on this cause). Once a political way of thinking, I realise that the liberal movement has now, like a wailing baby drowned everyone else out. Once abstract thoughts have now become mainstream, and we (or anyone else) couldn’t get a word in.
We, no doubt, have moved away from the days where politics was part of one’s private business. Both religious and political beliefs remained sealed behind closed doors for fear of offending others. Some of the greatest leaders of history have brought social issues to the fore in all of our lives. As the rallying slogan from the feminist movement in the late 1960s said, ‘The personal is political’, but the question is, have we gone too far? Or have we moved on at all?
Rosa Parks didn’t need a banner or a megaphone when she took a seat on a city bus in Alabama. Gandhi didn’t shout or scream when he made salt in Dandi. Martin Luther King Jr. uttered those famous words without a single hashtag and over 200 NFL players knelt down in an act of non-violent, civil disobedience. Our society today is littered with people who compare themselves to these heroes. Though history may prove me wrong, time may show that the SJW did indeed need a megaphone voice to boom out from the neon bob, her warnings that pan-sexual , transgender, mass-religious educated youths may be driven to disembowelling stray cats behind NAMA owned estates could indeed have proved true….
And here was I just worried about climate change. Maybe I should have taken the quiz below.
How Liberal Are You ?
On Repeal the 8th Protest Day, do you :
A – Wake up full of energy and add the finishing touches to your 5 metre long banner. But, nightmare- you’ve run out of fuschia glitter so your stencilled uterus looks more like an angry baby and each protruding fallopian tube resembles flames coming from his ears. Phew ! Not a waste – could be adjusted for the anti-fur march next week on Grafton St # buzzing.
B – Spend half an hour in a total frenzy. You need an insta-perfect outfit that screams independent empowered woman (#sheroic). The dilemma between your ‘Repeal’ Helen Steele shirt and your ‘we should all be Feminists’ Dior slogan tee, is totes real. You decide on the Dior, don’t want to be basic and pair it with J-crew skinny jeans and Valentino flats, super chic for the FROW – oops, I mean march #busygirl.
C – Have to grab a sandwich quickly on my lunch break to hear the government talk on the upcoming referendum. Hope the street is not blocked again by activists …#here’swishing.
If you answered :
Mostly A’s: Check up the Oxford English Dictionary.... Yes , there is a real difference between ‘Repeal’ and ‘Repent’
Mostly B’s: Lay off the social media and how about a history book tonight instead.
Mostly C’s: Must try harder (if you get time).
Molly Parmeter is 17 years old and is a fifth year student at Kilkenny College. She lives in Athy, Co. Kildare and is interested in current affairs and politics. She was an Iveagh scholar in the Department of Foreign Affairs (2017) and attended Euroscola in the European Parliament as a winner of the Rotary Ireland Youth Leadership competition this year. Her book "Molly's Style Icons" (Londubh Books) was published in 2013.