ACAD | Fibre

Area of Study Blog

Ask First Pt. 2

A plethora of individuals participating in activism and advocacy around sexual violence have made videos, vitamin charts, health etc about what is and is not consent. My all-time favorite is the video below which compares the experience of sexual consent with the experience of making someone tea and all the nuances involved with consent-based interaction.

A huge part of sexual violence change/awareness campaigns, ambulance as we know, is social media. There has been an explosion of “hashtag campaigns” some good examples of which are:

  • #BeenRapedNeverReported
  • #IBelieveYou
  • #redmylips
  • #YesAllWomen

What makes these so wonderful and powerful is the vastness and accessibility of the internet. Hashtag campaigns often go viral and we see a huge surge of people using these campaigns to tell their stories and give visibility to social causes. Visibility is incredibly important to social justice campaigns because often the populous at large does not know the full extent of these issues. Something I find myself forgetting rather often is this lack of knowledge. Because I work extensively on the topic of sexual violence, I am hyper aware of the statistics while many are not. Well then, why aren’t activists shouting the statistics from the rooftops? Unfortunately just spouting statistics is not a good tactic to spread messages of activism because it is hard for people to connect to those numbers. The beauty of hashtag campaigns is they make these messages very personal. There is a colossal difference in the impact of a message when it is a single statement of a statistic versus an actual example of a statistic. Much of this hashtag activism is to say “yes this is a massive problem, I have experienced it and so have all of these other people”. As we have seen time and time again is when one person stands up to tell their story, it creates a trickle that turns into a waterfall over time of others standing up and sharing their similar narratives.

Unfortunately there are certain drawbacks to social marketing. At Ask First one of my favorite presenters was Jennifer Dooley who works in social marketing. Her presentation spoke to the theories and methodologies behind social marketing and what makes successful and unsuccessful social marketing campaigns. Something she highlighted was the Stages of Change model which is broken into three parts:

  1. Core: immediate benefits
  2. Actual: behavior promoted
  3. Augmented: tangible objects/services

The average human attention span is about 7 seconds, so social marketing campaigns have to hit the mark very hard and very quickly in order to reach their targets. In the future I hope to deeply explore social marketing and merge some strategies with my art to have more of an impact on my own audience.

~ Madison