Little Drops of Water form a Mighty Ocean
In my local community just like any other community there are particular barriers to creating change. When it comes to woman’s empowerment most members of my community feel like all the battles have been won. Women are able to participate fully in society, we have freedom to choose what to do with our lives. However what many people don’t see are the symptoms of sick society. The high rates of sexual and domestic violence against women mean that the fight for change is not over. The high rates of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders mean that women are being forced in to a mould that is deeply troubling, another symptom, suggesting that more needs to be done. The lack of opportunities available for indigenous women, for low income women and for queer women means that the fight is definitely not over. However because people think that change has been made, that all that needs to be done has been done means they react strongly to people who tell them this is not so. Vitriol is often spewed at women activists; naming and shaming tactics are used for politically sensitive issues, such as pro – choice activists’ names being posted on the internet. The main barrier however is that most people simply do not want change. They are happy and comfortable with the status quo because it benefits them.
None of these challenges and barriers are insurmountable. When you know that the battle is not won, that it is an ongoing struggle for freedom and equality then it becomes easy to speak from the heart and shine a light on the sickness in society. The main weapon we have is never shutting up, always speaking out when we see injustice. This can be difficult sometimes as many people don’t want to hear what we have to say, but we use whatever means we have. Our blogs, pulse wire, faceboook, twitter, all of these mediums give us both space and voice. When no one else wants to listen we tell our stories to each other passing them on so that they are not ignored or forgotten and so that our collective voice amplifies the tale, eventually making it so that people have to listen because our voice is so loud.
There will always be barriers and challenges to social justice and we will always find our own ways around them doing our own small parts that together add up to a resounding whole. Online communities give us a way to synthesise the many small pieces of activism we all do every day. In the words of Melissa McEwan, what we do individually is like a “teaspoon against a tidal wave” but it is in all our teaspoons working together that we are strong and online communities give us space in which we can work together and strengthen our movement in ways that would not be possible otherwise. This allows us over time to overcome any challenge and barrier that comes our way