2.10.17

An Open Letter To Irish Influencers & Bloggers: I'm Sick & Tired Of Your Silence. #repealthe8th


"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
- Desmond Tutu

My eighth blogging anniversary is in 10 days. I've been involved in this industry since my teenage years but my love and respect for it wavers regularly, as you're all well aware by now. Whether it relates to my general enthusiasm to work or my mental health, it's generally always a 'personal' factor that leads to a decline in my performance and content.

However, 2017 has been different. Yes, college came first early on in the year and I took a break from Thunder and Threads and cut down on social media. Afterwards, though, another prevalent reason came to the forefront that has been directly affecting blogging for me since: silence.

Silence? The silence from my peers over certain topics has burst my bubble. It has deflated me. It has made me feel ashamed and somewhat embarrassed to be merely associated with this industry that I have so long been involved in and loved.

This post will address that; mainly focusing on the Irish blogging and influencer industry and their silence relating to our abortion rights crisis and Repeal the 8th. If my thoughts and words seem somewhat disjointed, apologies. I'm mentally exhausted but feel the need to get these thoughts down.

-

2016 saw the world change dramatically before a lot of our generation's eyes. Between human rights dismantling worldwide, global terrorism, fascism on the rise and closer to home, Irish women's abortion rights struggle becoming illuminated under a brighter spotlight - 2016 woke a lot of us up.

Not bloggers though. Or influencers. Or Youtubers. The globe's struggles seemed to have gone amiss for many of them and continue to do so.

The silence from my peers in the blogging and social media world confuses and upsets me daily. We have each worked hard on and attracted influential online platforms, that people venture to to hear our words, thoughts and recommendations. Somehow, human rights and tragedy don't fit into those platforms though for the majority - despite the influence to help and educate at hand.

Today's youth look at bloggers and social media influencers quicker than they do television celebrities or pop stars. We have a bigger clout at our disposal, yet it goes to waste. Every single day.

I have no respect for your silence. 

-

I've talked about Ireland's abortion rights crisis on here before and discuss it constantly on social media so I'm sure many of you reading this are aware of the situation. If not, let me summarise: it's currently ILLEGAL to have an abortion in Ireland. Free, safe and legal abortion access is not provided for women* (people* - we must remember to keep our language inclusive!), despite it being a basic healthcare option for most worldwide.

Ireland's 8th amendment, heavily influenced by archaic religious ideals, forces women to go through with pregnancies against their will. Myself and thousands of others campaign tirelessly to REPEAL THE 8TH and offer people a safe CHOICE and bodily autonomy. (More information here.)

We hold annual March for Choice protests across the country and worldwide, to elevate our voice. The main march occurring in Dublin city: our most recent one was on Saturday September 30th.




The pressure has been rising over the last few years relating to abortion, since the preventable and horrific death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012 - which was the straw that broke the camel's back for many, so to speak. The candlelight vigil held in her memory was my first abortion rights protest and it changed the course of my political life and feminist thinking.

Irish voices are crucial in gaining awareness and support of this issue at the moment, obviously, particularly in the lead up to next year's referendum. 2015's Marriage Referendum is a perfect example of how social media can encourage voters and spread education for the better and directly influence the outcome of a referendum. The same applies for Repeal the 8th.

The silence regarding human rights and global tragedies, that I witness daily, coming from the Irish blogging and social media community, despite this happening on our doorstep, disgusts me to my core. How ignorant a community have we become, that we prioritise following count or financial gain, over human rights?! 

It's inhumane. It's uninspiring. It's wrong.

I have heard and read every excuse in the book coming from the silent online Irish crowd over Repeal the 8th. Whether it's "too political" for them, too "off brand", they "don't know enough about it" or they're simply afraid of "pissing off followers/ brands". It's all bullshit.

1. Human rights aren't something you can quickly label as "controversial politics". They're not us vs. them, they affect every single human being on this planet, including you. Whether you're a 100K-famous Instagram celebrity or a homeless woman on the street.

2. The information relating to Repeal the 8th is there, it's being discussed daily. Your lack of education on it is intentional ignorance. Google it. Twitter search it. Ask people about it. 

3. Why would you want people or brands following you, that'd oppose a human right? Do you want someone following your page and admiring you, who'd refuse the right to a safe, free and legal abortion to a fellow human being? Do you want to earn money and collaborate with a brand who'd rather people like Savita die in hospital, than have abortion access that'd save their lives? 

4. Finally, I understand some people mightn't feel confident enough to express their opinions on certain topics but ACKNOWLEDGEMENT is easy and accessible for all. If you can't find the words to express your support or awareness, why not retweet or repost others who do? 

-

It's not just Irish influencers who are remaining silent on this topic unfortunately, it's our UK friends too. Despite (financially-able) Irish women travelling over to the UK to access abortion, I've yet to see more than a handful of my British, so-called feminist, peers even acknowledge Repeal the 8th. 

Irish women's struggle is EVERY woman's struggle. Remember that.

I've linked my UK peers to information, I've tagged them in solidarity marches happening in their cities and I've asked them to discuss our situation. Very few even respond to me, which is disheartening to say the least. 

Is our struggle in Ireland too off-brand for you? Do your Irish sisters not deserve a voice in the very country they seek the procedure from?

I have no respect for your silence. 




Complacency and intentional ignorance is dangerous. You're basically telling your peers and impressionable followers that silence is okay, that it's acceptable to continue to talk about material things over human rights or tragedy and that ignorance is bliss.

Saturday's March for Choice was our biggest yet. The entire country was talking about it. Yet, how did SO MANY influencers continue to Snapchat and Instagram their way throughout the day without even a speck of acknowledgement? It boggles my mind.

Our content is important. I'm not saying the likes of fashion or beauty are ridiculous, I love makeup as much as the next person BUT human rights should come before these topics or AT LEAST have a place alongside them. Why couldn't so many Irish influencers discuss their usual content, alongside acknowledging history being made on the streets of Ireland for even ONE DAY? 

I can't fathom how a person can intentionally choose to not discuss or address such information, especially when it directly affects them, their family, their friends and their followers. It is genuinely beyond any level of my comprehension and I'm sick of it. Saturday's influencer silence has left me speechless.

I have lost so much respect for this industry and 90% of my peers over the last year or so, that when people ask what I do for a living, I wince. I'm ashamed to even associate myself with an industry that is notorious for fooling followers and painting over such crucial issues at hand.

I'm calling it out and asking those of you who are big or small in this ever-growing industry to do better. Be on the right side of history and prioritise your rights and your voice over a lipstick or following count for once. Your ignorance is nothing to admire or to encourage. 

History has its eyes on you and every single person who chooses to remain silent. If your silence is dictated by money or fame, you need to revisit your morals and ask yourself why you think this way. 
Who are you influencing exactly?

DO BETTER.  EDUCATE YOURSELF. SPEAK UP. USE YOUR VOICE.

I have no respect for your silence. 







SHARE:
© THUNDER AND THREADS. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig