parenting babble

#StopTheBeautyMadness (Another Hashtag Aimed at Change) Misses the Mark

It’s provocative. But will it make you actually do anything the second you’re done looking at it? When Shonda Rhimes addressed Dartmouth College’s class of 2014 at their June 8 commencement ceremony, she warned that “a hashtag is not a movement.”
“Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator said of such recent social media phenomenons as #YesAllWomen and #BringBackOurGirls. “I love them. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. For me, it’s ‘Game of Thrones.’”
There’s a new hashtag, #StopTheBeautyMadness, that would like to join the list of top-of-mind social media trends, although in a bit of a loftier way. all women,” writes Bustle’s Marie Southard Ospina. Or, more specifically, all women “who have ever felt judged, mocked, over-sexualized or preyed upon for being different.” (So, yeah, pretty much all women. And of course there’s a requisite Facebook page for women “who want to share their ‘as-is’ selfies, where they celebrate their natural beauty and uniqueness.”
“At the end of the day,” writes Marie Southard Ospina, “it’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of people and a lot of work to truly combat the way humans treat other humans. But it’s campaigns like these that make change seem feasible. And not just feasible, but within our reach.”
To which I say, really? To me, it makes them seem less likely to happen. If a hashtag is what we’re hanging our hopes on, we’re all in serious trouble. The mission of the Livestrong Foundation (which you’ll remember as being wildly beloved until Lance’s popularity took a nosedive) is to “empower the cancer community to address the unmet needs of cancer survivors” by encouraging “collaboration, knowledge-sharing and partnership.” Basically, a big ol’ support group. That sounds lovely, moving, and profoundly kind. But as someone who recently went through a bout with cancer, I’d much rather the over $500 million that the Livestrong Foundation has raised went towards actual research for a cure so there are fewer survivors to support because more people aren’t actually getting cancer in the first place. Less talking, more doing. Multiply that by 25 ads in lots of publications and imagine how many girls you can actually talk to. This might make you feel good and girl power-y, but what have you really done in the end? Are you asking a teacher or preacher or friend? Are you confiding in anyone based on this hashtag or ad? If Robin Rice put her efforts toward any of that — and made herself or a team of people like her available for the cause in cities and towns across the country, that would be something worthy of a conversation. But stop the madness of thinking the popularity of a hashtag will do it for you. More from Meredith on Babble:
Raise Your Hand If You Agree With This Solution to Breastfeeding in Public
Fifth Grader Invents Gadget to Prevent Children from Being Forgotten in Cars
Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the op-ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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