I don't know why I let these memes bother me as much as I do.
Perhaps it is the sheeple nature of it all. Perhaps it is my general distaste for this lack of questioning of anything that appears online. It ranks right up there with me with the urban legends and hoaxes that fill my mailboxes. Well, not so much now as I have most people on my email list trained. Except my mom, but really how do you tell your mother to stop sending email hoaxes to you. I'm just happy she's comfortable with a computer and other technology.
Right now it is the "Post a cartoon character to your profile to end child violence thingy" that is driving me bonkers. Okay interesting experiment on social networking I suppose. See just how far you can take it. But unfortunately people actually believe they are "taking a stand" or "raising awareness" against child violence.
So my question is: How exactly? Really. How exactly is this taking a stand? Raising awareness? Is it raising awareness that the problem exists? Does it educate us as to the scope of the problem? That there is a problem? Does it help us find resources to help? Show us how to volunteer as foster parents? To report abusers to the police or social workers? What exactly does it do? Exactly.
Does it make people who are violent towards children suddenly realize the error of their ways? "Don't hit me mommy. Don't you remember you posted Wile. E. Coyote on your facebook profile a month ago?"
I'll submit that it does none of that. I'll submit that this, like the colour of your bra meme and others before it, does one thing. And that is give us some amorphous feel good feeling about ourselves. Look at me, I'm helping end child abuse.
And cartoons? In an anti-violence campaign? Look, I don't believe that watching cartoons will lead to violence, but they are (especially the ones from my childhood and earlier) probably about the most violent genre there is. The intent, as I gather, is to remind us of the happier time of our childhood. Now I can't say for sure, because I had a childhood that was violence free. But through my work I met a lot of kids who couldn't say the same. I'm guessing that the last thing some of them want to remember is that childhood.
So if you are out to make a stand and raise awareness in this cause, or any other cause, do just that. Post resources that will actually raise awareness. Volunteer your time with social services or another organization that works in the field. Perhaps one that tries to help victims of violence and sexual violence. If you abuse children, stop. Go get help. It might take a lot of help, but it'll take a damn lot more than posting a photo of Bullwinkle and Rocky on your profile picture.