What happens when trendy social media practices grip society so much so that they practically end up spear-heading social campaigns?
One must have noticed how ‘selfies’, i.e. self-clicked images, have become a fad amongst the younger generation. On streets, in metros, inside trial rooms and washrooms – every corner in the world has now become a potential “selfie-corner”. Forget about bedroom privacy; one can’t even expect answering nature’s call in peace, without (un-?)intentionally photo-bombing somebody’s photo-session.
Not that an obsession of clicking away at a speed of 60 images per minute is a particularly bad thing – it is just your way of telling the whole world how you are your personal favourite. No blood, no foul, I suppose.
But take the selfie craze on a more serious level, and it changes the whole scenario.
Recently, Harayana’s Bibipur village came up with ‘Selfie Against Dowry’ campaign, wherein couples can post self-clicked pictures on social media, showing how blissful their married life is – and how they are in no danger of breaking off their marriage vows due to unreasonable dowry demands. All in all, it is quite an appealing idea because they are using a method that is most likely to catch people’s fancy.
However, at the same time, it is also raising questions about social changes that are being projected through such initiatives.
What has the world come to, if governments and high-reaching individuals have to lure the people into participating in campaigns and protests through cheap marketing gimmicks? Not that using selfies as a bait is a bad approach, but why isn’t the youth acting upon sheer impulse? Why are we not raising our voice against injustice without being offered a fancy incentive? Why are we acting like slugs when we should be passionately involved in protest marches and similar such activities?
And why is it that despite using such extravagant measures, these initiatives have still not brought out a favourable response from the masses? The widely-appreciated ‘Selfie With Daughter’ campaign ended with a television star being brutally abused online for voicing her scepticism regarding selfies putting a stop to female foeticide. Was her opinion that ‘disrespectful’?
How can one expect pictures to determine social change in a country that is as messed up in their thinking as India?
Furthermore, it is also important to understand that using selfies as a magnet for public attention is highly and unabashedly elitist in nature. How can one expect every individual to own a smartphone when thousands are going to bed on an empty stomach? Are we not initiating and supporting a “social” cause that is, ironically, leaning more towards a marketing strategy? Who is the Government trying to fool, by encouraging such a baseless and degrading approach to serious issues in this country?
Indeed, as Richa Chadha rightly said in response to ‘Selfie With Daughter’ campaign, “The problems of the female – dowry, sexual harassment, eve teasing and others – cannot be solved by selfie or anything like that.”
Therefore, our #QuestionOfTheDay for our readers is — How far will a selfie go in measuring the depth of social change? Is it really that useful a stratagem as the political leaders think it to be?
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.