Thursday, December 10, 2009

activism in the twilight community

I swear I am not an activist snob. Just because I happen to thank my lucky stars and God every day that I work for, which is one of the greatest nonprofit organizations ever, it doesn't mean I can't also appreciate good organizing that originates in a fan community.

In fact, I respect it! It's pretty beautiful that a community decides to organize. And make no mistake, this is a juggernaut of a community. Surprisingly diverse, surprisingly well-connected over the blogosphere. Enough that when there were some upsetting paparazzi pics taken of one (or more? I haven't been following this closely) of the Twilight stars, fans conjured up a grassroots action to prove their displeasure: photos of themselves with their hands over their faces to symbolize not wanting a picture taken.

I thought it was a fabulous demonstration of the community in action, mostly women, standing up for their beliefs and values.

Some even made fun of the paparazzi pics with their own fabulously snarky take on the situation. Even while participating in the organized action.

But apparently there was a backlash within the community, where some thought this was an overreaction and some thought "there's nothing we can do to change the paparazzi."

Personally, I think that's just making excuses. Now everyone is free to think what they want to think about paparazzi behavior, but I think it's pretty well-rooted in fact to say they do what they do because they want to make lots of money from their pictures. It's pure supply and demand incentive. Therefore, in fact, there IS something people can do to change paparazzi behavior, and that is to not put money where the paps are. Avoid websites and magazines that feature tons of these (literally) cheap shots.

Does a few people avoiding a purchase of a magazine make a difference? Maybe not right away. But eventually, there CAN be a cultural change, and it has to start somewhere. It has to start with the small group that loudly stands up to say no. And say no again and again, every time they're challenged, every time they're ridiculed.

But wait. The Twilight community does have something else on its side besides a deeply held value of respect. It has sheer numbers. This is a HUGE movement, and furthermore, it's made of precisely the demographic that stands in lines at supermarkets and purchases tabloids-- women, 18-44+. Precisely the demographic that COULD, if it threw its weight behind it, could make enough of a dent in sales and enough noise to change how things are done in marketing tabloid shots. It just has to be consistent, and there has to be media attention.

It's possible ladies, never let anyone tell you otherwise. Go forth and organize!