Lara Prendergast Lara Prendergast

The selfie protest

How to protest these days? You can’t rely on our music industry to kick out a good protest song, and the film industry does a pretty feeble job. So once again, it’s down to the people. In the past few years, we’ve seen a couple of examples of how Generation Y protest: Case Study 1: The 2011 riots. Case Study 2: The 2010 tuition fees protest. Quite old school in style, and not hugely effective, but both at least showed there was still some fire in the belly of Britain’s yoof.

There’s a new case study to add to the Generation Y protest list. 3: The Selfie Protest. It’s simple, and perhaps therein lies its supposed ‘brilliance’. You can protest, without even getting out of bed. Very John Lennon. All it requires is a smartphone, yourself, and some vague political message.

In the past year, we’ve seen various examples of this in action. Feminist factions commandeered it for the ‘Who Needs Feminism’ campaign, in which lots of people explained why they really needed the movement.

An 'I Need Feminism' selfie

An ‘I Need Feminism’ selfie

We then saw it in action for the #StandbyMe protest, in which students in Sheffield protested government policy on immigration. Friends of different nationalities took selfies together, to show just how forward thinking they were by befriending people who didn’t look like them.

Friends sans Frontières (Photo: The University of Sheffield

Friends sans Frontières (Photo: The University of Sheffield)

The selfie protest then moved to Oxford for the ‘I, too, am Oxford’ movement.  Wanting to raise awareness about racial prejudice at the university, a number of students took selfies of themselves carrying handwritten signs with messages saying things like ‘No, I’m not on a scholarship from Africa’.

A countermovement by 'We Are All Oxford' (Photo: http://wearealloxford.tumblr.com/)

A countermovement by ‘We Are All Oxford’ (Photo: http://wearealloxford.tumblr.com/)

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