Guys, I’ve already said this, but I’m gonna say it again…
Why the hell are you critiquing the Ice Bucket Challenge?
It is probably the only internet campaign/trend in recent memory that has made any significant amount of money for its cause!
Not only that, but it is one that doesn’t fall prey to the faults of sooooo many other ‘slacktivist’ campaigns:
It doesn’t make inspiration porn out of people suffering from ALS.
It doesn’t sexualize them in any way.
It doesn’t tote ALS sufferers around so we can sigh wistfully at them and mutter “so brave….so brave.”
It doesn’t trivialize their lives.
It doesn’t laugh at them.
It was just some weird internet thing that got traction once it was co-opted by a supporter of ALS research (the first few celebrity videos show them not giving to charity at all, because that wasn’t part of the deal and was just them being silly, or giving to different charities because it was open to the person who got tagged).
If you want to comment on slacktivism, then pick a campaign that isn’t currently making, like, 6billion times the previous year’s profit for the foundation it is supporting.
Talk about how Bono’s Product Red cost more to fund and advertise than it actually ended up making for its charity.
Talk about how I <3 Boobies sexualizes and then dehumanizes people suffering from breast cancer.
Talk about how the No Makeup Selfies ‘to spread breast cancer awareness’ (“women going through chemo look like shit, let’s show solidarity by looking like shit too!!”) trivialized the pain and countless complications faced by people undergoing chemo.
Talk about how Cock In A Sock was a failure because it was highjacked by buff guys who wanted to show off, and eventually not a single person even knew it was originally meant to raise money for a particular foundation.
Talk about how KONY was mired in politics that half of the people screaming and crying about it didn’t even understand. Talk about how it was ill researched, and terribly executed.
Talk about how Katrina Relief and Haiti Relief funds were bogged down with corruption and white-collar crime.
Talk about how sharing a photo on Facebook that says “I hate testicular cancer!” makes you feel good, but doesn’t actually do anything to stop the cancer or help those suffering from it. In fact, it makes so many people feel good about themselves without actually doing anything helpful that donations for many foundations have subsequently decreased.
Talk about the things that make trendy, sensational campaigns problematic, and then highlight the parts of campaigns that worked. Teach people what they should be looking for when they support a cause or jump on a bandwagon to make sure that they are giving effectively and safely. Teach people what slacktivism is and why it hurts people and communities.
But stop bitching about the only one that is actually doing anything good right now!
The articles that i have seen ‘critiquing’ the Ice Bucket Challenge have spent most of their word space talking about all the good it’s done, and then one paragraph talking about how slacktivism is bad. No space is given to examples of why it is bad, or how to avoid it. No one is talking about more effective ways to engage people without trivializing the cause. It’s just a bunch of people complaining about how annoying they find it, or how people are just “showing off”. Worse still are the people saying “most of the people doing it didn’t even know what ALS was until last week!”.
You realize you’re just being concern-hipsters, right?
"I was totally concerned about this cause way before everyone else was. Gawd, now everyone is just doing it because they just found out about it. It’s so mainstream. I’m gonna go campaign for squiggly eyebrow syndrome now. No one has ever heard of that!”
That last paragraph is also… kind of the point of the challenge. It’s not only to raise money. It’s also to raise awareness, and I’d say it’s doing its job on both counts.