Arts & Entertainment

Can utilizing social media cause change?

Speaking up for the forgotten issues; as they all cut their hair for Mahsa, and for all Iranian women’s freedom.

In the past few months, there have been many occurrences of disasters, natural or not; some being along the lines of more school shootings in Texas during May, to earthquakes overseas, and just recently the Florida floods. It has been our job to know what’s going on in this world, but as human beings; the real issues can come down to these topics causing discomfort to our daily lives. A possible thought may be, “if it isn’t happening to me it isn’t happening at all.” But the reality is, it’s happening. The information just hasn’t found its way to this campus. But without proof, what’s the easiest way to gain a person’s attention in 2022’s tech age?

The answer to that is easy. As a community we use social media to tackle the real issues in this world. There are multiple platforms out there used for entertainment purposes. People use them for dancing, singing, debating and even cooking. However, it’s only rare that political and mass destruction issues pop up and stay on your feed for longer than a few weeks.

TikTok is one example, which was released back in Sept.r  2016, but did not gain traction until 2020. This is because of the rise in users once the pandemic started. TikTok is a dance app in short, one for fun and skits; the new Vine of this generation, as some would call it. It is used for captivating an audience by doing something viral-worthy, and it doesn’t matter what it is. But while connecting this, it is important to realize that TikTok has also been able to bring attention to the issues of injustice that the U.S. may choose not to focus on.

One of these tragedies experienced through TikTok is the death of Mahsa Amini. She was a 22-year-old Persian woman, who was taken captive by the morality police for not wearing her hijab properly, but was later beaten to death. Her death sparked outrage, and the women in Iran all began to protest by removing and burning their hijabs; not out of disrespect, but out of freedom. Many videos on TikTok were quoted as saying “Imagine living in a world where there’s a government that believes that a woman showing her hair is immoral, but killing a woman over showing her hair is not immoral.” 

A creator named @loveverne said, “This vicious and violent act catalyzed thousands of protests in the streets of Iran, where unfortunately more are being executed and harmed,” she said. She also stated that some being as young as 10 years old were harmed. 

Many of the videos that were coming from locations in Iran have been banned, and have been deleted due to internet restrictions from the Iranian government.

But this didn’t stop the women in Iran from protesting; they continued by cutting their hair; up to their ears, and others shaving their head completely. This movement then grew due to TikTok, and many women around the world began cutting their hair in support of this cause. They do this not only as an act of protest, but to honor the many victims. While many more who continue to speak out on TikTok with what little internet resources they have, many worry if they will make it to the next day because of it. 

While TikTok may not have fixed the situation, it did help in another way. Because of TikTok, people have been able to see the genocide going on in other countries.

A TikTok user @elica.lebon says, “It’s so important to understand that because so many of us in Iran have been executed. 80% of Iranian people in Iran right now are Gen Z; they are babies!” She then goes on to say that these are the people who are telling us what’s going on through TikTok, while protesting, who are the ones being targeted, and are dying for their freedom.

A few weeks from now this issue may disappear from the public eye,though it may already have. But what you can do in order to not let others forget about the lives being lost, and the women in Iran fighting for their freedom, is spreading photos, videos, and quotes. The easiest way is from a quick repost using TikTok’s new feature, or even posting a photo on your Instagram story. This article is utilizing their voices for them. The art is in continuing to share it through reading this.