Performative activism: Protests at the Oscars

As global issues become more visible through social media, celebrities should focus more on actions than symbolic support.

While social justice and protests for social change are nothing new, the last few years have been transformative for activism. From Black Lives Matter to Roe v. Wade to calling for a cease-fire in Palestine, the way that we organize and the statements we make have changed since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. We have also seen the margins between the lower and upper classes grow exponentially. It is safe to say that the last few years have been nothing short of overwhelming and so much has changed, and all of this has made the already obvious differences between classes even more apparent. 

Just last week during the Oscars, protesters gathered in support of Palestine and blocked cars from dropping off those attending on the red carpet. They had to walk along the city sidewalks and cross the picket line to get to the red carpet. Some wore pins in support of Palestine and a cease-fire, but is that enough anymore? Is simply advertising your opinion enough?  

It is no secret that those in attendance at the Oscars are wealthy. I mean, the guest list consists of A-List actors and other celebrities, so it is not that surprising. These last few years have also had great impacts on the public’s view of celebrities and influencers and their expectations of these people. Activism has become a big part of people’s decision to support a celebrity, and this has led to concerns about performative activism. 

With all the resources that celebrities have access to, many are beginning to hold them to a higher standard when it comes to activism. How can you have all of this money and claim that you support something, but when it comes time to actually do something, you are silent? The pins worn by many at the Oscars, while they do help spread the word, are performative. It does not have any impact on the issue at hand besides acknowledging that it is happening. There are so many other things that celebrities can do to help, but they choose not to.  

I and many others are sick of this act that is being put on. There is so much that the upper class can do to promote change, but they are often silent or do the bare minimum. It is time for that to change.

Protests in support of Palestine continue across the globe, such as this one in San Francisco on International Women’s Day. Photo by Peg Hunter.


Featured photo: Protesters for Palestine in San Francisco on International Women’s Day, March 8. Image by Peg Hunter.