GRAPHIC DESIGN Cindy Phung
What power do we hold in contributing to diverse spaces? It is easy to approach this question on a large scale since issues relating to diversity have been a continuous challenge within society. Do away with the idea that we hold minimal power; understand that as individuals, the simplest but most powerful acts are the ones we make when we begin with ourselves – act accordingly.
What can be controlled and changed within ourselves? One easy method of doing so is as simple as scrolling through Instagram; by diversifying our feeds.
Each and every individual is in control of who they follow online. Oftentimes those we subconsciously choose to follow can reflect a repetitive image/identity, one that limits the voices and platforms of other diverse identities. By diversifying our feeds, we are making a choice to be consciously aware of the pages we follow online, and whether or not they as a whole, reflect diverse identities.
We may believe the act of following others online is harmless; we just follow who we like, and it has nothing to do with race, gender, etc. However, we begin normalizing and absorbing the images and information we consume online. If our feeds are filled with only white cisgender influencers, celebrities, etc. That becomes the only identity/beauty standard we end up normalizing and praising. Which then harmfully disregards and diminishes the voices of other BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ identities in the process. The act of diversifying our feeds is a simple way to counteract homophobic, racist, and sexist ideologies subconsciously. Instead of replacing it with awareness, education, and amplifying voices that are rarely seen or heard to the extent they should be.
Here are three helpful tips to keep in mind while pursuing to diversify our social media following list.
Follow pages that will help educate and spread awareness on certain topics that you may not be the most knowledgeable about.
Social media gives us an opportunity to absorb unique information! Why not use it as an opportunity to educate ourselves? Some pages that I have found useful in educating myself on a range of topics include the following: @glographics, @soyouwanttotalkabout, @them, @ally2action, @theconsciouskid, @transjusticefp. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but a place to start if you are unsure of where to begin in diversifying your feed.
Follow influencers, celebrities, or just regular people in general that have lived experiences opposite to the ones of your own.
Being a visibly white woman with privilege, I have consciously decided to follow and support the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community on Instagram in particular. Here are some people I have followed to continue diversifying my own feed: @aaron___philip, @kihmberlie, @alokvmenon, @sophia_roe, @edenthedoll, @mattxiv, @coffinbirth, @nymatang.
Support others, social media is a hotspot to promote businesses, products, and services.
A great way to diversify our feeds and support others in the process, is to follow and buy from diverse businesses. Doing this broadens our awareness of how many other businesses out there need the support and offer quality services and products that are less known to the mainstream media. Maybe hold off on that Kylie Lip Kit and buy from a smaller business that is LGBTQIA+, BIPOC owned! Some companies I’ve discovered and followed via Instagram have been the following: @Ehoneyskin, @himistry, @Venusian glow, @nudebarre, @sisters_sage, @tomboyx, @fluidebeauty.