I know a lot of people who would like to be famous. Mostly aspiring politicians since I used to hang out in Canberra but also in other areas such as in the media, in literary worlds, even in more traditional spheres to gain a name: acting, singing.
Apparently, this is a bit of a Gen Y tendency (not that I believe in the generational pseudo-sociology stuff which often reads like horoscopes). While kids a few decades ago wanted to be pilots and teachers and nurses, kids in school today are more likely than ever to profess to wanting to be a ‘famous person’.
In a way, I share this tendency. It’s not that I necessarily want to be famous (and in fact, given I don’t exactly have a thick skin and given that people in the public eye, particularly women in the public eye, don’t exactly get an easy run, I don’t think I really have it in me), but I think my voice is important enough to be heard. It’s not red carpets I’m craving, but some degree of visibility and the legitimisation that comes with visibility. There are lots of people who make a name for themselves who are stupid, yet the stupid things they say are given credence by the fact that they become part of the framework of discussion. Todd Akin made us talk about ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ rape even though his comments were patently absurd and deserved to be ignored.
Further, simple awareness sans action frames conversations are seems important to us: Kony 2012, Live 8, all the insipid remarks about mental illness and cancer on my facebook newsfeed, and other examples of slacktivism are proof of that. It’s like, once a voice is lent to an issue, that’s kind of the end of that. Problem solved. (???)
It’s not where the discussion goes in terms of action, but who gets to be in it that matters. I want in (who doesn’t?). But I wonder how the democratisation of media and even re-framing debates so that more voices are included actually changes anything. Having a voice is awesome, but I feel like it’s often lost to a sea of people who want to write and don’t very much like to read. It’s silenced by the noise as much as it is silenced by oppression.
I’ve only just started thinking about this stuff, which is probably why my train of thought isn’t so clear.