From months of media circus surrounding a trial, to the hyping up of Filipino Pride™ for a singer who can’t even speak a local language, to the yet another rigging (surprise!) of a prize fight of our National Fist™, it seems like every week there’s another call to action for slacktivists.
With this aimless generation always looking for something to fight for (however shallow it may be), I’ve devised a way to determine if the latest “cause” they’re promoting deserves a second glance or if it just deserves snarky tweet – the tuli dilemma.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with tuli, it refers to the local version of circumcision that boys ages 8 to 15 (including yours truly) had to undergo in one of their summer breaks (like the one that just ended).
It’s a rite of passage with roots in Christianity and the tradition of proving your manliness. It’s also genital mutilation with no proven health benefits apart from helping with premature ejaculation (due to the severing of sensitive nerves and the cornification of the glans).
So when the latest fad cause pops up, I first ask: is going with this new cause similar to going against tuli?
Publicly declaring your opposition to tuli implies two things:
1. You are willing to take on social stigma
Going against tuli will make you face millions of people who would question your “maniliness”. Ironically, only a few men are “man” enough to handle this sort of pressure.
Similarly, if your latest cause won’t get you in deep shit, it’s probably a sign that it’s not a cause, but a bandwagon. Liking Justin Bieber or being a militant atheist nowadays will indeed give you a lot of enemies, and yet at the same time, they will still give you a lot of friends.
On a side note, calling for real action sometimes fall under “things that can cause social stigma”. A lot of people are willing to “share this on Facebook” but asking people to show up and do something will often get you weird looks from the same people.
2. You are willing to prevent people from sharing your suffering
This is a pretty strong filter for slacktivism. Normal people won’t go against tuli because of this simple argument:
“Circumcision is fine. I went through it and it went okay.”
What they really mean to say is:
“I got my penis cut and had to endure 1 week of wearing skirts/loose pants (and possibly having what’s left of my foreskin inflame into the size of a small tomato) – why should I give these kids get a pass?”
Getting social stigma is one thing, admitting what you went through was wrong and should be avoided/changed is another.
Fraternity hazing was a classic example, as people (mostly those who went through it) dismissed it as harmless tests of loyalty to the brotherhood. Then the high-profile deaths came and now there’s a lot less people supporting it.
A better example would be education reform. Stuff like “rote memorization to teach math” is hard to eliminate not only because of resistance from the educators don’t want to spend effort on changing things, but also because adults subconsciously don’t want students to have an easier time than they did.
So there you have it, my simple filter for whatever call to arms come my way through social media. It’s not perfect but it makes me ignore almost all of the latest fad causes so I’d say it gets the work done.