Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Profile Picture is a Bumper Sticker... pass it on

This week I noticed everyone is changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoons. Evidently this is the new popular and fun way to indicate we are against child abuse. Who starts these trends? Lucky thing, because the old ways (bumper stickers and being appropriate to children) were getting boring. And really, we must find a way to let people know we don’t agree with it, because otherwise all of our friends might suspect we abuse children on a regular basis and are fine with others doing so as well. I do worry that if I don’t change it to an animal cartoon, people might think I’m okay with animal abuse. Or what if no one knows I’m not okay with abusing the planet either? How can I indicate that?
Here’s the thing. If we are truly interested in stopping child abuse, not just making it look like we are, then perhaps our efforts could be directed toward actually doing things and voting in ways that support families in our communities, locally, nationally, and globally. If we don’t want to just wear the t-shirt or the bumper sticker proclaiming our dislike of child abuse (or any other abuse), why don’t we invest in educating and providing resources for those parents who are most likely to abuse their children? Why don’t we insist to our elected officials that families are a priority? And if we want to use the power of Facebook to do so, I’m sure there is a way. I’m just not convinced that this is it.
Oh, and who sees our profile pictures? Our friends. Do we have friends who abuse children? I sincerely hope I do not! And if so, is it likely that seeing their friends suddenly change into cartoon characters will modify their behavior toward their children? I’m thinking probably not.
If you want to become a cartoon character for fun, then by all means, enjoy yourselves. They look pretty cute. (Though I think my friends are cuter!) I myself have occasionally turned into a cabbage, a dog, or a flower for no apparent reason other than my own peculiar enjoyment. But let’s not pretend that it’s going to make any difference to any of our personal causes. Because it’s not. And I personally will not be changing to a cartoon character simply because “everyone’s doing it”. Hopefully people who know me will know I’d prefer they didn’t abuse their children.

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