Young Activists Give a Shit

This final chapter in BAMN covers the previous chapters, bringing in ideologies of activism from the Harry Potter Alliance, Bassam Tariq of the 30 Mosques project, Dorian Electra’s music videos and more.

  • MIT ‘s Future of Entertainment conference had a panel of activists from several of the case study organizations. They were asked about whether or not they call themselves activists, and each participant “distanced” themselves from the word. By pushing relatable ideas and ideas that are more “open-ended,” these panelists target youth by staying clear of using words that are “too political.”
    • Dorian Electra, for example, says that being too politicized will distract from her work’s educational and entertainment value.
  • Out of all the responses to these leaders of organizations on the panel responding to the activist question, one response from an older member of the audience was “On the semantics front, it’s not called activism, it’s called ‘giving a shit'” (254).
  • Instead of using the word activism, these panelists are looking for ways to reimagine the civic that will allow for “diverse voices to be heard and some consensus to be achieved” (255).
  • Although these organization leaders try to stay clear of being specifically political with their actions and groups, they want to work on civic imagination. By leading people to think more of human rights issues than an issue that is too specific, these leaders are making their causes universal, something that everyone should care about no matter what political party they are a part of.

This video shows how young activists are not focusing solely on politics, but on bigger issues such as climate change and the importance of recycling. I chose this video because it demonstrates the youth activism that is apparent in our society, and these girls made an important change, especially since their campaign was aimed at such a huge company like Starbucks. 

  • “Political activism has been reinvented in recent decades by a diversification in the agencies, the repertoires, and the targets” (256).

Recently, many activists have started creating different ways to reach audiences. By creating music videos like Dorian Electra to express beliefs, or targeting different fan organizations, younger activists have shifted their aim more towards groups or companies that they believe are against whatever cause they are working for instead of elected officials.

Key words:

  • Agencies: the collective organizations structuring political activity (fan organizations).
  • Repertoires: the political actions commonly used for political expression (creating and sharing music videos).
  • Targets: the political actors that participants seek to influence (politics directed against Lowe’s, Warner Brothers, and Lionsgate instead of elected officials).
  • Civic cultures: provide the preconditions for political action. The potentials are being realized or ignored with the current media landscape.
  • Civic imagination: fundamental dimension of civic cultures, shaping the ways people come to think of themselves as political agents and those civic cultures are being shaped by the collective imagining of their participants.



I chose this meme because of how the HPA is using a Harry Potter reference to reach audiences, or fan communities, to join them. They focus on larger issues than those that are specifically political, ones that interest all people. By using this meme, they are gathering a large group of people who may not have much in common besides their love for Harry Potter.

I chose this meme from Facebook because it focuses on an issue that most people should be concerned about, even if it is a little old. By using a Harry Potter meme, the HPA is reaching audiences over the internet who should be concerned about Net Neutrality, no matter their political stance. The young activists from the HPA have used memes like this to reach audiences of all different political stances just because of their love for the Harry Potter books and films.


  1. Do you think these leaders are right in the way that they avoid being too political in order to reach larger audiences?
  2. Why do you think younger generations are more focused on human rights issues more than specific political issues? Do you think the younger generations will end up changing the way politics are viewed in the future?
  3. Can you come up with any examples of young activists targeting specific companies other than the recyclable Starbucks cups?

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