#WakeUpCall campaign : Language Matters
The #WakeUpCall campaign was created by journalist and activist Jemima Khan as a way to raise money for UNICEF's Syria Emergency Fund. The campaign started with Khan posting an image of herself having just woken up and then challenging other celebrities to take similar photos, post to twitter and donate to UNICEF.
As a campaign tactic, #WakeUpCall works. It takes less than 2 minutes to harness the power of social media without falling into gendered stereotypes like #NoMakeUpSelfie and the Ice Bucket Challange's failure to recognise the fact many people across the world have no access to clean water.
We were disappointed to see the following quote from Khan: "preferably against your wishes" as a tagline to the campaign. In the current climate of "revenge porn", which is sexual violence even if the law and media fail to understand this, and the victim blaming of famous women who had private images stolen and released online, suggesting that images be released without permission as a joke is problematic. We understand what Khan was trying to achieve with these words but they deflect, negatively, from the importance of the campaign.
We support the #WakeUpCall campaign as an innovative way to raise money for children living with the daily violence and fear of was in Syria, but words matter. We need to be careful that our campaigns to not impact negatively on others. Uploading images online without permission is neither funny nor acceptable. We need a fundamental change to our culture so that obtaining permission before uploading images of other people is our default position.