I have 777 followers on Instagram. Kylie Jenner has 110 million.
Instagram maintains a staggering amount of monthly users— approximately 800 million in 2017. Kylie Jenner has the capacity to reach around 13.75 percent of those monthly Instagram users with a single post (not including those who would see her photo without following her account). I can reach about 0.000097 percent of monthly Instagram users. I am baffled by her reluctance to use this immense power to communicate freely, easily, and quickly about real issues, and she is not the only culprit. So my question is, why idolize a silent celebrity?
I recently went on the Instagram accounts of the top ten most followed users as of December 2017: Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, Dwayne Johnson, Kylie Jenner, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Selena Gomez. Collectively, they have posted a whopping zero times about the forced separation of immigrant children from their asylum-seeking families over the past six weeks. Many posted Father’s Day throwback photos, none of which included captions related to the 2,000 immigrant children unable to see their fathers on Father’s Day due to their inhumane confinement.
It’s demoralizing that so many people laud celebrities who remain quiet during times of crisis. Even more so, I find it appalling that many celebrities ignore their uniquely massive platforms that enable them to at the least inform their millions of followers about major, monumental, or morally-wrong occurrences happening in today’s world. Regardless of their opinions on the separation of immigrant children from their families, these leading celebrities should have something to say about the recent attack by multiple gunmen on a New Jersey arts festival, which resulted in the injury of twenty-two innocent people. Where is their outrage?
Ignorance makes a citizen complicit, and these celebrities have the opportunity to inform.
I would give anything in the world to have 110 million people follow me on any one of my social media accounts, because it would give me a ridiculously easy way to be heard. To me, it is wrong to have willing listeners and not speak to them, especially in today’s tumultuous political environment.
The March For Our Lives Instagram account boasts 363 thousand followers — 0.33 percent of Kylie Jenner’s followers. This account posts regularly about marches and opportunities to join the fight to end the epidemic of gun violence. This is the kind of account that should reach millions of people, because this is the kind of account that says something worth listening to.
People who are given platforms have an obligation to dive into conversations, and it is inexcusable for followers not to hold them accountable for their ungrateful handling of this gift. Being heard is truly a gift in today’s world. The kids “celebrating” Father’s Day alone in a holding facility are not given the gift of being heard. The innocent children killed by gun violence while trying to get an education no longer have the gift of being heard. But these celebrities have the gift and absolute privilege of being heard by millions, so they better start using it.
SOPHIA DUROSE is a College freshman from Orlando, Florida studying English. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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