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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > March 2018 > Are you sitting comfortably?

Are you sitting comfortably?

JOANNA WHITEHEAD ON WHY “ARMCHAIR ACTIVISM” IS MORE THAN JUST A SOFT OPTION

ARMCHAIR ACTIVISM

“Make no mistake. Armchair activism can really change lives”

“Self-obsessed, dangerous, narcissistic…” Adjectives used to describe Donald Trump? Not quite. These are words I’ve recently seen thrown at people known as “armchair activists”.

Armchair activism is defined as any kind of activism, cause or effort undertaken from the comfort of your own home. It includes sharing and posting information about political causes or ideas online, primarily using social media. It’s also creating or signing petitions through sites like

change.org .

In my naivety, I naturally assumed that any kind of activism was a good thing. However, I’ve noticed a surge in comments and general chat that suggests online activism is redundant and ineffective. Naysayers accuse online activists of being “lazy”, “apathetic” or of “virtue signalling” (conspicuously demonstrating how “moral” you are to other people). The mere sniff of virtue signalling inspires hot rage in some people and, in my opinion, reveals more about the disgruntled party than the person allegedly doing the signalling. For me, raising awareness of social issues and injustice is broadly positive, even if the person doing so may be seen as presenting as something of a martyr. I can live with that, providing I don’t have to spend my evenings and weekends with that person.

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About DIVA Magazine

Activist, model and “gender capitalist” Rain Dove is our cover star this month, the first time an openly non-binary person has appeared on DIVA’s cover since our launch in 1994. In another exciting first, we’re making history by synchronising the launch of this groundbreaking issue with iconic men’s title Gay Times, who also have Rain on their cover. Rain Dove, a former firefighter from the US, has appeared in numerous spreads for magazines like Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan, as well as ad campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein. Famous for modelling both womenswear and menswear, Rain is part of a movement simultaneously reinventing modelling while challenging traditional ideas of binary gender. In an exclusive interview with DIVA’s Roxy Bourdillon, Rain talks about the importance of pronouns, the impact working in the fashion industry has had on their self-esteem, and how they are capitalising on society’s perception of gender. Also in this issue… Scottish Labour politician Kezia Dugdale talks to DIVA editor Carrie Lyell about life after the jungle Roxy Bourdillon gets up close and personal with “flirty AF” YouTuber Ari Fitz Little acts of defiance: Comedian Suzi Ruffell tells us why she’s taking on the trolls Creating change: Filmmaker Fawzia Mirza on activism through art The future is fierce: Queer migrant poet Sonia Guiñansaca is breaking down borders Travel like you give a sh!t: Fat Gay Vegan shares his tips for moving through the world with kindness What’s next for the uprising? Plus: style, dating and so much more!