Guest Post: Social Media Fast or Amplifying Women’s Voices?

by Charlotte Shurtz

In the Women’s session of General Conference this weekend, President Eyring talked about Eve and how she chose between the fruit of the tree of Knowledge and the tree of Life. Both knowledge and life are good things. Eve was the first to recognize the right choice and the first to choose in that story. And she chose correctly.

Similarly, I heard two guidelines from the general women’s session of #ldsconf. First, that the church and the world need the perspectives and voices of women. Second, the advice to take a 10 day fast from social media.

Personally, one of the places I amplify my voice, share my perspective as a woman, and find events and causes I can join in with other women is on social media. So, I am faced with making a choice between amplifying my voice and the voice of other women or restricting my voice (via the social media fast). Like Eve, I am faced with two options. Both are good. Women’s voices really need to be heard, both in the world and the church. And taking a break from social media from time to time can be necessary for emotional health or for re-focusing.

I choose the first, to amplify my voice and the voices of other women. By choosing this I do not mean to imply that other women who choose the social media fast are choosing poorly. Rather, this is the conclusion I have come to for myself and only for myself.

Over the next ten days, I plan amplify the voices and perspectives of women by sharing a video, article, or artwork by a woman. I’m excited to start this today, and I’d love to have other women join me in amplifying women’s voices and perspectives!

Charlotte Shurtz is a senior at Brigham Young University, where she studies English and Civic Engagement. She enjoys learning to cook foods from different cultures and going on hikes.

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4 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    Great take, Charlotte. It’s unfortunate that such contradictory messages are given. To me, it suggests that the “your voices are important and need to be heard” message is lip service.

  2. Violadiva says:

    I really like this analogy of choice! I really dislike how some members have used a person’s choice to not participate in the social media fast this week as a litmus test for faithfulness or criticized them for being disobedient to the prophet.
    Didn’t he suggest it as an invitation, anyway?

    • DT says:

      Our ward is trying to plan a large luncheon for around 200 people for a memorial service. It was being coordinated through Facebook, but then the women involved were shamed into discontinuing the discussion there. Seriously? I think that this is an honourable exception, even for women who are letter of the law. I am getting really frustrated by all of this and not looking forward to sanctimonious testimonies during the next few weeks about how observant they were in fasting.

  3. Rob says:

    In my opinion, it’s a mistake to look at the fast as an effort to restrict your voice. Taking a 10 day break from social media to look at other avenues to make our voices heard could be very beneficial to society at large, and I would argue that those avenues are oftentimes more impactful and effective.

    Maybe consider writing to one of your representatives concerning an opinion or belief you’d like them to represent, organizing a political or charitable event, or participating in a foundation at the volunteer level etc. The ten day period could even provide an opportunity to re-assess one’s opinions, beliefs and assumptions, or give much needed time to further educate oneself. I guess if you do all of the above frequently and then some, maybe you really are spending your time on social media appropriately. Maybe the fast isn’t for you. Good job. Unfortunately, I think most humans fall short of this and could benefit from time away from the internet to reevaluate how they’re using that time.

    Furthermore, Sharing one’s voice and the social media fast are only mutually exclusive for the ten day period in the social media realm. The claim that the 10 day challenge implies that women should restrict their voices seems like a slippery slope fallacy. This seems especially true when looking at the context. The same challenge was given to adolescents. In order to maintain prima facie consistency, the author should extend the same claim to the youth, that their social media fast was an attempt to silence them and their opinions. That seems a little far fetched to me, but what do I know.

    Instead, it seems like the fast is directed at those who spend too much time on social media and could benefit by decreasing their usage and using that time elsewhere. Maybe that doesn’t include you, but for me and I bet a few others, there is some truth to it.

    Having said all of the above, I don’t want to downplay the power that online conversation has. It is a tool that can result in a lot of positive change, but it can also result in a lot of harm, and with that in mind, t I think we should wield it as a tool responsibly.

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