Today, I was reminded that I have a Facebook page, and while I post infrequently, it is still an expected point of contact with the world outside of our little quarantine bubble. I am generally overwhelmed by social media and have neither the time nor the inclination to engage keyboard commandos with fervor. I do enjoy wading in costuming and event groups, but writing a comment can take an hour of choosing my words very carefully, so I usually just hit the “like” button and move on.
My personal Facebook page is mostly pictures of the kids because it keeps them connected to our family and friends. I am all too familiar with the unfollow, unfriend, and block buttons. I block a lot of people…sometimes just for fun. I don’t TikTok or SnapChat or Reddit. My tweet frequency is abysmal because Twitter is a cesspool. I removed or de-listed all of my YouTube content (mostly dancing) because people are jackholes. Back in my day, you needed an invitation for Pinterest but now it’s full of ads, and I am appalled by the lack of image citations. I’ve had this costuming blog since 2008, just to scratch the writing itch every month or so.
The exception to my social media presence is Instagram, which is easy enough to handle–post a square, “heart” someone else’s square, repeat…occasionally block a spammer. I enjoy posting in-progress costume photos and putting on record that I did, in fact, leave the house once. I’ve participated in a number of monthly themes. I even started posting stories (that was a weird day). I sometimes post food that I didn’t have to cook.
Then, last week happened.
The World, already under siege by a pandemic, beginning to emerge from its collective homes to get “essential” haircuts, exploded with the senseless murder of George Floyd by the police. We all saw it. Black Americans have been living these horrors for hundreds of years, and we continue to feel the grief, fear, anger, disappointment (a few of many emotions) that come with the ongoing debasement of people just for daring to live in our skin. Somehow this time was worsened maybe by the virus, maybe by the uncertainty of being able to provide, maybe by the murder of Breonna Taylor by police at the beginning of mandated isolation, like a ghastly set of systemic racism bookends. And those were only two of multiple black murders in 2020 to gain national attention BEFORE JUNE.
This Monday, I awoke to find a surprising number of Instagram mentions, likes, comments, and follow notifications. Droves of people were being directed to black costumer content initiated by our influencer allies. The most popular on the historical costuming circuit, being a series of #28daysofblackcosplay posts by the lovely Gloria and Mike from In The Long Run Designs. This clicky call-to-action, encourages diversity in the costuming community’s feed. New followers have been coming out of the woodwork, joining those ally accounts in support of black art. It is unnerving and absurd that the worldwide protests caused a small pond movement when we’ve been here all along and there are bigger fish to gut right now. That said, I’m here for it–pleased that so many black costumers now have a slightly wider platform upon which to exist. There is an opportunity for more eyes to be opened to the plight of racism in our lives and in our hobbies and for those people to take a stand with us.
In addition to being shy, forgetful, and painfully passive aggressive, I acknowledge that I am not as connected to my phone as is probably expected in this day and age. I don’t always remember to answer voicemails or text messages. Messenger makes me anxious. I am constantly afraid of AutoCorrect fucking up my thought process. And I am remiss in expressing myself on social media. It’s not for all of us, but the lure of being seen is enough to keep us active. With the situation in which we are currently living, I vote, I throw what I can into donations and into supporting black businesses, and I would like to encourage everyone to get an education on the history of racism. Take the time to assess your own position and impact, past and present. Please listen to your black friends who are tired of screaming. Please fight with us in whatever way you can.
Police brutality is not over. Racism is not over. The pandemic is not over. Stay alive.