If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a words person. Words are more powerful than people realize. I mean, we’re the only mammals with language abilities—that’s amazing, people! But over the past year I’ve realized something that has altered my opinion of words: words mean absolutely nothing if not backed up by actions. Yes, this is a simple concept. But people seem to have forgotten that it’s necessary to support what you say with complimentary actions. You can’t just say you’re a writer if you never pick up a pen. And you can’t say you’re an athlete if you don’t go on the field. I’m sick of hearing people say that they’re pro-whatever, when they don’t actively support it. Or that they subscribe to a certain belief system, but you couldn’t tell from their lifestyle.
Our society is full of wannabes and empty-statements. 140-character long identities that don’t last more than a second. We spend so much time cultivating our Pinterest boards and building our Facebook persona and tweeting our Buzzfeed quiz results, but we fail to live our lives in a way that really means something. We live in a world where it is more accepted to boast your personality type than your personal beliefs.
It’s time that we as a society find our voice, and not one that is an echo of someone else’s. I don’t care if we agree on everything or can’t agree on anything. But I will respect you if your life reflects what you claim in your sociopolitical Facebook posts. If you think everyone deserves love, then show everyone love. If you think we need better care for the poor, then start sharing your own finances. If you think that health care is an issue, then start caring about the health of the people down the street. Don’t just stand up for what you believe in. Do something about it.
It has been said that actions speak louder than words. But they do more than that. They don’t just change the black and white to color; they bring them to life in high-definition. Actions substantiate words; they give them power.
So stop saying things that you aren’t willing to live. Your words are more than just audible reflections of your thoughts. They should be reflections of what you do now and promises of what you will do in the future.
I just don’t see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad. –Ariel (Little Mermaid)
It seems that whenever Disney pops up in my posts it’s so that I can tear the corporation apart. Believe me, I love myself some Disney (I was basically raised on it), but every so often I realize that some of their messages are a tad questionable. There are tons of blogs and videos explaining that it creates unrealistic expectations of love for young girls and then of course, there is the overwhelming representation of broken households, but few stop and look at the lyrics of the well-loved classics. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are fabulous and deserve every award they have received (I even own the Disney Greatest Hits volumes 1, 2, and 3). It hasn’t been till recently that I have actually started looking at the messages within the lyrics (thanks to @disneywords). And despite their uplifting and inspiring nature, sometimes Disney is just plain wrong.
Let’s correct Miss Ariel. Sorry, Honey, but plenty of places that make good things are bad and bad for you. Take China for example. They make almost everything you buy – that’s pretty good – but, then again, they’re constantly a military threat. #2: The people that do the advertising for the Dove Campaign for True Beauty could be considered good people, promoting real beauty of all shapes and sizes. However, the agency also does ads for Axe for Men which promotes the objectification of women. Finally, Roman Polanski makes wonderful films – award winning films – but he is no longer allowed in the United States due to his questionable activity with a young woman.
Looking back on my small list, I realize I probably picked the most egregious examples to attack little miss Ariel. I just wanted to point out that she is naive. Then again, I guess Disney likes to celebrate that sort of idealist youth who believes in the good in everyone. That’s pretty cool. But Ariel would have kept her voice a little longer had she known the truth.