The Girl Affect

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The Girl Affect is concerned with the forms of social media that have come to characterize social awareness causes and public services announcements. With the use of a base emotional response, the message becomes ultimately obscured through a series of conventions that are geared more toward affect rather than clear and applicable propositions. Although perhaps one can argue that moving beyond the image of victimhood or the face as a source of mobilizing shame and/or action, the reliance on abstract rhetorical questions and the responses of short "easy" answers in many was becomes more problematic. Specifically, I am concerned with the alignment of consumption as a mode of activism or intervention. Especially concerning the issue of girls who have systematically been oppressed and excluded outside of education and other civil rights, it would seem that we would need to be especially critical of a response that takes consumption as its main tenet. Rather, in certain ways the space between the consumption of female bodies through exploitation and sex trafficking and the space of consumption as a set of values seems to be engaged in a neoliberal logic, where "change" or liberation is fundamentally rested upon the individual (Westerner's) actions, particularly through consumption and capital. "Invest" was the term chosen at the end of the the original video, reading "Invest in the future of a girl and she will do the rest." Precisely what that means and the ways in which investment can be tied to other things (as I have attempted to do in my project).  Although my remix of the video is somewhat subtle I was hoping to explore the line between the logic of trafficking and the logic of social awareness through a offering of a different kind of consumption.

Here is my remix of the two motion typography videos that the group "The Girl Effect" has produced:


Here is the original video:

The video's description is as follows: "The Girl Effect is a solution to poverty. If we do our part, 600 million girls in the developing world will do the rest."

And here is a second video that they created, focusing on the value of time as "The Clock is Ticking."

The final two videos that I included in the remix, but that made up the smallest contribution to the overall project was a series of Starbucks commercial that deployed a similar method of motion typography and social advocacy programs that were grounded in consumption. The first one was part of their project (RED) campaign, where during the holiday season, every 5 cents from a cup of coffee would go toward "Africa." Once again, the vague abstractions that their claims make are faulty if not troubling at best, particularly in the ways that it covers over or excuses not only the organization's behaviour (such as labor practices), but greater systematic forces of exploitation.

Below is the Starbucks (RED) campaign video:

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