A Guide to Advocacy


Photo credit: Riccardo Muzzetto

Marjunique Louis

Advocating isn’t an easy task, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In order to be an ideal advocate, you should be confident in yourself and your ability to make change. Once you achieve that confidence, you can put all your energy toward an issue or cause you feel passionate about.

Feminists are good examples of individuals who demonstrate advocacy because they reflect on themselves as well as their cause, which is to obtain equal rights and opportunities for the sexes.

Feminists’ advocacy for themselves and others demonstrates diversity and a multicultural platform. Feminists unite as a community in order to tackle the problems each individual faces, and they are also stronger when they push towards intersectional feminism.

“The concept of intersectional feminism informs all of my work. I believe feminism is only feminism when it is inclusive of persons of all demographics ,” says Dr. Patricia Boyett, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, on what intersectional feminism is to her. “As feminism seeks gender equality, it must seek it for all persons.”

Are you interested in how to advocate intersectional feminism or other key issues like it? Check out a few of these tips below:

Don’t be a bystander. Refrain from turning a blind eye to things that may not necessarily affect you, such as racism, sexism or other forms of discrimination. When you see something wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up and do something about it.

Amber Rose is a good example of someone who stands up for people by advocating the “slutwalk” movement. She has brought more attention and awareness to the movement by defending those being “slut shamed” and educating her peers. In turn, her efforts are helping the fight to end rape culture.

Enlighten others. Spread knowledge and wisdom to others. Be the voice for people who can’t speak for themselves. Inform people on issues they’re not too familiar with. Build meaningful relationships and advocate together.

Tylar Beckham, mass communication sophomore, describes how she educates others.

“Well, I try to explain the variations of oppression first. People think that it’s all a one-dimensional fight, but it’s not. We may all be women, but we all don’t experience the same things throughout our lifetime,” she says.

Always educate yourself. Instead of shutting marginalized people down, speak with them and get some of their thoughts and ideas. Try understanding the marginalized individual rather than trying to be understood.

Boyett has advice for those looking to better inform themselves.

“I advise others to learn about intersectionality by exploring the work of scholars like Kimberlee Crenshaw,” she says. “I advise they advocate for it by taking the time to engage in dialogue in diverse settings with diverse groups of people, by participating on panels, by expressing it in their social media.”

Be pro active. Have an open mind about things. Avoid any conflict at all costs. You’re entitled to your own opinion but don’t be a jerk. When you do some of these things, you’ll notice subtle changes around you. You’ll notice how much more aware you are of your surroundings.

Lauren Langford, Women’s Resource center employee and mass communication sophomore, shares her protocol for dealing with internet tension and conflict.

“Fighting over the internet rarely causes people to change their opinions, so it’s better to just avoid it altogether,” she says. “Most of the time, I choose to refrain from it because in reality, it gets you no where.”