Pop culture vs. protest


Graphic by Amanda Huang

Aashika Lilaramani, Contributing Writer

While many companies are growing and expanding thanks to loyal customers, thousands of people are spreading awareness of all the terrible things in which these brands have been leading contributors. In the past few months, there have been protests around the world, specifically concerning aspects of pop culture. These protests have addressed a variety of topics ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to pollution. Some of the biggest and most prominent demonstrations have played a big part in our society

One recent rally was when Nestlé had thousands of citizens protesting over a problem that society has overlooked for a long time, pollution. In April 2019, Greenpeace activists in Virginia dragged a gigantic 15-foot tall pile of garbage to the Nestlé headquarters. Nestlé had contributed approximately 8 million tons of plastic ending up into the oceans each year. You may have also heard of the Chick-fil-A protests recently, regarding the acceptance of LGBTQ+ in our culture. But you may not know that these controversies have been concerning since 1967. However, they didn’t blow up until 2017, when the company donated 1.9 million to anti-gay groups, according to Vox. Due to the protests, the opening of the first Chick-fil-A in Canada was bombarded by LGBTQ+ activists. As a society, we are more aware of issues, quickly identify the problems, and boycott against them. Pop culture has also seen protests concerning politics and brands.

A recent example is a claim made by the H&M company. H&M has now refused to buy leather from Brazil to confirm they aren’t supporting farming that are helping fuel fires in the Amazon rainforest. Many famous artists have also protested against the companies and brands that support unethical things, whether it be going on Twitter or writing entire songs. These artists have inspired fans to assist them in their quest.  In 2017, after Trump’s election, Eminem performed “The Storm,” a freestyle protesting against how the president disrespected the military, also highlighting his attacks on Puerto Rico. Millions of fans viewed this song.

Many may argue that protests are unnecessary and just cause useless chaos. However, while protests can be loud and chaotic, they are an integral part of fundamental rights and a reminder to people who have forgotten about them. They are loud because when they are quiet, nobody bothers listening. They are chaotic because when they are calm, nobody even gives them a second thought. And isn’t the right to protest an essential human right stated in the First Amendment? Therefore, protesting should be more accepted in our society. They are a significant factor in persuading businesses to alter.

Protests have proven to be a necessary part of the people trying to change society. They are critical because they are a way of showing the government what the people believe. Protesting affects all of us, especially since they can be the deciding factor over things that we are a part of. It’s about time that society started punishing the businesses and brands that flourish under unfairness and the suppressing of individual people. Companies like these need to be confronted, and the best way to do that is to protest. Hopefully, significant protests such as these can lead to a change in how controversial businesses operate and bring about a better society for all of us.