Have you seen this video?
I think Flashmobs are the the coolest. What first appears as spontaneous and organic comes to be understood by the bystanders as something orchestrated and substantial. It’s grassroots. It’s guerrilla. And it can be an incredibly effective way of making a point.
From the text that appears in the video clip above — “Worldwide, 1,400 women die everyday in pregnancy and childbirth due to lack of basic healthcare” — the point here is to raise awareness of maternal health in poor countries and around the world. Who couldn’t groove to that?
Is it just me, though, who finds the action less than convincing? The description of the YouTube clip makes the intentions clear:
If you think this is dangerous, try giving birth in poor countries without a midwife, hospital or medicine. This flashmob is one of a series happening in Paris, Berlin, Utrecht and across Canada to highlight the scandal that millions of women in poor countries and around the world aren’t getting the healthcare they need for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
But if you were in the crowd in London or elsewhere, would you get that? Or would you respond, as several YouTube commenters have, with statements like: “I’m so proud of those women doing that pregnant! GO GIRLS!!!!!” or “who said pregnant ladies can’t get down!”
A blog post on Oxfam’s website notes that the actual dancers were not really pregnant (and it’s mentioned in a parenthetical note in the YouTube description, but you have to click “read info” to see it) — and other YouTube commenters are quick to point that out to the uninformed.
But if the action itself doesn’t have that context or conversation, is it effective?
Maybe I’m being too critical here. As on YouTube, I’m sure most bystanders were sparked to have a conversation — and maybe literature was passed around afterwards. And it’s the cognitive dissonance of pregnant women dancing that grabs everyone’s attention. It’s difficult to construct a creative action that will inspire people to think about such a difficult-to-think-about issue, but I’m not convinced this hits the mark.
(hat-tip: Wendy, thanks!)