Don't forget the importance of Agency

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It’s a word with many meanings, many uses. Yet it’s importance and use is greatly overlooked and ignored. Agency is a powerful weapon, and when used correctly it can make a major impact.

 

Take photography as an example, high profile photographers have the agency to make a difference to enlighten the world to its serious downfalls. Don’t get me wrong some photographers do this, they seize their opportunity and make a bold statement which society cannot ignore.

 Nick Ut’s 1972 photograph of a young naked girl crying and screaming as she is captured running away from her home which is being destroyed by bombers, commonly known as ‘Napalm Girl’ was one such photo. Although there was numerous amounts of footage of the Vietnam war, it was this photo that reached people and awakened them to the real horrors of the war in a way that none of the constant news footage had even gotten close to.

                          The use of agency in this sense is vital, because in contemporary society it is intrinsically difficult to reach an audience emotionally to show them something is wrong and inspire them to strive for change, as it seems we have become desensitized.

We pretend we’re on the phone or in a hurry when we see ‘the charity people’ approaching, or we fast forward through the ‘depressing’ adverts on the television  or even on programmes such as children in need.

Today as sad as it sounds we need to be forced to see the problems in our world, because our vision is instead being clouded by the mist of celebrity culture;  the world of trends, weight gain and gossip.

Russell Brand recently said something similar to this, he used his agency to speak explicitly and plainly about exactly how he felt.

Now I've got a few quid and complain about shit, I'm a hypocrite. Really what they want is no-one saying anything. People in power want us to be talking about Justin Bieber. They don't want us talking about fracking, they want us talking about twerking."

Where previously he may have been too emerged in his own life, his own problems, he has recently begun to step out and make sure everyone is listening when he declares an issue he isn’t too happy with.

In the midst of the societal disarray which was caused in the wake of the horrific events of Lee Rigby’s murder, Russell Brand emerged as a somewhat unlikely voice of reason, begging people to stop blaming the entirety of the Muslim religion for the crazed acts of one Muslim and instead seeking society to spread love and compassion.

However It doesn’t have to be celebrities realizing the problems in their world which they have for so long ignored, no sometimes it takes an individual like you or I, to turn a situation around.

You may have guessed I’m talking about NekNomminations, a worldwide phenomenon that purely involves people videoing themselves ‘necking’ a drink, and for some reason its fascinating a generation.

However some individuals have taken their nominations and done great things with them; one gave a pint of blood and another gave a poor man a free meal.

 

 So even if using your agency isn’t going to change the world, never under estimate the difference it can make even if it is only to a one individuals day. 

Suziee Cassels

19 year old Newcastle University student

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