Love is the movement, the way in which to help others and bring awareness to issues such as depression, self-injury, and suicide; at least that is what the social movement that I am going to be talking about is known for. A social movement as defined in our reading for class is “a movement that was uninstitutionalized or outside the mainstream” and is restated as “an uninstitutionalized collectivity that operates on a sustained basis to exert external influence in behalf of a cause” (Simons & Jones, 2011, p. 480). There are some limitations that are set because of this definition the most important being that the movement itself should not be controlled by or linked with an institution. While I do think that it is an important part in the definition I do think that there is a good chance that the goal of social movements in general is to push an institution to take action, therefore, a social movement can often be connected with an institution.
To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is something that I first heard about in high school. I saw girls writing the word “love” on their wrists, forearms, etc. and was curious as to what it was about. “TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery”, this brief sentence I found really sums it all up (twloha.com). I do think that To Write Love on Her Arms is a social movement it started as one guy trying to sell t-shirts in order to help raise money for his friend to be able to get help and go to rehab and has turned into huge events all across the country. These events include music, poetry, motivational speakers, they are simply a way for those that are troubled to come together, find out information about getting help, and also raise money in order to support those that need help. This is a social movement because the founders are growing and adapting to changing times and continuing to spread the word. These changes include involvement at the university level, internship programs, the online store, and so much more. As this movement grows it is not only spreading the word on depression and treatment but also raising money to help those get the treatment they may need but cannot afford. On the TWLOHA website there are also many resources that may be used in order to reach out and get help also. In our society and depression is something that is frowned upon and given such negative connotations, so much so that those who may suffer from it will not reach out and get the help that they need. To Write Love On Her Arms is important in that brings up the topic of depression, not as a source of shame, but as a mental illness that is treatable, giving hope to those that may feel broken or lost.
This video is definitely meant to make people aware that there is a problem but also realize that there is help available too. This video uses pathos, or an emotional appeal in order to persuade the viewer that it will be ok. The beginning is very sad and dreary with dark colors and those that have been affected by depression, self-harming, and suicide. However that tone does not last the entire video, it becomes full of color and hope and the people finish by talking about how TWLOHA can help and has helped them. I think that To Write Love On Her Arms’ main goal is to reach those that are in trouble and suffering from depression, more specifically I think that they target teenagers and young adults and let them know that they are not alone. However the context of this video is a little different in that it was the introduction for the American Giving Awards because TWLOHA was up for an award in the category of Nonprofits and Activism. It is because of the context of this video that I do think the audience that this video was made for is much broader and includes three drastically different stories each with a different view point and experience with depression.
In conclusion I think that the To Write Love On Her Arms movement is a successful social movement for many reasons. First of all, it is raising awareness for issues like depression, self-injury, and suicide; issues that are in general not talked about openly in our society because they are shameful and embarrassing. Second, not only is TWLOHA spreading awareness about the issues but also about how those suffering can receive help. Last, it is a very easy movement to become a part of, the founder of this movement and all other members make it easy to get involved and hold TWLOHA events in your own community in order to raise money and awareness for something so common that happens in our society.
http://www.twloha.com/vision/ (no author or any other information available)
Simons,H., & Jones, J. (2011). Persuasion In Society: Leading Social Movements. New York, NY: Routledge