So let me see if I have this right. Here we have Mosh, by any standard a kept woman with no discernible talents or accomplishments of her own other than apparently being able to have orgasms with any camera on sight, and she’s lecturing on the empowerment of women? Seriously? What is wrong with this picture?
Then again, the media and the public are happy to give anyone with a tad bit of celebrity status any kind of credit:
They hug a brown baby - voila we have a humanitarian
They post a picture of a dead tree - tata: here is your environmentalist
They blog about their new vegan diet and make-up: Oh, look totally into health
They manage to get into a UN something (and seriously how could something so wonderful like the UN de-generate into a media and celebrity circus?
) and we have a Human rights, gender equality name it activist.
And to be fair, Mary is no shrinking violet, she and Fred know everything there is about female power....
I can't understand this either...and I've been working with different UN institutions for years! Some causes need publicity though (probably) so that may be it. I always get frustrated about celebs/royals using the UN system because the real people behind projects get overshadowed. But then again, as my boss tells me - it's not about individuals but about ideas and impact and all the ideas, operations, and impact and everything associated with that comes from people who do day-to-day work not from fame hungry people trying to establish themselves as something they aren't.
Yvonne, is publicity required for:
a) fundrasiing for solution/programme development and implementation?
b) solution adoption?
( Celebs include royalty for convenience) Where does the majority of the funding come from for example, programmes you are currently involved in? Does the value of a cdlebrity endorsement/support lie in face recognition/ networks? Face recognition would help with raising funds from Joe public, yes/no? Networks are where the single big donors would arise from yes/no?
Solution adoption could only be assisted by celebrity involvement if the celebs had some legitimacy, yes/no?
Are there more efficient ways to raise funding/awareness than celebirty endorsements or patronages?
Happy to be corrected by others but this is my experience:
- Fundraising for different projects may be why celebs may be needed for organization such as UNICEF, they also ask for donations from common folks in supermarkets and on flights, I've noticed. We always joke that UNICEF is a big charity, not a multilateral, but I love the organization nonetheless. I'm not sure though how much it is donations and how much it's money from governments that UNICEF spends. I don't think that donations are enough to cover the cheapest programs and salaries for staff and consultants working on them ...
- Celebs are never needed for solution adoption, it's done by senior folks - with at least P-4 level as it depends on so many factors that only insiders may know. Maxima may be an exception due to her work experience, but again she may only voice her opinion.
- UNDP, UNAIDS, UNESCO, and others work with money from nation states/governments and/or by cooperating with donors such as the World Bank, IMF, USAID. That's the type of funding used on the projects I've worked. Never through fundraising from the public or through celebs/royals. Nation states pay their regular part based on many factors (GDP, economic strength, etc) and in addition may give financial support to particular projects because of policies/threats in their own countries. Donors again come not because of celebs/royals but because of their own programs - it is beneficial to partner for many operational reasons.
- Nation states adopt UN frameworks not because of celebs but because it is UN people who come and talk to governments there, not people like Mary.
- I unfortunately can't comment on efficiency of different ways of fundraising or raising awareness as my field doesn't need that: we get stable funding from a few western governments and some big donors, and the topic is something that is important but doesn't require the public to contribute in any way, if that makes sense.
- One of the things UN is doing is changing attitudes/behaviors so this is where celebs may step in - gender equality, LGBTQ rights, refugees, for example - this is where the public in many places needs to change how they treat certain groups of people so having someone famous on board may be good for that. But Emma Watson or Jolie may be them, not Mary or Sofia or MM in the future.
Diogenes, fairy, Yvonne for the thought provoking discussion.
Yvonne, for your generous explanation. So Celebs are mascots or cheerleaders who have causes they champion to raise awareness.
Your boss seems to be a generous, wise, old soul and a pragmatist. I will just remain angry on behalf of unsung heroes like yourself.
The only way I have managed to make sense of why we would attach any value to a celeb/royal/high profile figure is that:
1. Our natural receptiveness to virtue signalling is only countered by the discomfort of cognitive dissonance.
2. We actually believe that the end justifies the means. Perceived achievement is lauded above honest effort.
3. We like things shiny, attention grabbing instead of understated because understated implies some effort on our part in the process of discovery
4. We believe in hierarchies and deep down that the person at the top must have succeeded at some game we have not figured out how to play (which actually seems necessary for survival) however we might detest their values.
5. We are inclined to judge value by outliers even though we statistically reject them:
I think all of the above are related).
Out of interest, here is a link to an article by the person who coined the phrase “virtue signalling”, James Bartholomew.https://www.spectator.co....ts-taking-over-the-world/
Here is an extract from his article ( perfect for another ferociously active RD thread
)"The phrase came to me after years of trying to come up with the something. Researching my previous book, The Welfare State We’re In, I came to realise that the Victorians and Edwardians gave vastly more money to charity than people do now. It was normal even for the working and artisan classes to give as much as 10 per cent of their income. That compares with donations of less than 1 per cent for the general population now. Among many other things, they gave money to help charitable hospitals through the King’s Fund in Saturday workplace collections. They also took it as normal to look after their aged parents and other relatives.
I agree with all you wrote, it really explains the situation well. I feel upset when I see young people trying to model their 'humanitarian' behavior after celebrities instead of contributing something substantial - photos at numerous UN and other global events they share on instagram, tweetarable crap they post, but nothing in-depth and no real effort, and some really seem to be reluctant to actually work.
And there's no problem with that but they rarely actually learn deeply about what they champion and they don't acknowledge that it's not them who do all the work, that they are just mascots, as you called them.