This post is in response to Sunita’s post The Power of Social Media where she discusses seeing an article taking ethical selfies on Facebook.
I saw the same article while I was scrolling, also shared by a Peace Corp’s volunteer, and was prompted to write a blog post on it as well. I strongly agree with Sunita, that both articles she referenced will be a great supplements to our collective course statement and that the class should read them, especially with the influence that social media plays in our daily life. In addition to the focus of the article on the portrayal of a volunteer’s posts while abroad, I think that their discussion of consent for these photos is relevant to both the course statement and voluntourism.
Throughout this semester many of the books had a common theme of lack of consent and I believe that this a problem faced when volunteers take photos in the countries they volunteer in without thinking about their actions. There is a consistent lack of informed consent, especially children’s and guardian’s consent when volunteers take photos; “We’re constantly reproducing these images that have no respect for informed consent,” Ogard says. “In Norway, I would never show up at a school and take a selfie with kids playing” (Gharib, 2017). I never even thought of the lack of consent that was occurring when people travel and take photos of unknowing children, but I think my lack of knowledge on this shows how necessary discussion on consent is to the collective course statement. I wholeheartedly agree with Radi-Aid’s statement that “Informed consent is a key element in responsible portrayal of others on social media” (How to communicate the World, 2017). I believe with our prior knowledge and experience of the lasting effects of what happens with lack of consent through situations such as Cee’s infertility and the numerous accounts of medical experimentation in Medical Apartheid, with these guidelines, we will be able to write a thoughtful and impactful course statement.