Flat White

Wristband paedophilia?

1 February 2017

6:57 AM

1 February 2017

6:57 AM

If you’re not wearing the wristband, do you really believe in it?

It’s an existentially fascinating question in our age of virtue signalling. But of course, the answer is “yes.” For example, you could tweet #illridewithyou. Not that you’d ever be called upon to ride with anyone during an imaginary backlash against Muslims (interestingly, this discredited campaign has now being reincarnated to enable similarly empty promises to Muslims being denied entry into the US).

Or you could make a formulaic declaration of your support for [insert preferred noble cause here] on Facebook. Not being limited to 140 characters, there is an opportunity for both grandstanding AND commentary on said grandstanding. I write in the forthcoming Spectator Australia about some Australia Day silliness in this regard.


Also, you can wear a safety pin. Sorry, #safetypin. Ostensibly, it’s meant to show you’re a “safe” person, but for most of these crybabies it came in handy as a spare for their nappies.

But wearing a highly visible wristband seems to be the most likely way to commit yourself to actually having to do something. It’s bright, it stands out, and it’s worn in an obvious place. Which is obviously what globetrotting maths tutor Sophie Whitehouse was thinking when she founded the You Can Sit With Me wristband campaign. It’s “an anti-bullying campaign…with a life-changing message.”

YCSWM started last year, and TV ads have now begun, but in the meantime, it established itself as an indispensable member of the Anti-Bullying Industrial Complex. It offers training, social media interaction, opportunities for corporate sponsorship, and celebrity ambassadors, naturally. Bullying is a menace in, as Ms Whitehouse points out, our “playgrounds, classrooms, sporting clubs and communities.” And so if one child is empowered to break the cycle of bullying, or even just introduced to a few friends to have lunch with, we should rejoice.

But YCSWM’s intended scope, and the marketing apparatus that accompanies it, are also the project’s major flaws. While it donates proceeds to the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation, it is essentially part of Ms Whitehouse’s business, and so without the usual financial accountability of a charity. But more problematic is YCSWM’s plan that the wristbands become the ubiquitous symbol of safety for vulnerable children. Perverts and paedophiles will catch on quickly. You can sit with them. No hashtag necessary, and yes, it’s a cause they really believe in.

Illustration – Pinterest.

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