the </unplugged> issue

Haley Hugh: Social Media Justice Warrior

Haters don’t get that online activism isn’t just fun for me; it’s my life’s work

Dearest diary,

On days like these, I know how Rosa Parks must have felt when she was sitting on the back of that Alabama bus, resting her head against the window, looking out at a world that was totally against her.

Sixty years later and I’m feeling Rosa’s same pain. It’s like, what was even the point of her sitting down? If you think about it, Rosa had it kinda easy—she only had to deal with Alabama. Whereas when I want to do good, because I actually care about my global village, all I get is worldwide hate.

I was so excited to drop my mental-health awareness sweater line yesterday. I ended up going for pastel blue reversible crewnecks with the slogans: “Have you taken your Zoloft today?” and “Klonopin is my bestie,” with matching sweaters sold separately for small-to-medium sized dogs or large cats. But as soon as it launched, people started flooding my Instagram comments saying the line was “insensitive.”

So typical because people loooveeee to wear Moschino and Nike logos on their shirts, but when it's a message with an actual meaning, suddenly everyone’s against it. Society is so superficial, it makes me sick. Everyone talks about the stigma attached to mental health, but no one talks about the stigma attached to talking about the stigma attached to mental health. I’d love to see "Bell Let’s Talk" talk about THAT for a change.

The worst part was people saying $475 was too expensive just for the dog/cat sweater. I mean, sorry, this is a fast-fashion-free zone. Didn’t we as a society agree child labour is bad? Or maybe that was just me, because I actually care...

"Everyone talks about the stigma attached to mental health, but no one talks about the stigma attached to talking about the stigma attached to mental health."

Haters don’t get that social activism isn’t just fun for me; it’s my life. Do they know how hard it is to create a cottagecore-themed infographic of COVID-19 death tolls in South Asia in a way that isn’t totally depressing? Do they think I enjoy scouring through TikTok sounds to find the perfect classical music for my guide to the best GoFundMe campaigns helping golden retrievers affected by the Australia wildfires?

No one sees your intention and your good heart when they prosecute you online. Excuse me, but I didn’t realize it was a crime now to use your platform to spark social change. I’m just so sick of the carceral state, you know? And to think, I could be an Amazon Prime student-ambassador-influencer right now if I wasn’t so committed to my anti-corporate ideals. I sacrificed two-day shipping for my life-long commitment to activism.

Maybe it's my fault for making effortlessness my brand. My followers only see the final polished product, not all of the thought and effort that goes behind each decision. And really, that’s on me. I should do a POV TikTok tomorrow to show my process of developing a hashtag for the refugee crisis in Venezuela.

Ultimately, whatever people comment, I know I was destined to bring the greatest good I can to the world, and I refuse to be silenced. I’m not gonna give up my work. I’m not gonna stand up from this seat. And if SHEIN bounced back from selling swastika necklaces, I can bounce back from this.

With love,


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