The PR of Taking a Stand
There’s nothing particularly new about people standing up for what they believe in, even when there could be terrible consequences. Nelson Mandela spent years in a third-world prison, and Rosa Parks sparked a positive change for countless lives. But 2016/2017 may well go down as the years of “taking a stand.” Some of it was even done while sitting or kneeling. But as should be noted, taking a stand can have consequences – good and bad. The PR of doing so can also have good and bad outcomes.
For 18-year-old Dorsa Derakshani, an Iranian female grandmaster chess champion, her career could come to an end over the recent stand she took in refusing to wear the mandated Hijab head covering at an international meet in her home country. Though she lives outside of Iran, she is part of their national team, and the hijab is not only required, but there are stiff penalties for not wearing it in public while in her country, let alone a competition.
Alternatively, in Hollywood and its many entertainment industries of film, music, stage, etc., taking a conservative stand is risky for the career, when it comes to future work in an industry filled with people and companies that lean heavily liberal. For those who flout the liberal presence, such as Joy Villa at the Grammys wearing the Make America Great/Trump dress, it proved great for her current record sales but may make her unable to do another if no one is willing to work with her.
Beyond that, there’s a lot of protest going on in groups, some of them using violent measures or choosing to continue their protest by leaving a huge mess behind, including the environmentalists leaving so much garbage after their pipeline protests that it could take weeks to clean up after their departure. Those groups declaring one thing and doing another, certainly face negative PR now and in the future.
The question for anyone ready and willing to make a stand on their beliefs – are they prepared for the consequences and do the choices they make support the stand they take? No one wants to look silly afterward; no one wants to be the posterchild for stupid choices. But if you truly believe in something and know that there could be a negative backlash, temporarily or long-term, then choose your battle, and be consistent with your message and actions. There are going to be people who love your for it and people who will curse you for it.
For many, it is safer to keep their beliefs and viewpoint a more private matter. Either approach is acceptable, there’s no law that says you have to die on the sword of public opinion, but there’s not one that says you cannot speak up either – at least not in these United States – not yet anyway.