Ice Bucket Challenge: Leads to Slacktivism?


Not only are our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds thronged with videos of friends taking up the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, but the mainstream media has also been crowded with news of celebrities pouring ice cool waters over their heads. While the challenge has gone viral all over social media and has become widely popular, it has also become a target of criticism.

It is important to understand what the Ice bucket challenge really calls for. The rule of the challenge is simple: Once somebody nominates you for the Ice Bucket Challenge, you have to upload a video of yourself being hit by a bucket of Ice Cold water and donate $10. If you don’t want to take up the challenge then you need to donate $100 to the ALS Foundation. Following this, you have to nominate minimum two of your friends for a similar task who that need to perform the act within 24 hours of nomination.

The challenge has widely spread creating awareness of the ALS disease (amyptrophic lateral sclerosis) also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. The donation goes to the ALS Foundation, an American Non-Profit Organisation that has been raising money for research and cure of the disease.

The Ice Bucket challenge has emerged as a phenomenon of its kind with the entire social media users posting videos taking up the challenge. But it has also received a great deal of criticism. The rules are clear, either you take up the challenge and donate a small amount, or donate a large sum for the cause if you don’t want to be hit by cold water.  When the American President Barack Obama did not take up the challenge but donated money instead, he was criticised by many. But isn’t that what the rules say: Either take the challenge or donate the money? With everyone taking the challenge up, many are assuming that taking up the challenge would save them from giving away their money. It has also been criticized for slacktivism— a feel-good measure that usually is taken up by people to make themselves feel good rather than making a significant contribution for the cause.

However, even if such criticism may hold true in few cases, the Ice Bucket Challenge has emerged as a great and a fun way of raising awareness and money both. Think for it yourself, if it wasn’t for the Ice bucket Challenge that has gone viral, would you have even known about what ASL really is? While many may be taking up the challenge and not donating, there are many who have taken the challenge up and have donated a significant amount of money too. Especially the fact that celebrities are a part of this fun, it has only helped in making the cause widely known.

Here are videos of some Indian celebrities who have taken up the challenge open armed. See here:

Abhishek Bachchan was challenged by actor Ritesh Deshmukh. After taking up the challenge, he nominated his father Amitabh Bachchan and the entire team of Happy New Year, his upcoming film.

Akshay Kumar was in Cape Town, South Africa when he accepted the challenge of Ritesh Desmukh. He further nominated his wife, Twinkle Khanna, Ashwini, Salman Khan and Johnny Lever. With 11 buckets of cold water, now this looks like a real challenge.

Accepting Ritesh Deshmukh’s challenge, Sidharth Malhotra takes to the ice cold water, further nominating Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Mohit Suri.

Sonakshi Sinha has a clear message: “Stop wasting water and go and donate.”

Others like Bipasha Basu, Daler Mehndi, Mandira Bedi have also taken up the challenge. With the new channels continuously flashing new videos of celebrities taking up the challenge, it would be unfair to say that the Ice Bucket Challenge is all about the fun. After all, if it wasn’t for such exciting videos of celebrities, many of us would have never been aware of the Lou Gehrig’s disease. Further, through the spread of this challenge, ALS Foundation has raised over $41 million so far. This clearly shows that the Ice Bucket Challenge does not result in Slacktivism for all.

Pallavi Sharma

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