[Controversy] What is poverty porn and why it has to stop now!

Poverty porn is a method used by charity organizations to boost empathy and contributions from people by showing pictures of people living in miserable conditions.

We have all seen those adverts and campaigns with extremely skinny children with pleading faces and begging eyes. These images are often so degrading and undignified that they leave the viewer with a feeling of uncomfortable guilt.

Extreme-poverty-and-hunger

 Stereotypical charity campaign by Sophie Abasa

Some will argue that poverty porn has positive outcomes in the sense that it is used as a tool to touch people’s sensibility and get them to make donations. The truth is that if donations were that effective, Africa would be the richest continent of the world…Here is why poverty porn needs to stop right now.

It perpetuates stereotypes

As the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete”. Constantly seeing images of poor, sick and hungry African children in the media gives the western world the idea that poverty is a constant and normal lifestyle in Africa. Stereotypes harms Africans’ dignity. (Can we take time to think about the fact that the medias don’t show photos of dead Americans or English soldier to respect human dignity and not shock the audience?). Poverty porn portrays Africa as a sad and dangerous place to be, making people running away from it. I can remember that day a girl who is now my friend asked me “So do you have toilets in your country?” I was like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat????? Obviously, I cannot be mad at her for not knowing, but I can blame the media for perpetuating stereotypes.

How many times did you hear “why are you wasting food when children are dying of hunger in Africa?” when the truth is that poverty exists everywhere.

The famous twitter hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou tried to remedy that by getting Africans to show the world how they see their continent themselves. The pictures uploaded shows that Africa is not only a place of poverty as some may imagine, but also a continent that have amazing architecture styles, fashion, cuisine, culture, engineering, universities, mineral resources and also beautiful and powerful women.

Poor people are exploited for sensationalism.

Another issue with poverty porn is that these poor people get their pictures taken and used without their permission. Would you like being recorded or photographed in your darkest moments for the world to see? I don’t think so. So why are these kids being objectified? There is almost a competition between charities on who is going to get the most vulnerable picture to convince the audiences that the people they are trying to take care of are the most deserving of attention.

Perpetuating stereotypes and exploiting people for sensationalism are only a few negative aspects of poverty porn. What other aspects can you think about? Do you think that poverty porn is beneficial? Let us know what you think in the comment section. Share the article to get your friends involved in the discussion and don’t forget to follow Afri Diary in social media

Twitter: @Afri_diary

Facebook: Afri Diary

Instagram: @Afri_diary

Youtube : Afri Diary

Post by Madiara

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s