Performative Allyship

What does performative allyship mean?

Allyship that is performed to gain social standing

Performative allyship is when a person acts as an ally to a minority group, like the BIPOC or LGBTQ community, for reasons other than actually caring about their experiences and equality. It is often used online to criticize fake "allies" that only do it to receive praise from others.

The term was coined in the mid-2010s and grew in popularity as became more "woke," but it wasn't until the George Floyd protests in May and June of 2020 that it became a more mainstream term. It is primarily used to call out people, most often famous people, and companies for pretending to be allies of BIPOC or LGBTQ members.

These "performative allies" may do it because they want to gain followers or just don't want to be labeled as a racist or bigot for not saying or doing anything. This fake allyship often occurs online, especially on social sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The person may post that he opposes racism or bigotry towards LGBTQ people, but doesn't actually do anything, like donate money or protest for change.

Sometimes "performative allyship" may be done unknowingly by everyday users online. In regards to BIPOC allyship, they may post on social media denouncing a racially motivated crime but then go back to their everyday lives. They act like allies for several fleeting moments but are not consistently fighting for BIPOC that real allies are committed to every day.

An example of this was when George Floyd was killed in May 2020 and many people posted how they were appalled by his death but then went right back to their foodie, baby, and dog posts. It's easier to perform like an ally online with a hashtag then to take up the fight day in and day out online and in the real world.

The term is similar to "Slacktivism," which is a combination of "slacker" and "activism" and describes people who try to be activists but don't want to put forth much effort. Performative allies may also be called "Posers," which are people guilty of bragging that they live their life one way but don't actually like like that at all.

Example

"Stacie's performative allyship is so disturbing."
"Yeah, she even tried to sell her essential oils as part of her call for justice."
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Related Slang

Usage

Last Updated: June 24, 2020

Performative allyship definition

This page explains what the slang term "Performative allyship" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slangit team.

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