Performative Activism

What is performative activism?

Advocating a cause to gain social standing

Performative activism is when a person participates in an activist movement not because they believe in the cause but because they want to be noticed. The phrase became popular in 2020 during the George Floyd protests when celebrities were accused of joining in to gain followers rather than out of genuine commitment.

Fake activism often occurs online, especially on social sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok. Performative activists post messages saying they support a cause but do nothing else to actually support it (such as donating money or protesting IRL).

Faux activism is a theatrical act performed to appear "woke" to followers or the general public. For example, in 2020, Emma Watson posted multiple black squares to her Instagram account in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM), taking time to ensure her "activism" maintained her account's aesthetic.

Performative activism is similar to slacktivism, which combines "slacker" and "activism" and describes people who try to be activists but don't want to put forth much effort. Performative activists may also be called "posers."


All these influencers are showing their true colors with their performative activism
Yeah, I saw one person selling a BLM shirt with her brand on it
Tweet calling out performative activism on Instagram
Tweet calling out performative activism on Instagram

Related Slang


Updated July 6, 2023

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