Monday, August 18, 2014

Why I *Despise* the Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised 15.6 million dollars for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), which is a very good thing.  I am not bashing fundraising.  Lord knows, I've done plenty myself and am currently involved in a gofundme project.

HOWEVER ...

The Ice Bucket Challenge is nothing more than bullying for a good cause in my mind; the ultimate form of peer pressure.  You are called out in a public forum (social media - about as public as you can get) and have 24 hours to do the challenge (and still pay $10) or cough up the money.  To me, this is like the playground bully telling a child that he can either give up his lunch money for the week or get a swirly and give up just today's lunch money.

It doesn't sit well with me. 

I donate to charities a lot.  I give both my time and my money. 

I haven't forgotten that just a few short years ago we were living hand-to-mouth and I never knew from one month to the next if I was going to be able to keep a roof over our heads.  We went three entire winters with nothing more than extra blankets and space heaters because I couldn't afford the $300+/mo natural gas bill.  There were times when we'd wake up and the house was a balmy 40* F.

Now that I'm in a position to be more free with my money, I don't think twice about giving charities that I believe in my money, but I won't be bullied into it. 

Maybe it's the still-too-fresh-memory of having nothing that makes me hate this challenge so much.  I worry about the people who are challenged who don't have the money to donate, who are playfully "called out" by their friends.  I put myself in their position and can feel very clearly the pressure to perform.  I'm sorry, but back in the day, giving up $10 would have been taking food out of my kids' mouths.  The $100 for not doing the challenge would have been my entire month's worth of groceries.

Even though it's "for a good cause" it's still nothing more than bullying.

4 comments:

Daddy Hawk said...

Amen to that.

Cindy D. said...

I was tagged just yesterday, and told the person to remove me from it immediately. I prefer to pick and choose what I donate too, and right now I'd just assume donate to my son's medical expenses rather than someone else's. That way I don't find myself have to beg for handouts. Besides, what I have seen is that most people do the challenge and post in on their facebook page or you tube or what ever, and never even tell where to donate at. At that point it is nothing more than jumping on a band wagon to be part of a fad. I DON'T DO FADS!

Momma Fargo said...

I may have to disagree on some things, but I understand your points. First, I don't let anyone bully me. You can always decline or refuse to do it. It is supposed to be a fun challenge and a way to engage you in what it feels like to have ALS. The cold ice bucket is the closest thing they came up with. It now spreads more generic to other charities as just a fun challenge. Those that get hurt or take it too far are idiots. My daughter and I did two challenges-ALS and ODMP and gave up $40.00 to good causes. We also declined a couple other charity challenges. It was never meant to bully people, but maybe people bully each other. It was meant to get people active because just asking for money wasn't doing it. Just my two sense or cents. :)

GunDiva said...

Momma, I agree that it did not INTEND to be bullying, that it started out as a fun thing to do. However (probably because you know, humans were involved), it morphed into bullying and fad-ish behavior.