Earlier today I got interviewed by a mass-comm student regarding the topic of advocacy, and with the blog owner's permission, I'd like to share a snippet from that interview.
One of the questions went something along the lines of "Why is advocating so important in one's life?" and my answer went something like:
I don't think anyone can really run away from advocacy. Everyone is an advocate of something, whether they are aware of it or not. Their worldview, the way they act, what they choose to say and not say, how they choose to say or not say it, all those are acts of advocacy. You're portraying something to the world and the people around you, and whether they accept or reject whatever you have to say, they are affected by you in one way or another. I think the only way to not engage in advocacy is to not engage with people at all, be it online or in the real world. So the question doesn't become "why should one advocate?" It's more like "what do we choose to advocate?" and whether it's positive or negative depends on the individual advocate. (I realise now that I didn't actually answer the question. I hope the interviewer forgives me for that.)
But I guess to answer the question more directly, advocacy is so important in one's life because one cannot run away from it, unless, like I said earlier, they shun themselves from society altogether. So being aware of what we are advocates of becomes a pertinent discussion, if not within the public sphere, then at the very least, within oneself. What are we bringing into the world? What banners are we upholding/waving through our actions, speech and behaviour? How are we affecting the world by carrying those banners? Even not caring about all these things is an act of advocacy within itself, so it's worth having a serious think about, methinks.