Virtue Signalling – The Good, the Bad & the Controversial

By Elizabeth Trusler | Swipe for More Podcast

The first ‘Swipe for More’ podcast is live! We discussed the concept of ‘virtue signalling’. It is a buzzword that has been thrown around the media in recent years, and we wanted to see where critics have been applying it.

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The new Gillette advertisement uses its product platform to push an agenda. The Swipe for More podcast team discuss whether this can be seen as virtue signalling.

The term, virtue signalling, was first coined in an article from The Spectator in 2015 and since then, the phrase has been applied to many cases in the media industry. The ‘Swipe for More’ team are intrigued by the mechanisms behind the phrase and want to figure out where it actually applies.

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Source: Twitter

J.K. Rowling has been criticised over Twitter for surfacing new details of Harry Potter characters that were not specific in the texts. Some have applauded her inclusivity while others have been skeptical it is virtue signalling to remain relevant.

According to Bartholomew, virtue signalling is like camouflage. It’s using words to indicate how good you are without having to do anything, or even to cover hypocritical actions in order to create an honourable image. To better understand the meaning, we discussed the mechanism behind the term.

The discussion in our podcast leads us to the conclusion that virtue signalling is using words or easy expression to create an image of high moral standards for an ulterior motive, such as gaining public approval or popularity.

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Source: Instagram 

The Swipe for More team discuss whether Anne Hathaway’s Instagram post is virtue signalling. According to Ben Shapiro it is, but is there really a case for it in this statement? Listen to the Podcast to see what we think!

Throughout the podcast, Julia, Taylah, Louise, and I look at a range of media posts from adding a filter to your Facebook profile picture, celebrity tweets, and company motives. We analyse where cases can be made for virtue signalling. Check out the link below to listen!

However, whether you question motives of a friend, celebrity, or company’s post or statements, the key takeaway is to take responsibility for your own words. We can be skeptical of ulterior motives behind virtue signalling, but can’t control what others say. Take control of your own expression and be truthful in your words and actions that align with the motive.

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