Young Suffragettes- Ceedling meet Celia Edell, the vlogging activist
Activism is usually associated with volume, brass and a mass of people, but a woman changing this concept, from a million man march, to ‘a girl in her room alone with a webcam’, is Celia Edell (23). Modest in her self description, Celia does not meet what is typically thought of as an activist. However, with a degree in philosophy, a natural presence behind a lens and an articulate dialogue, her vlogs are continuing the conversation of social issues between a huge network of people internationally.
But Celia didn’t start her activism behind a laptop screen; “I’ve marched with Take Back the Night and attended various feminist workshops on race, trans issues, allyship and creating safe accessible spaces. I also volunteered on the 24 hour crisis and support hotline at my local sexual assault centre for over 2 years”. This then progressed into vlogging approximately three years ago, which she believes solidified her activeness in the feminist community, ‘It was when I joined the Women’s Issues Network and started getting involved in activist circles.’ Even though Celia “loves to write”, and believes “with writing it’s easier to be articulate with your thoughts and ideas, but essays and blog posts have always felt more formal to me, probably because I have a tendency to write in an academic style from years of doing philosophy.” She explains how she came to find her informal dialogue; “I took to vlogging when I wanted to talk to my internet friends! Whether we were talking about body hair, anxiety or handling sexist family/co-workers, by saying my piece on video, I wanted to make it clear that this was just a part of a larger-conversation, one that we are all a part of”, she continues, “vlogging has always felt most natural for when I wanted to discuss an idea that I was still wrapping my own head around, because it has always felt like more of a discussion than an essay ever does.”
An ever evolving alternative to traditional activism is something Celia has progressed throughout her time on the internet; ‘I started by talking about hair and makeup, some basic feminism, basically just things that were on my mind. I still love hair and makeup, but I’ve become more active and political in all that I do over time, so it just happened naturally in my videos too.” Celia is starting to discover the influence her accessible approach to feminism is having on others, “I’ve heard from teenage girls who get their first taste of feminist theory from my vlogs, and message me to tell me they’ve now started a feminist club at her school”, she continues, “When I hear those things I feel like internet activism is going to play a big role in changing society as a whole.” And with young women like Celia bringing feminist education, usually only accessible at a university level, to young girls, we’re sure the internet is going to change the face of gender equality too.
illustration: Natalia Sanabria