New Campaign Draws Attention to Microaggressions

Microaggressions: small, common acts of aggression that can be verbal, behavioral, or environmental, often committed without the aggressor being aware. They happen to everyone on a daily basis, especially LGBTQ communities, women, and people of color. They are acts that do not need to be tolerated or accepted by any means. A current campaign aims to increase awareness about the dangerous effects these brief interactions can have on someone, especially youth.

Four students at Connecticut College released a media campaign titled “On Sex and Gender” on April 24th.  Over 80 participants were photographed with a microaggression that related to each individual’s sex, gender, or both. The campaign was created as a project for a Sociology course entitled, “Sex, Gender and Society.” As the campaign’s Tumblr account states, “This project aims to reveal just a small portion of the many indignities that occur every day in our communities. It is our hope that this project provokes you to reconsider the assumptions that underlie these daily statements and to consider the damage done by these statements.”

*Trigger warning* Some of the statements on the boards in the video may be disturbing

One of the four students involved with the project is Alia Roth. She recently spoke at YTH Live 2014 during the “Violence Prevention: Engaging Youth in Digital Conversations” session presenting her work on a campaign she created in 2013 titled “100 Men Rise.” Her inspiration for creating “On Sex and Gender” came from an intimate and troubling relationship with microaggressions. “The inspiration behind the project came from microaggressions that I continued to experience in our community. Statements like “You’re going to be such a great housewife one day” or “Don’t go all feminist on me” that I found so offensive, but the people saying it clearly did not understand the underlying tones and aggressive nature of their words” says Alia.

Alia Roth

At YTH we value the work that youth like Alia do for their communities. We advocate for the voices of young people to be heard throughout the world, across several platforms. We are committed to pursuing emerging, startling, and sometimes, simple technologies that can reach young people where they are.

Alia said, “How we are treated by our friends, family, peers and mentors impacts our health.  By showing our communities that these words are harmful, hurtful and attack our identities, it (hopefully) forces us to take a step back and think before we speak.”

We hope that this campaign will impact the Connecticut College community and inspire other communities to think twice before they speak. Words matter.

For more information on “On Sex and Gender,” visit

Anthony Sis youth leaderAnthony Sis (@a_sis62) is a founding member of YTH’s Youth Advisory Board.

He’s a senior at Connecticut College studying government and gender, as well as women’s studies, with a certificate in public policy and community action. He’s a spoken word poet, dancer, writer, and avid blogger. +Learn more about Anthony


YTH Live presentation image from Alia Roth.

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ZonaSegura ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed youth-centered innovative mobile solution to address teen dating violence in Honduras. Learn more about ZonaSegura on our program page.