Redesigning feminism through Social media

Introduction

In the modern world, the role of the media cannot be underestimated and media is considered as a tool for the production and dissemination of the ideology that serves the interests of the group/class that exercises economic and political control over it. Social media has proved to be a powerful vehicle for bringing women’s rights issues to the attention of a wider public, galvanizing action on the streets of cities around the world and encouraging policy makers to step up commitments to gender equality. The explosion of social media has redesigned gender equality and women’s rights.

Social Media and Feminist Hashtags

Social Media has reshaped the landscape to share information, technology, knowledge, opportunities and the relationship globally. Beyond its use as a social networking tool, social media allows for the first time any individual to share content and opinions to a global audience, bypassing traditional media or other modes of information transmission. Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter have allowed activists around the world to retransmit events live to a broad online audience, such as during the Arab Spring movement. Within no time local issues become global concerns; local activists become connected with global citizens.

Women’s rights movements have also been quick to capitalize on social media’s unprecedented political and awareness-raising potential. Importance of social media in allowing gender activists to connect within and across borders, at a low cost. The surge of female bloggers has in particular helped attract a younger generation of activists, who represent a key target audience to break established stereotypes and help advance gender equality.

Hashtag activism bringing women’s issues to the forefront of political agendas: Hashtag activism has helped to mobilize public attention on women’s rights, increasing the visibility of issues that are under-reported in mainstream media. For example in 2013, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign reached over 1 million tweets, helping to raise awareness of both national and international actors of the need to help rescue the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls. Before the hashtag campaign’s success, the case received little media attention.

UN Women’s successful and high-profile #HeForShe campaign further highlights the potential of social media to attract new and larger audiences: the campaign engaged with more than 1.2 billion people, putting the global spotlight on the need to engage men and boys to achieve gender equality.

Tackling violence against women through social media tools: Social media tools have helped female victims to share their experiences of violence with other victims, creating a space to exchange knowledge and information on their rights, legal processes and welfare services. The #DelhiGangRape hashtag campaign brought the scale of gender-based violence in India into the spotlight. Social media has been increasingly used by women’s grassroots organizations to call for greater public accountability towards gender equality.

Over recent years, young feminist activism has assumed prominence in mainstream media where news headlines herald the efforts of schoolgirls in fighting sexism, sexual violence and inequity. Keeping the identities secret by less visible in the public eye, feminism activitism plays out in social media where girls/women can speak out about gender-based injustices experienced and witnessed. Digital media are a key tool to connect girls with feminism and with other feminists in local and global contexts. Thus, the social media has redesigned and constantly redesigning feminism.

By Sanjit Bakshi

Sanjit Bakshi

(Director at Oriental Structural Engineers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi)

Master’s in Business Administration with majors in finance from the Columbia Business School. To me writing is a kind of passion more than a profession. I’ve an impressive communication skill and excellent convincing style. I love to write and aim to improve myself with each of my steps as a writer. I never hesitate to enrich my knowledge by facing challenges and learning new things.

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Master’s in Business Administration with majors in finance from the Columbia Business School.

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Sanjit Bakshi

Sanjit Bakshi

Master’s in Business Administration with majors in finance from the Columbia Business School.

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