Advertisement

“Hashtag Feminism”: Activism or Slacktivism?

  • Gina Masullo Chen
  • Paromita Pain
  • Briana Barner
Chapter
Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies book series (CFS)

Abstract

Authors Chen, Pain, and Barner address hashtag feminism and its use of hashtags across a variety of digital platforms with an aim toward theorizing about who defines feminism in the digital sphere and how this relates to future directions for feminist media research and theory. They examine how the hashtag provides a potent tool to give voice to the marginalized and silenced, and thus contributes to social media’s role in fomenting social justice, political resistance, and empowerment for women. Drawing on Lauren Berlant’s concept, they argue that the hashtag offers discursive power to galvanize the voiceless into “intimate publics” that produce a coherently robust form of activism online, particularly among those left out of the traditional mainstream media discourse. Yet, at the same time, the agency wrought by the hashtag may offer a constrained empowerment that reinforces hegemonic norms, perpetuates digital subjugation of women, and reifies damaging narratives of victimhood and cultural imperialism.

References

  1. Ahmed, Saifuddin, and Kokil Jaidka. 2013. Protests Against #Deligangrape on Twitter: Analyzing India’s Arab Spring. eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government 5: 28–58.Google Scholar
  2. Alaimo, Kara. 2015. How the Facebook Arabic Page “We Are All Khaled Said” Helped Promote the Egyptian Revolution. Social Media + Society 1: 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115604854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Altinay, Rüstem Ertuğ. 2014. “There Is a Massacre of Women”: Violence Against Women, Feminist Activism, and Hashtags in Turkey. Feminist Media Studies 14: 1102–1103.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2014.975445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anand, Utkarsh. 2016. Sabarimala Temple: Kerala Government Defends Ban on Women’s Entry. Indian Express, February 6. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/sabarimala-temple-kerala-govt-defends-ban-on-womens-entry/.
  5. Bahadur, Nina. 2015. Feminist Have Taken Over #How To Spot A Feminist, and It Is Glorious. Huffington Post, May 6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/06/how-to-spot-a-feminist-is-now-a-feminist-hashtag_n_7221894.html.
  6. Batliwala, Srilatha. 1994. The Meaning of Women’s Empowerment: New Concepts From Action. In Population Practices Reconsidered: Health, Empowerment, and Rights, ed. Gita Sen, Adrienne Germain, and Lincoln C. Chen, 127–138. New York: Harvard School of Public Health.Google Scholar
  7. Belair-Gagnon, Valerie, Smeeta Mishra, and Colin Agur. 2012. Reconstructing the Indian Public Sphere: Newswork and Social Media in the Delhi Rape Case. Journalism 15: 1059–1075.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884913513430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berlant, Lauren. 2011. Cruel Optimism. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brock, Andre. 2012. From the Blackhand Side: Twitter as a Cultural Conversation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 54: 529–549.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2012.732147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burns, Alexander, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin. 2016. Donald Trump Apology Caps Days of Outrage Over Lewd Tape. The New York Times, October 7, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/politics/donald-trump-women.html?_r=0.
  11. Butler, Judith. 1993. Bodies that Matter: One the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Campbell, Christopher P., Kim M. LeDuff, Cheryl D. Jenkins, and Rockwell A. Brown. 2012. Race and News: Critical Perspectives. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Capachi, Casey. 2013. Suey Park: Asian American Women Are #NotYourAsianSidekick. The Washington Post. December 17. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/12/17/suey-park-asian-american-women-are-notyourasiansidekick/.
  14. Carstensen, Tanja. 2014. Gender and Social Media: Sexism, Empowerment, or the Irrelevance of Gender? In The Routledge Companions to Media and Gender, ed. Cynthia Carter, Linda Steiner, and Lisa McLaughlin, 483–492. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Castillo, Debra A. 1992. Talking Back: Toward a Latina American Feminist Literary Criticism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Chaudhry, Irfan. 2014. #Hashtags for Change: Can Twitter Promote Social Progress in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Communication 8: 943–961.Google Scholar
  17. Chen, Gina Masullo. 2013. Don’t Call Me That: A Techno-Feminist Critique of the Term ‘Mommy Blogger.’ Mass Communication & Society 16: 510–532.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2012.737888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cole, Kristi K. 2015. “It’s Like She’s Eager to Be Verbally Abused”: Twitter, Trolls, and (En)Gendering Disciplinary Rhetoric. Feminist Media Studies 15: 356–358.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1008750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and Politics of Empowerment. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1989. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1: 139–167.Google Scholar
  21. Cunningham, Phillip Lamarr. 2013. “Get a Crew... And Make it Happen”: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and New Media’s Potential for Self-Definition. In African Americans on Television, ed. David J. Leonard and Lisa A. Guerrero. Santa Barbara: Praeger.Google Scholar
  22. D’Silva, Elsa. 2015. Guest Post: Tweet to @SafecityIndia to make your city safer. blog.Twitter.com, October 27, 2015. https://blog.twitter.com/2015/guest-post-tweet-to-safecityindia-to-make-your-city-safer-in
  23. Dean, Jodi. 2009. Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Durhan: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dixon, Kitsy. 2014. Feminist Online Identity: Analyzing the Presence of Hashtag Feminism. Journal of Arts and Humanities 3: 34–40.Google Scholar
  25. Eagle, Ryan Bowles. 2014. Loitering, Lingering, Hashtagging: Women Reclaiming Public Space Via #BoardtheBus, #StopStreetHarassment, and the #EverydaySexism Project. Feminist Media Studies 15 (2): 350–353.Google Scholar
  26. Eagle, Ryan Bowles. 2015. Loitering, Lingering, Hashtagging: Women Reclaiming Public Space via #BoardTheBus, #StopStreetHarassment, and the #EverydaySexism Project. Feminist Media Studies 15: 350–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Eltantawny, Nahed, and Julie B. Wiest. 2011. Social Media in the Egyptian Revolution: Reconsidering Resource Mobilization Theory. International Journal of Communication 5: 1207–1224.Google Scholar
  28. Festinger, Leon. 1957. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Foucault, Michel. 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  30. Gannes, Liz. 2010. The Short and Illustrious History of Twitter #Hashtags. Gigaom. https://gigaom.com/2010/04/30/the-short-and-illustrious-history-of-twitter-hashtags/.
  31. Green, Joanne Helen. 2008. Measuring Women’s Empowerment: Development of a Model. International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 4: 369–389.  https://doi.org/10.1386/macp.4.3.369_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grewal, Inderpal, and Caren Kaplan. 2000. Postcolonial Studies and Transnational Feminist Practices. Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies 5 http://english.chass.ncsu.edu/jouvert/v5i1/grewal.htm.
  33. Guha, Pallavi. 2015. Hash Tagging But not Trending: The Success and Failure of the News Media to Engage with Online Feminist Activism in India. Feminist Media Studies 15: 155–157.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.987424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Higgs, Eleanor Tiplady. 2015. JusticeForLiz: Power and Privilege in Digital Transnational Women’s Rights Activism. Feminist Media Studies 15: 334–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jackson, Sarah J. 2016. (Re)Imagining Intersectional Democracy from Black Feminism to Hashtag Activism. Women’s Studies in Communication 39: 375–379.  https://doi.org/10.1080/07491409.2016.1226654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Johnson, Kirk A., Mark K. Dolan, and John Sonnett. 2011. Speaking of Looting: An Analysis of Racial Propaganda in National Television Coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Howard Journal of Communications 22: 302–318.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10646175.2011.590404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Koffman, Ofra, and Rosalind Gill. 2013. The Revolution Will be Led By a 12-Year-Old Girl: Girl Power and Global Biopolitics. Feminist Review 105: 83–102.  https://doi.org/10.1057/fr.2013.16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Latina, Daniela, and Stevie Docherty. 2014. Trending Participation, Trending Exclusion? Feminist Media Studies 14: 1103–1105.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2014.975449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Portwood-Stacer, Laura, and Susan Berridge. 2014. Introduction: The Year in Feminist Hashtags. Feminist Media Studies 14: 1090–1115.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2014.975415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lee, Yu-Hao and Gary Hsieh. 2013. Does Slacktivism Hurt Activism? The Effect of Moral Balancing and Consistency on Online Activism. Proceedings of the CHI 2013: Changing Perspectives, April 27 to May 2, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  41. Liebler, Carol. 2010. Me(dia) Culpa: The “Missing White Woman Syndrome” and Media Self Critique. Communication, Culture & Critique 3: 549–565.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-9137.2010.01085.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lopez, Lori Kido. 2009. The Radical Act of “Mommy Blogging”: Redefining Motherhood Through the Blogosphere. New Media & Society 11: 729–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lovett, Ian and Adam Nagourney. 2014. Video Rant, Then Deadly Rampage in California Town. The New York Times, May 24. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/us/california-drive-by-shooting.html?_r=0.
  44. Loza, Susana. 2016. Hashtag Feminism, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and Other #FemFuture. Journal of Gender, News Media, and Technology 5: 1–31.  https://doi.org/10.7264/N337770V.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. MacAulay, Maggie, and Marcos Daniel Moldes. 2016. Queen Don’t Compute: Reading and Casting Shad on Facebook’s Real Names Policy. Critical Studies in Media Communication 33: 6–22.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15295036.2015.1129430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marwick, Alice E., and danah boyd. 2011. I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience. New Media & Society 13: 113–140.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444810365313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McCosker, Anthony. 2015. Social Media Activism at the Margins: Managing Visibility, Voice, and Vitality Affects. Social Media + Society 1: 1–11.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115605860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Miller, Claire Cain 2016. “Nasty Women”: Why Men Insult Powerful Women. The News York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/upshot/history-of-insults-nasty-words-about-women-serve-a-purpose-for-men.html?_r=0.
  49. Newsom, Victoria A., and Lara Lengel. 2003. The Power of the Weblogged Word: Contained Empowerment in the Middle East North Africa Region. Feminist Media Studies 3: 360–363.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1468077032000166568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. ———. 2013. Arab Women, Social Media, and the Arab Spring: Applying the Framework of Digital Reflexivity to Gender and Online Activism. Journal of International Women’s Studies 13: 31–25.Google Scholar
  51. Ono, Kent A., and Vincent Pham. 2009. Asian Americans and the Media. Malden: Polity.Google Scholar
  52. Oz, Mustafa. 2016. Mainstream Media’s Coverage of the Gezi Protests and Protesters’ Perception of Mainstream Media. Global Media and Communication: 1–16.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1742766516653164.
  53. Papacharissi, Zizi, and Maria de Fatima Oliveira. 2012. Affective News and Networked Publics: The Rhythms of News Storytelling on #Egypt. Journal of Communication 62: 266–282.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01630.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Poell, Thomas. 2015. Connecting Activists and Journalists: Twitter Communication in the Aftermath of the 2012 Delhi Rape. Journalism Studies 16: 719–733.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2015.1054182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ramirez, Tanisha Love and Carolina Moreno. 2015. #LatinasAreNot Going to Stand For Stereotypes, This Hashtag Proves It. Huffington Post, November 6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/latinasarenot-going-to-stand-for-stereotypes-and-this-hashtag-proves-it_us_563cd6ece4b0307f2cad295c.
  56. Richards, Victoria. 2015. Indian Women Launch ‘Happy to Bleed’ Campaign to Protest Against Religious Rule. Independent, November 25. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indian-women-launch-happy-to-bleed-campaign-to-protest-against-sexist-religious-rule-a6748396.html.
  57. Rodino-Colocino, Michelle. 2014. #YesAllWomen: Intersectional Mobilization Against Sexual Assault is Radical (Again). Feminist Media Studies 14: 1113–1115.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2014.975475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Romano, Andrea. 2015. Sexist #HowToSpotAFeminist Hashtag Is Reclaimed by Feminists on Twitter. Mashable, May 5. http://mashable.com/2015/05/05/how-to-spot-a-feminist/.
  59. Sabin, Lamiat. 2014. Teenage Girl Dies After Being Set Alight By Gang of Six Sex Attackers in India. Independent. November 26. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/teenage-girl-dies-after-being-set-alight-by-gang-of-six-sex-attackers-in-india-9884727.html.
  60. Sandoval, Chela. 2000. Methodology of the Oppressed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  61. Sandoval, Ann Marie. 2008. Toward a Latina Feminism of the Americas. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  62. Khoja-Moolji, Shenila. 2015. Becoming an “Intimate Publics”: Exploring the Affective Intensities of Hashtag Feminism. Feminist Media Studies 15: 347–350.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1008747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Stache, Lara C. 2015. Advocacy and Political Potential at The Convergence of Hashtag Activism and Commerce. Feminist Media Studies 15: 162–164.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.987429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Strinati, Dominic. 2004. An Introduction to Theories in Popular Culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  65. Thrift, Samantha C. 2014. #YesAllWomen As Feminist Meme Event. Feminist Media Studies 14: 1090–1092.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2014.975421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Varghese, A.V. 2015. Kerala Devaswom Chief Wants Machine to Scan Women for Purity at Sabarimala. International Business Times, November 16. http://www.ibtimes.co.in/kerala-devaswom-chief-wants-machine-scan-women-purity-sabarimala-654925.
  67. Venditouli, Monica. 2014. Campus Shootings Prompt Online Discourse About Gender-Biased Violence. The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 6. http://chronicle.texterity.com/chronicle/20140606a?pg=11#pg11.
  68. Wackwitz, Laura A., and Lana F. Rakow. 2006. Got Theory? In Women in Mass Communication, ed. Pamela J. Creedon and Judith Cramer, 257–271. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  69. Warninck, Barbara, and David S. Heineman. 2007. Rhetoric Online: Persuasion and Politics on the World Wide Web. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  70. Why Are Indian Women ‘Happy to Bleed’? BBC.com, November 23, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34900825.
  71. Williams, Sherri. 2015. Digital Defense: Black Feminists Resist Violence with Hashtag Activism. Feminist Media Studies 15: 341–344.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1008744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gina Masullo Chen
    • 1
  • Paromita Pain
    • 2
  • Briana Barner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.University of NevadaRenoUSA

Personalised recommendations