“Hashtag Feminism”: Activism or Slacktivism?

Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies book series (CFS)


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.University of NevadaRenoUSA

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