Politics of #LoSha: Using Naming and Shaming as a Feminist Tool on Facebook
This chapter examines the new feminist intervention in India against sexual harassment (SH) through the online weapon of anonymously listing sexual offenders. The publication of the list on Facebook—known as the List of Shame (or #LoSha)—was inspired by the #metoo campaign following the Hollywood Weinstein affair and was composed through a collection of first-hand survivor narratives. A list of 70 names of alleged academic sexual offenders was first shared by a lawyer based in the US, and became viral on Facebook. This chapter will look at how this campaign used naming as a risk-taking tool to point at the lack of institutional frameworks within academic spaces. In doing so, it successfully used the online space of Facebook to create a feminist debate around the issue of sexual harassment transcending geographical and hierarchical barriers and to raise questions regarding the viability of the established feminist recourses against SH.
Using the methodological tool of situated critique (Bannerji, Thinking Through: Essays on Feminism, Marxism, and Anti-Racism. Toronto: Women’s Press, 1995), in this chapter I will utilize my own experience of participating in the list as well as in the larger feminist debate to discuss the politics of risk-taking and solidarity and the implications of list-activism. In doing so, it has re-established the role of cyberfeminism (Daniels, Women’s Studies Quarterly, 37 (1 & 2): 101–124, 2009) in India and surfaced a new intersectional autocritique of the academia based on caste, class and gender. Though questions regarding the method remain, the use of Facebook for providing survivors a voice with anonymity promises new boundaries of empowerment and fear.
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