Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Rama and I am a social media feminist. I have a minimum of 2 pinterest boards dedicated to feminist issues, all my social media bios have the word feminist in them at least once and I get excited when Oloni tweets "Ladies, shall we have some fun..."
In conversations about feminism and the changes that are happening- This is especially true for African feminists- we tend to look down on "twitter feminists" and talk a lot of nonsense about the people who use their 180 characters to fight the power. I have often heard people refer to them as the weakest link of feminism or use the term "Twitter warrior" to insult them. I'm not writing this post while sitting high up on a shiny white horse... I have been that person but I now know better. I think that we need them more than ever.
Here is why:
Feminist theory is great - Obviously. We probably wouldn't have made all the progress that we have made in terms of equality if it wasn't for the fact that many fought to study and document feminist perspectives in their different fields of study. We probably wouldn't even be talking about this topic today if it wasn't for the likes of ... who chose to document their feminist journey and share it with the world.
That said, we can't ignore that it was not written for everyone. Intersectional feminism is still a fairly young concept. For a long time, the fight for women's rights did not take into the account the issues that are specific to other communities. I have read many feminist essays that were explicitly racist or implicitly islamophobic. I have also heard many feminists talk and been at a complete loss because their experiences seemed foreign to me. The "big names" in feminism simply don't represent everyone and so there are some who can not relate to their teachings and/or experiences.
Then there is also the problem of the format it
Yes, I know that today we have books, videos and audiobooks, visual books... etc on the topic but a lot of what we would consider feminist theory is still in the form of journals and essays that are not only available to everyone but that many just don't want to read. We don't often accidentally stumble onto a feminist essays that change our way of thinking. For those of us who read on the topic, we tend to go looking for it. Many do not want to do that but it does not mean they shoud be left in the dark.
My feminist journey officially began after watching a Youtube video. What video you ask? I have absolutely no idea. It doesn't really matter, though because it got the job done. I was curious about the concept of it all and I went looking. I happen to like reading so I found a ton of great stuff that I was happy to bury my nose in but had I been the kind of person who did not like long texts, I would have probably just moved on after a few google searches. I gave up on quite a few actually that felt too much like extra credit for uni.
Today though, thanks to twitter warriors, you can search #Blackfeminist on my twitter or instagram account and be introduced to a whole community of people who discuss this theory daily. There are so many people out there who are teaching feminist theory in simple language that can be understood by everyone and best of all, they spend a lot of time talking about it in the practical sense.
We are all learning about patriarchy, unlearning behaviours and adapting accordingly.
Conversations with other people is key in doing so. Talking to the people who are going through the same journey, hearing from the people who oppose said journey and discussing the ways that this is affecting our very real lives is incredibly important. It is the type of thing that social media has allowed us to do on a massive scale.
Furthermore, these conversations are affecting policies and being used to develop theories. The #Metoo movement has shown that social media can have a very strong impact on society, people and the way that we deal with certain situations.
All of this said, obviously, all of the things that are wrong with social media apply here. There are bullies online, there are people who misuse information, individuals who share inaccurate or incomplete information. Woke people many who do not practice what they preach online. This is all very true but it does not outweigh the good. At the end of the day, their posts have an impact that so far, has been instrumental in carrying the conversation about women's rights forward!
Every word spoken against the patriarchy is a middle finger to the system that aims to oppress us so 180 characters is PLENTY! It does not make the person who typed it a weak link of modern feminism!
In short, Put some respek on the names of Social Media Feminists and Twitter warriors.