Photo Credit: loveyourlines/Instagram
Social media is arguably the most powerful way to communicate to the masses today. Many use it to share cute pics of their pets, but others are using it to promote more serious issues. For feminists, it has become a tool to educate others, specifically the hashtag.
For years, feminists have used eye-catching methods to communicate their demand for equal rights. Whether it was through picketing or staging sit-ins, the act of raising awareness for social justice has always been a physical act. Since the rise of Twitter, women are using hashtags to spread knowledge and support towards an audience that’s larger than ever.
Photo Credit: SocialWelfareHistory.com
This notion of public activism isn’t new.
Feminists have used inventive ways to catch the public’s attention since the years of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. In the early 1900's, suffragists walked the streets of large cities, holding signs that demanded the right to vote. Feminists of the 1970's used publications like Ms. Magazine to promote broader conversations about women in the workforce and sexual politics.
As pop culture became a larger part of everyday life, feminists took note. Known as third wave feminism, women in the mid-1990's used rock music as a way to voice their message. Songs like “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill sang thought provoking lyrics about the challenges in the everyday life of women.
"When entering social media, you’re entering the public square...That means people will have access to it…” - Gloria Steinem
Now that pop culture is mostly online, women and their male supporters have taken activism to the internet.
Today there are a variety of hashtags that address issues in women’s lives, ranging from body positivity, #LoveYourLines, to bringing African American women police victims to the forefront, #SayHerName. Even feminist icon Gloria Steinem has spoken about the importance of social media in relation to feminism.
“When entering social media, you’re entering the public square...You’re putting it into the public,” Steinem said. “That means people will have access to it.”
As we enter a new wave of feminism, and more and more discussions are being presented on social media, maybe the hashtags will turn into something more substantial, like legislation and change.