Meghan Murphy of Feminist Current has declared that Twitter may be “a necessary evil”, but is “a horrible place for feminism.” Murphy explains that the platform encourages bullying and oversimplifies complex theories. She finds that Twitter is not representative of the entire spectrum of feminists (“The women who built this movement….are not on Twitter”). Murphy concludes that though “hashtag activism” can be useful, it is time for feminists to move conversations to other platforms. Feminist Current’s article caused a lengthy discussion among feminists on the social networking site.
After reading Murphy’s article, Huffington Post contributor Louise Pennington revived the #TwitterFeminism hashtag in an effort to remind the public of the positive influence Twitter has had on feminism. #TwitterFeminism began to trend in several cities in the United States and across the European Union this morning as folks began to discuss their thoughts on the site’s role in the feminist movement.
Perhaps the views on the site were biased, but the majority of users seemed to disapprove of Murphy’s conclusion. While Murphy’s personal accounts of bullying on the site were unnerving and unfortunate, it seems dismissive and a bit naïve to state that Twitter is “a horrible place for feminism.” Murphy claims that most of her friends are not on Twitter, but 554 million other people are. The next generation is being influenced by what is posted on the website; with every retweet and favorite, the chances of a young person being exposed to a side of feminism that is not distorted by the media-- which often paints feminists as bra-burning man-haters-- increases exponentially. As a young woman who has just entered her twenties, the feminist dialogue on Twitter has helped to create and shape my identity. Scaling down the progressive conversation on Twitter would be a disservice to our budding feminists.
Another often overlooked benefit of Twitter is that is easier for a wider variety of voices to be heard. As seen in the thousands of responses to Mikki Kendall’s #SolidarityisForWhiteWomen hashtag from earlier this year, people of color (or, at the very least, the ones that responded to the hashtag) feel as if mainstream feminist publications ignore their opinions and experiences. The general consensus was that voices of oppressed people (often women of color) seem to be drowned out and overlooked by white women. These activists have reclaimed Twitter as a space to draw attention to their narratives. Drawing back from discourse on the website would silence many people whose viewpoints are rarely heard.
Do you think Twitter is an appropriate place to have feminist conversations?
Thanks to Feminist Current, Twitter, Statistic Brain, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Telegraph
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.