12 hashtags about feminism that should convince you to get on Twitter
It’s been another year of ups and downs for feminism. Beyoncé broadcast FEMINIST from the Video Music Awards, sparking a slew of celebrity endorsements. Obama created a Task Force on college sexual violence, while the weak or self-serving handing of sexual violence cases by colleges and universities was exposed – and a scandalous story about the University of Virginia demonstrated the complexities of investigating rape allegations while threatening to (further) undermine survivors’ stories everywhere. Meanwhile, the gender gap in pay remained stuck.
And all of it played out on Twitter. This year millions of people tweeted their thoughts about feminism using hashtags that have created new communities (some gigabytes wide, albeit only handhelds deep), and made hashtag headlines around the media. If you weren’t there, here’s some of what you’ve been missing.
The year began a hashtag referring to a movement and in-production documentary that used different public decency standards for men and women as evidence of systemic gender double-standards. The documentary’s December 12th release is almost here.
Popular in May after the Isla Vista shooting spree, after perpetrator Elliot Rodger’s YouTube video blamed women who rejected him for his violence, feminists called for attention to cultural norms that tolerate misogyny and violence against women. Women used #yesallwomen to share stories of misogyny and gender-based violence they have experienced.
In response to #yesallwomen, men took to Twitter to combat lumping all men together as gender violence perpetrators. Men using the hashtag sought to distinguish themselves from misogynists and set an example for equality-minded men.
The #womenagainstfeminism movement began as a Tumblr campaign in July 2013, but became a popular Twitter hashtag this summer. Women took pictures of themselves holding signs explaining why they don’t identify with the modern feminist movement.
Confused Cats Against Feminism critiqued #womenagainstfeminism for using straw-feminist stereotypes. The Tumblr featured pictures of cats next to signs that gave reasons cats would not benefit from human feminism.
As some feminist issues took a more prominent place online, discussion turned to which ones had been left out. In August, #solidarityisforwhitewomen emphasized the historical and modern tensions between white feminists and women of color. The hashtag contributed to a growing conversation about inclusivity in the feminist movement.
In September, Emma Watson launched her feminist initiative #HeForShe at the United Nations, calling for men’s involvement in the pursuit of gender equality. The hashtag explored what men stand to gain from, and contribute to, the feminist movement.
September also brought the #itsonus campaign from the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. #itsonus calls for everyone, but men in particular, to take a more active role in ending college sexual violence through bystander intervention and a pledge to become an ally.
Following the Ray Rice scandal in September, domestic violence survivors answered the question, “Why did you stay?” with the hashtag #whyistayed. The tweets emphasized the complexity of domestic violence and the stereotypes about that trap victims in violent relationships.
In October, the conversation about sexual assault continued as rape survivors used Twitter to weigh in on why sexual assault report rates are so low. Survivors shared their stories and reasons for keeping them secret.
Every week, a group of feminists of color tweet about issues that are overlooked by mainstream white feminists. In November, they created #howmediawritesWOC to discuss media representation of women of color.
Beginning in August, debate flared over misogyny and women’s representation in video game culture. Women who have participated in the #gamergate discussion have received threats of sexual violence and death. The hashtag garnered attention from the New York Times and the Colbert Report. Six months later, the controversy shows no sign of dying down.