View Segments Segment :

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Embed
  • Link
  • Help
  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Embed
  • Link
  • Help
Successfully saved clip
Find all your clips in My Lists
Failed to save clip
  • Transcript
  • Transcript

    Auto-Scroll: ONOFF 
    • 00:06


    • 00:10

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES: Hello.My name is Dr. Kaitlynn Mendes.I'm a lecturer at the University of Leicesterand I specialize in gender in media.I'm going to be presenting a case study called"Hashtag Feminism."[Twitter]In this video, we're going to talk about something

    • 00:31

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: called "hashtag feminism."But in order to understand what this is,we first have to know what Twitter and feminism are.Launched in 2006, Twitter is a social networkingand microblogging site which allowsusers to post 140 character updates,or "tweets," to a network.

    • 00:51

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: As one of the more popular social networking sites,Twitter claims that over 500 million tweetsare sent per day.Unlike Facebook, where users can set privacy settingsso that only friends can see their profiles,all tweets are publicly available,although only registered users can post them.And users can choose to follow certain individuals whose

    • 01:14

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: tweets are collated in reverse chronological order on one'sown Twitter homepage.These tweets can be replied to, favorited, or re-tweeted.One of Twitter's key features is the use of the hashtag.People use hashtags to draw attentionto certain topics or events.

    • 01:35

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: When a hashtag is used before a word or term in a tweet,it then becomes a keyword, or tag,which, if it becomes popular enough, is said to trend.So hashtags can be used to make people's tweets become partof a broad conversation or topic that can easily be searchedby other Twitter users.

    • 01:56

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: So that's Twitter.What is feminism?[Feminism]It is extremely important to start by pointing outthat there is no one agreed-upon definition of what feminism is,who can be considered a feminist,or what counts as feminist activism.

    • 02:17

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: Instead, it makes more sense to talk about feminisms, whichare informed by various political theorieswhich have different understandings about women'soppression and how it can be overcome.That being said, while it's not possible to come upwith an encompassing definition of feminism,it generally refers to a collection of movements

    • 02:37

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: which campaign for greater political, social, cultural,and legal rights and freedoms for womenand the end of oppression for women and men.So how has Twitter been used as part of feminist activism?[#Activism]We know that as a popular social media platform,

    • 02:60

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: Twitter is mostly used for entertainment purposes.However, that being said, it is alsoincreasingly used for work and to connect and communicatewith others.But Twitter has also been used for activist purposes.In fact, a particular type of activismhas developed called hashtag activism.

    • 03:20

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: Hashtag activism has been used in a numberof recent social movements for different purposes.It can be used to help publicize activism or campaigns; for livereporting during events; for forwardingnews and digital content, like photos and links to websites;for expressing personal opinions and engaging in discussion;and for making personal connections

    • 03:41

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: with fellow activists.As was even famously reported in the Occupy Wall Streetmovement, which took off in 2011,it has been noted that Twitter wasparticularly useful for real time coordinatingduring action.For example, the movement had reconnaissance teamswho used Twitter to circulate tactical information.These activists walked ahead of the crowds

    • 04:03

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: to tweet information about police locations and tactics.So, feminism, like other contemporary social movements,have also embraced social media tools such as Twitter.And when feminists use Twitter for activism,this has been called "hashtag feminism."[#Feminism]

    • 04:25

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: Because it's is a relatively new social media platform,research is really just getting underway on hashtag feminism.But what we know so far is that like other types of activism,it has various uses.What most seem to have in common,however, is spontaneity.While some, such as the hashtag #everydaysexism,

    • 04:45

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: are part of larger feminist campaigns,such as the Everyday Sexism project,many others seem to emerge organically,in response to local, national, or international issues.For example, when 276 schoolgirls in Nigeriawere abducted from their boarding schoolby the radical group Boko Haram in April, 2014,

    • 05:07

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: the hashtag #bringbackourgirls went viral.This campaign demonstrated the significanceof hashtag feminism and its abilityto make visible issues which are often otherwise ignored.This hashtag has attracted a lot of visibilityfrom high profile people, such as the US First Lady MichelleObama to Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala.

    • 05:31

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: What this hashtag demonstrated was that if enough peoplespeak out about an issue, world leaders and those in power payattention.Although most of the girls are still in captivity,the hashtag successfully garnered many world leadersto offer support, money, and specialistteams to help find them and bring them back.

    • 05:52

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: And as we were coming up to the first anniversaryof their abduction, this hashtag has recentlypicked up momentum again, as marches and demonstrations arebeing planned to keep this issue in our mindsand to step up pressure on the Nigerian government.So while hashtag feminism has been successfullyused to raise awareness about various issues or campaigns,it has also successfully been used

    • 06:13

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: to challenge mainstream discourses and viewsabout topics such as domestic violence and sexual assault,and why some women stay or don't report such incidents.[#WhyIStayed]When American football player Ray Ricewas caught on video punching his then fiancee

    • 06:35

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: and now wife in the face in an elevator,knocking her unconscious, she received a tremendous amountof criticism for not leaving this abusive partner.In response, many survivors of domestic abusetook to Twitter via the hashtag #WhyIStayed to point outvarious reasons why women in such positions

    • 06:55

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: are rarely able to leave.These reasons ranged from a lack of financial self-sufficiency,from threats of further violence or murder if they did leave.Others talked about how they had no friends or familynearby who they could turn to for support.Others felt they wouldn't be believedor would be blamed for bringing the violence upon themselves.

    • 07:19

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: [#BeenRapedNeverReported]In a similar vein, the hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReportedemerged as a platform for women who had neverspoken about their assault to come forward, sharetheir stories, and explain why most women don't report

    • 07:39

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: their assaults.This hashtag was started by two journalistsafter the popular Canadian radio personality JianGhomeshi was fired after several women came forward and accusedhim of harassment, physical abuse, and sexual assault.Because Ghomeshi had such a high profileand was always seen as such a nice guy, and even a feminist,

    • 08:03

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: when the first woman came forwardto claim they were abused, they weremet by a huge public backlash.For example, when Canadian actress Lucy DeCouterewent on the record and talked about the abuse shehad encountered by Ghomeshi, rather than being supported,people asked why she didn't go to the police.

    • 08:23

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: In response, a Toronto Star journaliststarted the hashtag, #BeenRapedNeverReportedon Twitter.Once again, many who use this hashtag talk about the shamethey felt for their assault, believingthat it was their own fault.In some cases, it was because they were drinking.At other times, because they had had sex with this person

    • 08:45

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: before, or because they ignored their instincts.At other times, it was because he was just such a nice guy,and the common conception of a rapistis of an ill, deranged, and mean man.So there's a tremendous amount of hashtag feminismwhich revolves around challenging rape cultureand slut-shaming.

    • 09:06

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: And while many of these Twitter campaigns are serious,feminists have also shown their senseof humor via this platform.For example, when VH1 hosted a Q&A Twitter sessionwith pop star Robin Thicke, who was widelycriticized for promoting misogyny with his 2013 hit"Blurred Lines," the session was quickly

    • 09:27

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: overtaken by those using humor to call him outon his treatment of women.Participants used the hashtag #AskThicketo ask the singer questions such as, "Is your next 'hit' justa lyric sheet with a Rohypnol sellotaped to it?"What form of sexual or emotional abusewill you be normalizing in your next jaunty hit?"

    • 09:49

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: Although feminists are often castas being angry and humorless, they actuallyhave a long tradition of using sarcasm, irony, ridicule,and humor to point out and challengemisogyny and sexism in culture.So while some might question how useful hashtag feminismactually is, I would argue that it absolutely

    • 10:10

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: has the potential to change cultures, beliefs, ideologies,and actions.And while some might argue that this is not enough,that there also needs to be on the ground responses suchas with the Bring Back Our Girls campaign,or better procedures and policies for dealing withinstances of sexual and domestic violence,

    • 10:31

      DR. KAITLYNN MENDES [continued]: these cannot happen until people recognize that there isa problem and that change is needed.And I think that Twitter can play an important rolein this regard.


View Segments Segment :


Dr. Kaitlynn Mendes examines hashtag feminism as a new tool in feminist activism, exploring Twitter conversations such as #BringBackOurGirls and #BeenRapedNeverReported as examples.

SAGE Video Cases

Dr. Kaitlynn Mendes examines hashtag feminism as a new tool in feminist activism, exploring Twitter conversations such as #BringBackOurGirls and #BeenRapedNeverReported as examples.

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website

Back to Top