DE 1: implications for the educational potential of blogs and social media

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The ideology of feminism has been a critical controversial issue which needs to be well explained and learned. The understanding of feminism has been crippled by the basic understanding that feminism is an act of lesbianism or a way for women to take control of the society. In fact this issue of feminism has been left aside due to the fact everyone believes they already have enough understanding of the ideology, thereby, leaving the patriarchal mass media to remain the primary place where young feminist learn about feminism.
According to Bells Hook, "our failure to create a mass based educational movement to teach and make everyone understand feminism has allowed mainstream patriarchal mass media to teach folks about feminism most which are negative" (24). It is true that the patriarchal mass media has made us to believe feminism is evil or is a community of angry women and haters of children and life. They have called feminist movement a primary force of moral decay women and a cause of the large percentage of divorce rate estimated today in the US.
However, to stop this negative image of a feminist movement, blog, facebook, twitter was created to educate young feminists of the true ideology of feminism and was also used as a means to connect with other feminist across the world. This was used as a gateway for people not familiar with the movement, its principle, and the understanding of collective struggle of the feminist issue. It has provided us with the ability to see both women and men as capable of individual self-reliance and free will.
Although this has been a great tool of activism, there have been some limitations due to lack of internet access in some places.

2 Comments

I agree that social media can be an excellent tool for established and burgeoning feminists to connect with one another. However, I question its effectiveness in recruiting or informing people who are as of yet unfamiliar with the movement, primarily due to the issue of access, which you and others briefly touched on but have not yet probed.

When we say things like, "almost everyone has access to the internet," what does that really mean? What communities are we really talking about? It is true that something like 77% of Americans are online (based on statistics I found on this web site: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm). But who are these 77%? What is their socio-economic background? How often do they really use the internet and what do they use it for? Are they obsessive Facebookers, online for several hours a day, or do they log on once a month or maybe even less? Who are the 33% who are left out?

These questions may seem divergent and caught up in class politics, but they are necessary to consider when figuring out who we are trying to enlighten with feminist messages. Many of our classmates have said that it is imperative to cultivate positive representations of feminism in the cultural consciousness, but we can't do this effectively if we do not also consider our intended audience. Who are we trying to change? I posit that social media mainly reaches young people ages 30 and under, and white middle-aged folks who are seated in a comfortable position of privilege. (Probably. I haven't found documented evidence to irrefutably support this conjecture, so I might be totally mistaken. If anyone knows more specific information on the matter, please prove me wrong.) Basically we'd be talking to our own communities. But what about lower income folks, and the less educated? Is it possible that they are a more critical group to reach? Is there any correlation between class and sexist oppression and abuse? I feel like there is. So how are we going to get in touch with THESE people, who may or may not use the internet and, even if they do, most likely don't have the academic background to have an interest in seeking out feminist discourse. (This is related to the issue of self-selection elsewhere on the class blog.)

ALSO. While 77% of Americans have internet access (whatever that means), the same cannot be said for the rest of the world. Even in Europe, less than 60% of the population has internet access. This brings me back to my above line of questioning - who are we trying to reach? Patriarchy and sexism are not uniquely American phenomena. So how do we bring feminism to a global dimension?

Great discussion. The question of access, which has come up a lot in many blog posts, is really important. I hope we will continue to talk about it throughout the semester. Here's an interesting survey by PEW research that came out this past fall on who uses twitter. One interesting conclusion they came to was: "African-Americans and Latinos – Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users." I think smart phones complicates how we understand/critically engage with the question of access.

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