Social Media Assessment Part 2


Although I hooks's assertion, as well as the idea of using feminist blogs and social media to spread awareness and feminist principals, I also feel that it's to clean of a statement. Mainstream media poses with a myriad of possibilities to combat the "overly negative representation of feminism and its goals" are presented as ideas", but this is also the problem. Anything and everything can be considered feminist (I'm not saying there is a definitive definition)--even projects that are guised as feminist but fail to really fulfill the feminist principles of a just world. For example, Serita mentioned in class, Dove also owns (or partners with another brand that I can't recall), whose marketing ads/practices are all about hyper-masculinity. As she also mentioned, this is a counter it Dove's own lip-service of "combating" beauty pressures. When it all comes down to it, it is all about marketing and reputation of the company. In doing so, it also presents itself as a company that really values "natural" beauty, yet it is also telling folks to buy their products to be even "more" beautiful. All of this rests on creating a sense of "trust" and "loyalty" between consumers and their brand. It's all about sales and the market. Can we still consider its attempt to "combat" the pressures of beauty to be a feminist message, knowing the backing of its marketing practices? Speaking more broadly then, how do we address hegemonic (read: Eurocentric) forms of feminism, as presented in media that is global? The danger is whether or not folks can read into how some of these are hegemonic feminist projects. And whether or not we are also contributing to another form of marginalization by engaging in these hegemonic feminist projects (I'm thinking specifically of "The Girl Effect" here) that are guised under feminist principles. Is feminism (often presented as monolithic) then being co-opted into marketing practices, and is it being used as a tool to sell ideas and objects?

As for our own class blog and twitter hashtag, I feel that it has really given students the opportunity to engage in a feminist curiosity. But, preciously because it is still within the curriculum of a university setting, there is a sense of "safety" to it. Meaning, we can all assume that everyone who enters into the classroom is agreeing to engage in feminist thinking, and to a certain extent agree with it as a paradigm. Yet, I also like using blogs and twitter because it is done in an accessible (i.e. not "too" theoretical) way to students. We also get to listen to voices that may not always be within the space of academy, so we are attempting to break down the barriers of privilege (I say this cautiously because we engaging within these spaces from a privileged position of academia). One of the shortcomings of mainstream media, or social media, is that it encourages a lax engagement. Something that has been reiterated in our class is that "all you have to do is click a button and it'll make you feel as though you really did something." Additionally, we risk not engaging in these projects and messages as critically as we could be because they preciously play up on being viral. However, the flip side to this is that there is also the myriad of possibilities in refuting these same projects and messages through the same medium. I guess, there is a constant pull between the "good" and the "bad" and that the focus should be on critically engaging in teasing out those contradictions and what they mean.

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