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The Impact of Twitter on Feminism: Its Facilitations & Limitations

April 14, 2010

Feminism makes it way all across the internet–in universities all over the world, news articles posted online, in forums, on Facebook, and (as the title suggests), Twitter. I’ve talked about the impact of social media and feminism in a video interview I did awhile back. But for this post, I want to stress the impact of Twitter on feminism.

I know many of my friends are strongly opposed to using Twitter because they don’t see the point of it, but I find it extremely useful if you’re apart of a community (such as the feminist one) and/or write for a blog (such as GAB).  It helps people connect with other people who have similar interests.

I wanted to know what some of you thought about Twitter, so I posed a question to my followers and Gender Across Borders’ followers, “Why do you tweet? How has Twitter expanded your feminist connections/horizons?

  • One follower, Ashley Lauren of Small Strokes*, responded with: “Twitter and @TheUndomestic STARTED my feminist presence on the Internet!
  • @katie_stanton, of Fem 2.0, says that “twitter has been completely instrumental for @fem2pt0
  • @quietriot_girl: “Twitter has put me in contact with feminist activists in UK and abroad, inspired my writing and helped galvanise my feminist spirit”
  • @SoniaBlade, of Must Luv Shoes: “networking networking networking! there is nothing like collectivity on the internet, bouncing ideas and sharing news and then passing it a long to friends, family  and other feminists.”
  • @jennpozner, of Women in Media & News: “Close offline&online friends; workshops+lecture requests; info; community.”

Some Tweeters thought that the impact of Twitter and feminism should not be limited to the Twitter character limit of 140. In fact, two emailed me about it. One Tweeter, Jessica H. Sherwood, who runs the @socwomen Twitter account (of Sociologists for Women in Society), admits that she is “kind of addicted at present.” Sherwood started tweeting because of SWS wanted to raise their public profile. She says that “We began on twitter & facebook less than a year ago, and we have over 600 fb fans; so it’s working at least to some extent.”

Another Tweeter, Danine Spencer, a freelance writer of Danine.net and who tweets on her personal account @DanineSpencer, says that she started using Twitter “to follow Sen. Claire McCaskill and other politicians’ tweets.” She explains how Twitter has made an “awesome impact” in her life:

Also, I’ve done a lot of networking through Twitter. A LOT. After following Jen Nedeau on Twitter, I contacted her last June and then started writing for her sporadically while she was in charge of the Women’s Rights blog at Change.org. (After she left, I stop writing there, too.)  Twitter has helped create some online friendships and feminist allies, people I can go to for advice on writing and blogging.   Those friendships have also facilitated “tweetups”, which are awesome! -Danine Spencer, 4/12/10

Personally, I joined Twitter because of Gender Across Borders in trying to reach out to more feminists on the web. While before I wasn’t too much of a status-updater on Facebook, I use Twitter now every day–I post about articles I read on the web, posts from GAB and Equality 101 (the teacher’s blog I write for) and occasionally some updates about my personal life.

The one downside of Twitter is the inability to communicate with people from other countries whose primary language is not English. As an executive editor of a “global” feminist blog, I wish there was more of an opportunity or way to communicate with people who speak languages other than English. In addition to the privilege of speaking English, I also understand the privilege of having access to a computer and the internet. The people who lack these privileges are the people who I’d like to hear from the most. I’d like to hear their voices and their experiences and their thoughts about feminism.

For those Twitter starters, or people looking for some tweeters who tweet about feminism, I have a very short and incomplete list of tweeters for you to follow–some are my personal favorites and others are suggested by some followers. I also put their Twitter bio beside their handle. I’m probably missing a TON here (I chose to leave out major organizations and big-name people), so apologies to those I missed and don’t forget to list your favorite tweeters in the comments!

  • @samsanator – Ashley Lauren*, “I am a friend, daughter, poet, teacher, activist. In that order.”
  • @TheUndomestic – Amanda ReCupido, “Feminist, Kitchen Blunder-er Extraordinaire, Blogger, PR and Media junkie, Snuggie enthusiast”
  • @Mdotwrites: – Mdotwrites, “Is a thinker, writer and blogger at Model Minority and BrooklynMagic.”
  • @thelinecampaign: – THE LINE Campaign, “Gender justice, film making, feminism, activism, pop culture and more! Updates about THE LINE Campaign from Nancy (and sometimes @c_rios!).”
  • @christytj – christytj, “AAUW, social activist, author, blogger, into sustainability, nonprofits, Association Exec (CAE), family & friends, world traveler, flowers from my garden :).”
  • @mergyeugnau – Deborah, “Finding the answer to the question: what do you get when you cross a type A- renaissance woman with chronic disabling illness?.”
  • @CrissLCox – Criss L. Cox, “Just another girl on a laptop with a lot to say. Every now and then the talk involves my uterus and my right to control it. And other aspects of my life.”
  • @MrsNextMatch – Mrs Next Match, “Artist Feminist Blacktivist”
  • @balkissoon – Denise Balkissoon, “‘m a journalist who likes to eat, travel, dig into hidden corners and tell you all about it.”
  • @RiotMango – RiotMango, “feminism, politics & mango juice”
  • @abyss2hope – Marcella Chester, “Rape survivor, sexual violence primary prevention supporter, activist, writer, speaker, optimist.”
  • @Sophiabiabia – SBQR, “Feminist, hoop fan, lit junky i love basketball -writer for bustabucket.com singlemom/feminist/humanrightsactivist/avid reading bitch!”
  • @jesshopp – Jessica Hopper, “Music critic / author of The Girls’ Guide to Rocking / retired trouble / feminist”
  • @antoniaz – Antonia Zerbisias, “Columnista, bloggerista, feminista. (My employer assumes no responsibility for my Tweets — even though it links to my account. Go figger.)”
  • @CLButler76 – Claire Butler, “Writer, blogger, activist, feminist and sometime historian. Opinionated, political, talkative music geek grrrl and coffee addict.”
  • @grrrls_team – Mädchenmannschaft, “Das Weblog für Feministinnen, Feministen und alle, die es werden wollen.”
    • English Translation (thanks to myra marx ferree): “Girls’ Team: for feminists (women and men) and those who want to be”
  • @gendernerds – gendernerds, “Follow me if you care about Gender, Feminism or such.”
  • @LilyMazahery – Lily Mazahery, “Lawyer. Human Rights Activist”

In fact, the Chicago Feminists (#chifems) is having a Tweet Up and if you’re in the area, you should stop by! It’s on April 24, from 4pm-7pm.

So, this post isn’t about asking you to join Twitter, but to consider it as another platform to connect with and share ideas about feminism all over the web. If you’ve joined Twitter, how has it helped you to connect with other people? Do you have some favorite feminist tweets and tweeters? If so, leave in the comments!

You can find GAB on Twitter (@GABblog). We update our Twitter daily not only with our regular posts from GAB, but important international feminist news. Check us out!

GAB editors who are on Twitter: Elizabeth (@EKSwitaj), Carrie (@cpolansky), Tatiana (@TatianaGAB), Kyle (@BachanGAB), Roxanne (@roxsamer), and myself (@emilyheroy).

*An awesome digression for you: Ashley and I have been connected via Twitter since I started Tweeting in April 2009. We have yet to meet in person (although #Chifems tweetup is coming up on 4/24!), but have been connected in so many ways–from her asking to me to join a group blog, Equality 101; to cross-posting on GAB and her blog (she wrote one article, I wrote another); to taking part of her study on feminist bloggers.

16 Comments
  1. April 14, 2010 8:31 am

    Thanks for this Emily – interesting insights and a great list of feminists on Twitter! A couple more suggestions:

    @HappyFeminist
    @ClinicEscort
    @IamDrTiller
    @CTrouper
    @Nasawiya
    @Cocacy
    @aimeett
    @Bianamv
    @JerinAlam

    I’ve also started a list of young feminists on Twitter, a social media answer to the obnoxious question: “Where are the young feminists?” You can follow it at http://twitter.com/#/list/ShelbyKnox/young-feminists

    • April 14, 2010 9:19 am

      Thanks for your list–I know, I left out a ton of feminist tweeters out there, including yourself @ShelbyKnox!

  2. April 14, 2010 9:20 am

    What about the echo chamber issue? Twitter is great for connecting with other feminists, but I feel like there is a lot of cross-chat and only a few (like Shelby, above) who are also doing offline feminist work. I worry that a lot of people think that blogging and twittering is all we need to do, when there is so much more.

    • April 14, 2010 9:25 am

      I wasn’t getting that Twitter is the only space for feminism to thrive. Twitter facilitates more connections between people who you might not have met otherwise. Many of the people listed above (in my short list and Shelby’s) are involved in feminism outside of just twittering.

      However, I do think micro-blogging (such as Twitter) and blogging is another form of activism, so we can’t discount that.

      • April 14, 2010 9:24 pm

        I completely agree. It’s something that was asked during my podcast interview on tweeting feminists. I have developed amazing connections with feminists I would have never met otherwise and it has developed into projects, collaboratory efforts and friendship. http://tweetingfeminists.posterous.com/podcast-tweeting-feminists-episode-2-featurin

    • April 15, 2010 1:41 am

      Actually, most of the feminists I tweet with ARE doing outside feminist work. In essence, echoing my sentiment in the interview I linked in another comment, that twitter is one tool of activism that expands community and disseminates information quickly. I wrote more on this issue tonight: http://feministfatale.com/2010/04/social-media-and-feminism-in-the-classroom-and-beyond/ It’s a post I had planned on writing for over a month and Emily inadvertently inspired me to write it tonight 😉 I hope you’ll find some of it useful in the context of this convseration.

  3. myra marx ferree permalink
    April 14, 2010 9:46 am

    translation from German: “Girls’ Team: for feminists (women and men) and those who want to be”

    • April 14, 2010 10:07 am

      Thank you! I will add that to the article.

  4. April 14, 2010 3:53 pm

    Great collection! And thanks for the translation @myra marx ferree.

    Magda/maedchenmannschaft.net

  5. April 14, 2010 8:40 pm

    I’m at @feministfatale and you should check out these print, skyped and recorded interviews on tweeting feminists (me included). http://tweetingfeminists.posterous.com/podcast-tweeting-feminists-episode-2-featurin and http://tweetingfeminists.posterous.com/

  6. April 18, 2010 10:28 am

    Thanks so much for this great post and for all of the feminist tweeters who are listed. I am going to add these to the feminist list that I already have.

    @MakeWavesBonnie

  7. multilingualmania permalink
    April 18, 2010 10:58 pm

    Do you speak other languages? Maybe that would help connect with feminists who are in other countries. My whole world was rocked wide open when I first started connecting with Mexican feminists. They spoke to me like no other feminists ever have before.

Trackbacks

  1. Feminist Fatale » Social Media & Feminism in the classroom & beyond
  2. Recommended Reading: 4-18-2010 | Small Strokes
  3. Maedchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Homo-Hetze, Militär, Kindermangel, Gewalt, Kultur und Twitter
  4. April Comments of the Month « Gender Across Borders

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