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As avid social media users, it is perhaps unsurprising that feminist teenage girls use their favorite platforms to engage in various forms of feminist activism. Yet, existing research has not explored how a growing of social media platforms and their technological affordances uniquely shape how girls engage in online activism.
I address this oversight by asking the following: Why are girls using particular platforms for feminist activism? How do certain platforms facilitate distinctive opportunities for youth engagement with feminist politics? To answer these questions, I draw on ethnographic data gathered snapchat babes tumblr a group of American, Canadian, and British teenage girls involved in various forms of online feminist activism on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
These data were collected as part of two UK-based team research projects. I argue that teenage girls strategically choose how to engage with feminist politics online, carefully weighing issues like privacy, community, and peer support as determining factors in which platform they choose to engage.
These decisions are often related to distinctive platform vernaculars, in which the girls have a keen understanding. Nonetheless, these strategic choices shape the kinds of feminisms we see across various social media platforms, a result that necessitates some attention and critical reflection from social media scholars. The above quote is from Marlo, a year-old sophomore at a large state school in the Midwest United States.
Originally used by a teenager in Toronto who was reprimanded for wearing a crop top to high school, CropTopDay trended in the late spring of when hundreds of teens globally adopted the hashtag to express their own dissatisfaction with sexist dress codes see Keller, Marlo was adamant that Twitter was the best social media platform for such a message. Academic studies have found similar trends Miller,suggesting that teens are opting for platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Whisper over Facebook. But what might this diversity of social media platforms and their technological affordances mean for teenage participation in snapchat babes tumblr, specifically feminist activism?
We may ask the following: Why are girls using particular platforms for feminist activism? To address these questions, I draw on ethnographic data gathered from a group of American, Canadian, and British teenage girls ages involved in various forms of online feminist activism on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. These data were collected as part of two UK-based research projects, as I describe below. Nonetheless, these strategic choices shape the kinds of feminisms we see across various social media platforms, a result that necessitates some attention and critical reflection from feminist media scholars.
In doing so I aim to encourage scholarly discussions about online feminisms to more seriously consider the vernaculars of social media platforms. Thus, this research mobilizes a specifically feminist perspective to build upon existing scholarship that interrogates social media platforms as political spaces that are shaped by the competing interests of users, companies, advertisers, and policymakers Gillespie, These platforms were popular with the teenage girls I interviewed at the time of this research.
I conclude snapchat babes tumblr reflecting not only on the strategic use of social media by girls to engage in difference forms of feminist critique and activism but also on the ways in which my analysis affirms teenage girls not as victims of the seductive lure of social media but as strategic, discerning, knowledgeable, and savvy users of such technologies. In this sense, digital socialities provides a productive framework for considering how teenage girls engage in feminist politics that are often dispersed across several social media platforms and variable in terms of the affective investments and intensities that they produce.
Critical digital socialities then attunes us to the structural inequalities exploited by the de of the Internet Harvey,which in widespread practices of gendered harassment, including trolling, revenge porn, and doxxing Citron, ; Jane, ; Phillips, Yet, it is how they navigate this risky space to engage in feminist politics that remains unexplored and is the focus of this article.
Using critical digital socialities as an undergirding methodological framework necessitates a different approach to gathering data, one which privileges the use of multiple methods that can be deployed across differing social contexts. To employ this approach, I draw on ethnographic data gathered from two team-based research studies. At the conclusion of the project, participants from all three London-based schools were interviewed in small focus groups of between four and seven girls, which lasted approximately 1 hr. Girls were encouraged to use their mobile phones during the focus group to provide examples of some of the incidents and practices they were discussing, and participants voluntarily sent the research team screen shots of their examples to illustrate their points.
Thus, this project generated a substantial amount of observational, focus group, and textual data for analysis. From the CropTopDay case study, I focus my analysis on the responses from individual semi-structured interviews with one American and two Canadian teenage girls who participated in the hashtag in May Participants were initially contacted via the direct message function on Twitter, with interviews conducted over the phone and lasting between 30 and 50 min.
I will also discuss data collected from three focus groups, whose participants were part of a feminist lunch club at a London high school. All three focus groups were conducted in July by myself, Jessica Ringrose, and our graduate research assistant Emilie Lawrence. The focus groups lasted approximately 75 min and consisted of girls aged 14 and Taken together, these data represent a diversity of teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 from three countries Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, the majority of the girls identified as middle-class and White, which points to the need to understand this analysis as not representative of all girls but of a select group of snapchat babes tumblr whose privileges may make feminism more accessible through substantial leisure time, institutional resources, or disposable income Keller, For example, the London school in which we conducted focus groups in summers of and is located in an upper middle-class borough and has the financial and cultural resources to operate a regular feminist group every 2 weeks over the lunch period—a privilege not afforded to every public London secondary school.
Finally, this article is not making claims about teenage girls in general, but instead focuses on girls who are not only interested in feminism as evidenced by their willingness to participate in a feminist group or hashtag but regularly engage in feminist politics on the Internet. Within the past 5 years, there has been an increasing interest by both feminist scholars and the public in the ways in which digital media has facilitated the visibility and spread of contemporary feminist politics. As a whole, this body of research points to the importance of digital media for contemporary feminist politics.
Girls and women use digital platforms to explore their emerging feminist identities Keller, create feminist solidarity and collectivities Keller et al. Much of this analysis demonstrates how girls and women use social media to share snapchat babes tumblr experiences and, in doing so, raising awareness about ly taboo topics that include gendered violence, street harassment, and other forms of misogyny, including online sexism Clark, ; Keller et al.
To be clear, I am not suggesting this research focus is an entirely new phenomenon. Despite the growing range of literature, a relatively small proportion of this work on feminist digital cultures focuses specifically on teenage girls and their use of digital media technologies to engage with feminism. There are a few noteworthy exceptions: my book, Girls Feminist Blogging in a Postfeminist Age Keller,examines the ways in which US-based teenage girls engage in feminist politics as bloggers, focusing specifically on how these young bloggers navigate and perform girl feminist identities across digital space.
Hanna Retallack et al. Overall, this small but hopefully growing body of research suggests that like many of their older counterparts, teenage girls are using digital media, including social media platforms, websites, and apps, to not only participate in feminist movements but also generate and snapchat babes tumblr articulate their own politics as feminist girls. While there has been increasingly scholarly attention to online feminisms, there has been little analysis of the ways in which the digital platforms as technological structures shape the ways in which online feminism is practiced and circulated.
While this article aims to fill this gap, it is worthwhile to understand how platforms have been conceptualized in academic literature beyond feminist activism specifically. The growth of web 2. Indeed, this understanding of social media platforms points to the need to understand platforms as deed spaces see Harvey, with particular technological affordances that are built into the hardware and software of social media platforms, delimiting particular modes of user engagement and actions Gibbs et al.
They contend that these communication genres develop not only from the affordances of particular social media platforms but also from the mediated practices and communicative habits of users. ificantly then, platform vernacular as a concept allows us to not only examine the specificities of social media platforms and understand the particular forms of participation on them but also attend to the registers of meaning and affect that are produced within platform-based social networks Gibbs et al.
Renninger explores the ways in which the affordances of Tumblr have fostered the development of asexual counterpublics online. Thus, this article aims to articulate the necessity of listening to users, particularly those with marginalized identities such as girls, to better understand the complex relationship between media users, political engagements, and social media platforms. Thus, the platform facilitates quick moving content that may be original or retweeted content that is being recirculated or, to use the language of Facebook, shared, from another user.
While it is impossible to comprehensively discuss the broad scope of Twitter here, it is important to note for the purpose of this discussion that the platform is frequently used by feminists and many hashtags have been developed over the past few years to call attention to feminist issues such as gendered violence, racism, and reproductive rights see Keller et al.
Upon finding out about the Canadian CropTopDay protests via the feminist s she follows on Twitter, Marlo photographed herself wearing a crop top and tweeted the selfie alongside the hashtag CropTopDay to show support for the movement. She explains. I feel more comfortable to share things that are of a certain controversial nature on Twitter than I do on Facebook. Marlo is confident that Twitter was the best place for her feminist CropTopDay photo, and hesitated to put a similar post on Facebook. In contrast, Marlo illuminates how some girls are carefully weighing not only the type of digital content they post but also to what platform and audience.
Girls not only turn to Twitter to avoid contact with particular antifeminist family members or friends on their Facebook, but also as a way to network with other feminist girls outside of their local communities. Karlie, a year-old from Eastern Canada, first learned about feminism from Twitter when she snapchat babes tumblr 13 and now follows several feminist Twitter feeds and Tumblr blogs that she checks daily.
At the time of writing, Karlie has tweeted close to 9, times and has over followers. While the expansiveness of the platform afforded teenage girls freedom to engage in feminist politics such as dress code activism or develop networks with other feminist girls outside their local communities, it also made girls more publicly visible. For example, the London-based teens described the Twitter landscape as rife snapchat babes tumblr antifeminist trolls, making confrontations about their feminist politics a daily threat.
Indeed, the British students who at the time ran a collective Twitter based on their participation in the feminist lunch club reported that they began receiving trolling messages almost immediately after setting up their Twitterwhich explicitly stated they were a group of feminist girls. And it actually got quite nasty and it was quite unpleasant.
Despite remaining the most popular social media platform globally with over 1. Consequently, for teenage feminists, Facebook provides both risks and opportunities. For example, while some girls, such as Marlo, opted to publish feminist content on alternate social media platforms to avoid confrontation with conservative family members and friends, others kept certain types of feminist sentiment away from Facebook for other reasons.
To wit, while there has been an increasing of girls and women who use digital technologies to document personal experiences of sexism see Keller et al.
In this sense, girls like Rhea emotionally manage their Facebook friends by carefully selecting not only if they disclose their feminist politics, but in what ways they articulate them digitally. However, this does not mean that teenage girls shy away from conflict with Facebook friends; one incident in particular highlights the ways in which conflict and opportunity operate simultaneously for teenage feminists on Facebook. Everyone loves a little rape. In this sense, girls who were already building solidarity through their participation in their lunchtime school feminist group could enact this solidarity on Facebook; they were already connected on the platform as they were with many schoolmates snapchat babes tumblr in the feminist group and had already established a support system for dealing with sexism.
While anonymity is often celebrated as providing opportunities for teens to be themselves on social media, here a lack of anonymity on Facebook may have inspired the girls to challenge their male peer because they knew him—he was not an unknown troll. Unlike Twitter trolls whom the girls know they will never meet in person, the teens have a personal investment in engaging with this male peer, as someone who is part of their daily lives in school. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, less people are familiar with Tumblr, a micro-blogging site that launched in and which was purchased by Yahoo in see Renninger,for detailed discussion.
In this sense, Tumblr could be understood as a platform that prioritizes aesthetics, amplified through its allowance of user-customized short-form blogs and reflecting its original positioning as a creative community. It is not surprising that the anonymity of Tumblr was an important reason as to why many teenage feminists choose to use the platform. In a focus group conversation with several of the London-based girls, it seemed as though there was unanimous agreement that Tumblr was the easiest digital space to practice feminism as a young person.
Dara, a year-old who uses Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr regularly, says. She says. You can choose whether snapchat babes tumblr comes up on your Tumblr or not. Here, Jos not only demonstrates an understanding of the de affordances snapchat babes tumblr Tumblr but also suggests that she strategically decides whether to post something on Twitter or Tumblr based on her ability to control the resulting interactions—or the amount of social privacy she feels she has.
In this sense, we can understand platform de as mattering to teenage girls in terms of how they judge both social privacy and risk of privacy breaches. Snapchat babes tumblr there has been a growing scholarly interest in social media feminisms, there has been little sustained attention to the various ways in which social media platforms invite particular forms of feminist engagement through their specific platform vernaculars.
These include opportunities to participate in feminist politics by strategically engaging with different social media platforms to publicly perform as feminist activists, mobilize community and peer support, and maintain social privacy when necessary. However, this analysis cannot be definitive, as platforms change, their popularity among young people shifts, and new platforms are introduced.
Thus, this article also highlights the need for continued research on this topic, especially as other platforms with different platform vernacular, such as Snapchat, become popular among teens. As resistance to feminism continues to flourish online, future research may also explore the platform vernaculars that allow antifeminism to circulate, such as those that shape misogynist spaces like Reddit and 4Chan.
How might their platform vernaculars both resemble and differ from spaces like Tumblr and Twitter? Finally, my conclusions are also limited to the select group of girls studied, most of whom are relatively privileged in terms of class and race and are located in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Consequently, there is ample opportunity for future research to expand upon the conversation I have begun here see Mendes et al.
First and perhaps most importantly, teenage girls are savvy social media users, demonstrating keen knowledge about the platforms they regularly use and how they work. They make conscious decisions about what to post and where, weighing issues like public visibility, peer support, anonymity, and social privacy before they content. In doing so, girls actively choose which platform will serve them best for their feminist politics; we see Marlo choosing to use Twitter to show her support for CropTopDay, while Dara prefers the anonymity of Tumblr for posting about personal experiences with sexism.
Second, these data highlight the different potentialities for feminist activism that emerge from the platform vernaculars of Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Twitter, on the contrary, cannot serve this purpose according to the teens, as its expansive public nature and lack of mutual connections make it more difficult to cultivate collective responses to sexism. As I documented, this is especially true for Tumblr, which offers a distinctive social privacy to feminist girls, providing a sense of cover from both family and friends and anonymous trolls.
Consequently, Tumblr has gained a reputation, as alluded to in the title of this article, as a feminist-friendly space where sophisticated discussions about intersectionality, patriarchy, and protest frequently occur. While the growth of feminist engagement online by girls is inspiring and encouraging, we must understand this research within our current political reality marked by antifeminist, White supremacist discourse. Indeed, social media platforms are often used to circulate such hate, placing feminist girls and women—especially those who are of color, queer, disabled, undocumented, or poor—at risk for increasing harassment online.
I would especially thank Jessica Ringrose, a member of both of the research teams, for the productive conversations over the years that inspired this article.Snapchat babes tumblr
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