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Twitter as a Feminist Resource: #YesAllWomen, Digital Platforms, and Discursive Social Change

Social Movements and Media

ISBN: 978-1-78743-098-3, eISBN: 978-1-78743-097-6

Publication date: 22 December 2017


This chapter analyzes #YesAllWomen, one of the largest, most visible, feminist Twitter events of recent years. Though hashtags and other forms of digital activism are not always taken seriously as politics, in this project we investigate #YesAllWomen and its recirculation through media and public blogs, as an important instance of contemporary feminist discursive activism. Specifically, we argue that the hashtag functioned, first, as a site of collective identity for participants, and we describe some of the ways in which this identity building was achieved, and second, we argue that through its links to and recirculation by other platforms and media, #YesAllWomen also functioned as a public protest or agenda-building event with impact on public discourse beyond Twitter. Our project draws on content and discourse analysis methods to analyze the #YesAllWomen hashtag and to trace its interaction with other discourses such as news and blogs, including an automated content analysis of almost two million tweets and an analysis of a sample of 251 media and blog stories. We note that contemporary feminists are using digital media, in this case a Twitter hashtag, to achieve many of the same discursive goals of knowledge building and critique that have previously been achieved using other communications strategies such as consciousness-raising groups, publishing collectives, media strategies, and zaps.



Barker-Plummer, B. and Barker-Plummer, D. (2017), "Twitter as a Feminist Resource: #YesAllWomen, Digital Platforms, and Discursive Social Change", Earl, J. and Rohlinger, D.A. (Ed.) Social Movements and Media (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 14), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-118.



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