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Hash with feminism: #Whyloiter #PussyRiot

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Hashtags of feminist causes, are invoked by social media users worldwide in response to contemporary events and discussions. According to who is user and who is hashtagging it, they are taken up by newspapers, television, and other media outlets as stories of collective public opinion and, sometimes, further action.

Some of the Hashes were:

Malala-BringBackOurGirls#BringbackourGirls :A campaign to free 276 Nigerian teenagers kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. This hashtag waspicked up by The daily mail, UK National newspaper, and Michelle Obama and Malala joined campaign later. This was the case when social media activism was picked up by mainstream media and penetrated to larger audience.

#Direnkahkaha : Thousands of Turkish women flooded social media with photos of themselves laughing andsmiling in a backlash against a government minister who said it is an indecent behaviour. The hashtag ResistLaugh – climbed to the top 10 world trends on Twitter, hours after Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arnc claimed honest women should not laugh in public.

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#stealthy freedom

#MyStealthyfreedom : In 2014, Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist based in the United Kingdom, shared a photograph of herself online riding in a convertible without a hijab (a traditional head covering). She encouraged women everywhere, and specifically her home country of Iran, to share pictures of their own “stealthy freedom” in an effort to digitally protest hijab laws that punish women for appearing in public without a head covering. In the weeks that followed, #MyStealthyFreedom became an internationally used hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, averaging one million shares per week . The campaign became a success because it was a social movement by women, for women, that encouraged female citizens to become active parts of the political process and challenge the stereotypical obliging image of Iranian women and their bodies. It was a powerful act of protest because of the history of regulation that the female body is traditionally regarded with.

Hashy Class

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#Pussy Riot

#PussyRiot  is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it has a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33. They stage unauthorised provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet.

Their lyrical themes include feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator,and links between Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. OPussy Riotn March 3, 2012, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16.

Western media interpreted it as a human rights issue, which also included celebrities like Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney. The online users drawn by the pull of spectacle liked and shared the respective posts in social media. The local public in Russia however were divided in accepting and understanding the
issues raised by them.

Elena Gapova, a writer in Feminist Media Studies journal in her article becoming visible in digital age argues that in the age of the Internet and social media, which restructure audiences, social movements, political participation, and modes of expression, performance of Pussy Riot in the Cathedral provoked a reaction that exposed a watershed between a creative or new class of urban intellectuals and globally connected elites, whose life options are immersed in the technological, economic, and cultural transformations of the information/digital economy and whose goals embrace visibility, autonomy, and self-expression and, on the other hand, the “masses” immersed in a more material economy and lifestyle.

Their “wrath” at postsocialist economic inequalities translated into a rejection of Pussy Riot, whose protest centred around non-traditional issues and cultural codes and who became identified with global capitalism. She further concludes that in the post-Soviet context, the Pussy Riot controversy, which is often interpreted in the West in feminist terms, was also a displaced conversation about class relations in a media-saturated information society.

#why loiter

A campaign, started in 16 december 2014 and ran for 2 weeks ending on 1st January 2015. This term was taken from the book titled whyloiter, authored by Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade.

“It claims that what women want is not a safety which is conditional on them behaving a certain way and being respectable or having a purpose in public space, but the unconditional right to be in public space and to take risks.“

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#WhyLoiter shared pics

Most of the posts shared in the facebook page and tweeted were from the urban and upper class women who were part of these campaign. It got published in most of the publications from Scroll to LeMonde to TheHindu through personal and professional contacts of the authors.

This campaign urged not only women but also men to participate and show solidarity in making public spaces gender friendly. While there is no doubt that the public space needs to be gender friendly and accessible, the campaign focused on loiter and not on work. It was similar to the arguments of DoWhatYouLove phenomena. In the context of leisure, love and loitering, the problem of the campaign was that it leads not to gender friendly space, but tothedevaluation of actual work, and more importantly, the dehu(wo)manization of the vast majority of labourers.

By keeping us focused on individual and class specific leisure, loitering distracts us from the working conditions of others while validating our own choices and relieving us from obligations to all who labour, whether or not they love it.

It is the secret agreement of the privileged and a global feminist imagery that disguises its elitism as noble self betterment. Its real achievement is making women believe their leisure serves the self and feminism but not the market place.

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#whyloiter shared pics

The amount of leisure one can have, the more free you are. The historical backdrop of the movement was itself to bring women out of four walls of the household, where she was in charge of consumption pattern of the family. Rather than rethinking how consumption practices might be used to reclaim domestic space for feminism, home appeared to be firmly outside what might be considered “feminist”.

The challenge is not only on the streets but at home too. The political potential of consumption practices to challenge the ways in which consumer culture operates in all the classes wherein female body itself is commodified in large terms, should be considered. It will not only question consumer at home but on the streets.

New Media Activism and Social divisions of the information age has brewed a Neo Fe-Class which is tied to Leisure ‘a grossly ideological category based firmly on a male and relatively affluent experience’ (Green), and the leaders of these churn and turns are
none other than women themselves.

The Global Feminist imagery position itself being anti-patriarchal and not being something which defines itself. The class relation and workers are often ignored in the lime light of extreme consumer created by the patriarchal market in first place, which targets females more as a consumer(Sanjay Srivastava).

The root of patriarchy is intertwined in working class relationship and consumption, without questioning these, tags will be repeated and retold excluding the marginalised, and will be lost in journals and publication read by elite world.

Feminist movement have stood for equality among both men and women, sustainable environment and unleashing freedom from savaging culture, until and unless the new social movements related to it stands by and for untweeting masses too, hashes will be ashed, without perennial fire from within.

Twitter and Research

Twitter can be considered a space of class division and exclusion, reflecting how “power, privilege, and structures of inequality remain in operation online” (Park and Leonard in Susana Loza 2014) Social Media in UK Twitter’s user base is small compared to bigger social networking services like Facebook.

The research attention Twitter receives is partly due to the relative ease with which Twitter data (tweets for example) can be accessed (Katrin Weller 2013).

Within Twitter’s UK user base, recent data from IPSOS (2014) suggest that over half are aged under thirty-five. Of all Twitter users, 42 percent are women. Among these, the biggest single age group is 15-24 year olds, with use being lower among women in their mid-forties and over.

Social grade breakdown:
Most Twitter users (women and men) are weighted in the higher social grades (A, B, and C1). These three grades combined account for 61 percent of users, compared to 39 percent in social grades C2, D, and E.

source: Jacobinmag, Feminist Media Study Journal

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