Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies


#Yesallwomen not only relates to multiple women and men within the Twitter world, but also to authors of the digital humanities world. The social media movement relates to digital humanities most commonly in that many people of society do not see the "real purpose" of them. Perhaps you've never heard about digital humanities along with the #Yesallwomen social media movement. Digital humanities is an intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities. Digital humanities, like #Yesallwomen includes other branches of fields and topics, and in one way or another can relate to us.

Related Readings:

(1.) In "Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, Gender, and Embodiment by Jessie Daniels (2009), the author discusses a new field that has peaked since the increased use of technology, which is cyberfeminism. Cyberfeminism is a multifaceted exploration of the relationship between gender and digital culture. As mentioned previously #Yesallwomen is a part of the feminism movement, and because it is a social media movement it can be applied to cyberfeminism as well. The goal of cyberfeminism is ultimately to create equality among all digital users within the technology world. As in the real world, women are harasses and sexually assaulted online primarily by men. Daniels opens her article with an introduction of a new feminist practice online which includes taking photos of harassers, specifically men, and uploading them to a site called HollaBackNYC. As many women of the #Yesallwomen movement, within the HollaBackNYC website, women view the internet as a safe space for resisting the gender oppression that they experience in their day-to-day lives offline. We are then introduced to "identity tourism" within Daniels' article, which is an idea that comes from Lisa Nakamura. Nakamura describes "identity tourism" as “the process by which members of one group try on for size the descriptors generally applied to persons of another race or gender” (Nakamura, Cybertypes). Race does not play a major role in the #Yesallwomen movement in that many different races are welcomed into the social media movement, and the movement does not apply to one "dominant" race. Gender, however, is the core component of #Yesallwomen. There is presumably no gender-switching within #Yesallwomen, but men have attempted to understand the assaults that women have "tweeted" about, via the #Notallmen hashtag being created. Women are not only bringing their stories online, but also their bodies better known as their identities. Although their stories are tragic, it has still shaped their identity and contributed to the women's strength that they display online and even offline.

(2.) Another relation #Yesallwomen has to an author is in chapter two (Walkout Warrior: Transmedia Organizing) of Sasha Constanza-Shock's book titled Out of the Shadows, Into the StreetsThis chapter within Constanza-Shock's book discusses the use of hashtags and activist participation that is related to the use of hashtags. From the popular use of hashtags, hashtag ethnography has been created. Hashtag ethnography allows hashtags to be seen as a field site. Hashtags are a major feature of other social media websites other than Twitter. These hashtags allow social media users to have quick retrieval to what is being hashtagged, to identify patterns and debates, and to frame what comment is about. As discussed before social media movements have been enabled due to the increased use of new media. New media technologies are not just for fun "re-tweets" or for people to post their beach pictures, but also has many advantages/opportunities that contribute to activism as pointed out by Constanza-Shock. Some of the opportunities include to connect and inspire new activists, develop and extend relationships, higher and faster response times, and broadcast own content. All these opportunities and advantages have been seen within the #Yesallwomen social media movement. The number of "re-tweets" that #Yesallwomen received within hours was extraordinary enough to make it one of the top five social media movements in the year of 2014, as previously stated. Twitter has brought a lot of attention to the dilemma of assaults and harassment towards women by mostly men. The image below is a sample data of how much attention #Yesallwomen received within hours of its surfacing on Twitter.

Online activism also includes its drawbacks, as does everything else within the world. Such drawbacks seen within the #Yesallwomen movements are it blurs the boundary of private and public, produces the illusion of making a difference, social media can reinforce power inequality, and not everyone has equal skills or access to digital media tools. Some women are perhaps left out of the movement in that they do not know how to share their stories digitally and publicize them, or perhaps are too scared to share such stories. There have been some harsh comments towards the women who share their stories, which is a major problem within the digital world overall. And although #Yesallwomen has brought limelight onto a controversy that has been upon women for many years, the problem has not decreased or gone away as women are still assaulted and harassed sexually, mentally, physically, and emotionally on almost a day-to-day basis. The major benefit one can see, is that women have been empowered to share their voices and allow others to know their pain. #Yesallwomen may not be a perfect social media movement, but it is a movement that has made a positive difference in multiple women's lives. Many will state that digital activism is not real activism, such as #Yesallwomen, and perhaps it is not, but it is an element that contributes to the participation of different users, even if it is digitally.

(3.) Another chapter from Sasha Constanza-Shock's book relates to #Yesallwomen, which is chapter 6 titled Conclusions. In this chapter Constanza-Shock discusses transmedia organizing, which is defined as "a liberatory approach to integrating media, communications, and cultural work into movement building; it lies at the place where media justice and transformative organizing overlap" (Tagteam). Constanza-Shock relates the idea of transmedia organizing to an Immigrant's movement, but it can have relation to a social media movement like #Yesallwomen. Transmedia organizing has different elements that contribute to its functioning in new media. It involves the construction of social movement identity, which is exemplified in #Yesallwomen in that the women who told their stories created an identity for themselves on social media. Transmedia organizing also requires the co-creation and collaboration across multiple social movements. #Yesallwomen can be said to be a part of multiple social movements that include feminism, gender equality, cyberfeminism, and women's rights. Thirdly, transmedia organizing provides roles and actions for movement participants. The fourth element that #Yesallwomen displays from transmedia organizing is that it is open to participation by the social base. Along with transmedia organizing is media bridging which focuses on transferring media and information across media platforms and between media networks. #Yesallwomen has spread across different new media platforms, starting from Twitter to having multiple blog posts dedicated to the social media movement. The transferring of #Yesallwomen among different new media has allowed the movement to gain multiple participants from different races, age, and gender. The users as a result are able to share the information and purpose of #Yesallwomen and show the world its true meaning. It is not just a hashtag to be added to a photo or post, but instead has true meaning and results in contributing to a movement not just for women, but for all people.

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