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Final: From Tweets to Streets- #YESALLWOMEN & #Heforshe by Ashley Martinez-Munoz
Social movements have been a part of our history for many years. We have read about them within our history books. We have viewed them being covered on the news. And we have perhaps discussed about them with our peers. The purpose of social movements has remained the same over the years, which is to spread awareness about a specific political or social issue from a certain group, and to undo a social change. The way that social movements are spread, however, have changed abundantly. Today social movements engage with new media such as social media websites, blog posts, online newspapers, and much more. Along with new media comes the digital participation that takes place between different races. How does this engagement with new media, adversely affect social movements and its diverse communities that affiliate with a specific social movement?
Such a social movement that exemplifies the new relationship between social movements and new media, as well as demonstrating how different races partake in the digital participation of new media is the #Yesallwomen and #Heforshe social media movement. According to The Wall Street Journal #Yesallwomen and #HeforShe is said to be one of the top five social media movements in 2014. The popularized hashtag, #Yesallwomen, rose when in May, a 22-year-old by the name of Elliot Rodger posted a Youtube video in which he stated he would kill [various] women in a sorority house because they rejected in dating him. Elliot Rodger allegedly killed six people in that same month, and then after took his own life. Women began trending this hashtag to share their stories and experiences of harassment, abuse and sexual assault world-wide. Soon enough a new popular hashtag was made in response to #Yesallwomen, which was #Heforshe in order to show that men and women were equal, and for men to show their support for the #Yesallwomen movement. The main source used to spread the hashtags was the social media website, Twitter.
#Yesallwomen is not just a popular hashtag on a widely used social media website, but it is instead a part of the feminism and women's right movement. The hashtag got over one million "re-tweets" from a diverse population of users on Twitter, all of which were of different genders, ages, and races. The #Yesallwomen campaign is one of many that has contributed to the way that social movements are utilizing the new media of the 21st century.
If you have never heard of #Yesallwomen, before reading this, then let's backtrack and see how the popular hashtag movement started!
Unfortunately the social media movement was a result of the tragic event that took place in May, when a 22-year-old by the name of Elliot Rodger posted a Youtube video in which he stated he would kill [various] women in a sorority house because they rejected in dating him. Elliot Rodger then allegedly killed six people in that same month in Isle Vista, California, and after took his own life. Elliot Rodger was a man who unfortunately felt entitled to have attention from women, and felt the need to "punish" them. Another unfortunate matter, is that Elliot is not the only man who felt this way. Multiple women have been victims of such men like Elliot and thus women began trending this hashtag to share their stories and experiences of harassment, abuse and sexual assault that related to Elliot's violating message within his Youtube video. According to Pete Pachal, a writer for the multi-platform media and entertainment company called Mashable, the hashtag originated on May 24th, 2014 in a Twitter conversation involving a writer by the name of Annie Cardi and another women whose name is not released in order to protect her identity. This social media movement is known as a "hashtag slacktivism," a term that critics have created for trending topics given awareness through the use of a hashtag (Schwarze, Popsugar). Gina Denny who wrote a blog on the hashtag social media movement stated, however, that #Yesallwomen differs greatly from all the other "hashtag slacktivisms" in that it ultimately gave women a voice.
The Twitter conversation between the two women soon enough started a trend allowing women to share their stories and "tweet" about women's experiences and stories with the hashtag #Yesallwomen. Women were publicly coming out with their stories, to shed light on the many mistreatments that women face within their daily lives from men. The social media movement has created a diverse population of users that use the #Yesallwomen hashtag. Tiwtter created an animated heatmap of where the #Yesallwomen hashtag was mostly being used/"re-tweeted". The tweets mostly came from the United States and United Kingdom, but activity also came from countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, and Qatar (Mashable).
Although the hashtag seems specified for women, many men have shown their support for the #Yesallwomen movement. Multiple men have "re-tweeted" with #Yesallwomen showing their support of women and condemning their experiences of their sexual inequality. Men also have created a response with the #Notallmen hashtag. It was sometimes used as a counterpoint to feminist arguments, but for the most part it was to show support of the #Yesallwomen. #Yesallwomen may seem to be in existence in order to shed negative light on men, but it is in fact instead an element of feminism and gender equality.
Women's movements have taken place for many years, well before the year of 2014, however, now the movement is taking place on a computer screen.