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

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.

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