Feminist Hashtags: Purpose and Effect
The various social media platforms available today have made communication easier than it once used to be. Now, a person can comfortably sit in the corner of his/her room and connect with a countless number of people at once. Feminists are taking advantage of this in making their voices heard. Hashtags became prominent first on Twitter where people used it to identify and save their messages or contents so that it can easily be fetched at a later time. Now, it's not only on Twitter that people use it; it's on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and the likes as well. Female equality has been a perennial issue for more than a century. It's only been 100 years since women earned the right to vote. Women and girls all over the world have always fought for an egalitarian society where no discrimination exists on the basis of sex or gender. It's not just girls and women that have been clamoring for an equal treatment for everyone, as men are joining in on the action now too. These "fighters" or proponents of an egalitarian society where no sexism or racism is encouraged especially against women are known as feminists. In making the world know what they want, various hashtags have been used for years now to alert the world to the various injustices that have been found in our world today. It's surprising that activism can be successfully carried out on a social media platform but in this day and age it's becoming more and more commonplace. Many success stories abound of policies being reconsidered and justice being served for the oppressed. It appears that hashtags are a veritable way of getting the attention of the people at the helm of affairs to get things done. It may also turn out to be our path to an egalitarian society.
35 Feminist Hashtags Of All Time
There are more than 35 hashtags that feminists all over the world have used to put forward an opinion about one matter or the other. However, the ones discussed here are some of the most common. Feminists have been largely successful either in preaching egalitarianism or calling out society about a perceived prejudice against women. These ones are here discussed.
Feminist Hashtags 1: #RapeCultureIsWhen
This feminist hashtag was created on March 25, 2014, by Zerlina Maxwell who doubles as a writer and political analyst. She came up with this hashtag to draw the attention of the world to the way in which rape victims are blamed for what she felt may be no fault of their own. This feminist hashtag became a haven for many rape victims and survivors to narrate their experiences and to make the world aware of their plight. The creator of the hashtag has been a victim of rape herself and according to her, instead of outrightly condemning the act, some were asking her questions bothering her about what she wore and how she acted.
Feminist Hashtags 2: #WhyIStayed
This hashtag, created by Beverly Gooden in 2014 became the platform for her to tell her story of how complicated the issue of domestic abuse against women can be. Sometimes you see a woman nearly brutalized by her husband still clinging on to the relationship. She tried to explain why this sometimes happens and how she survived days of abuse from her partner. Actually, what prompted her to come up with the hashtag was the media bashing that Janay Palmer was subjected to because of her resolve to still marry her fiance' despite all the violent attacks that she received from him. This trending hashtag became a platform for feminists both near and far to tell their stories of how they too had survived one form or another of abuse from their significant other.
Feminist Hashtags 3: #IAmANastyWoman
Wondering why a woman would be proud to call herself nasty? Well, it was a statement by the incumbent US President Donald Trump meant to insult Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the Presidential candidate of the Democrat Party when the two were rounding off their debates as part of the runoff to the 2015 US Presidential election. President Donald Trump was caught saying "Such a nasty woman!" to reveal just how brave, powerful, and tough a woman Hillary was, and still is. What Donald Trump meant to be an insult was taken up by Hillary Clinton's supporters and some feminists too as a compliment. To them, if being a woman and vying for the #1 job of the United States meant being nasty, then they too are nasty. The hashtag which still trends until lately is used by some feminist to push for gender equality and fight against sexism.
Feminist Hashtags 4: #EverydaySexism
Laura Bates who founded 'The Everday Sexism Project' was the one who started the hashtag #EverdaySexism in April 2015. The hashtag was used to encourage women to come forward with their stories and as such, push for gender equality issues. And guess what? Many women and feminists responded to this call by sharing their individual sexism experience and showing their disgust about it. The aim of the hashtag seemed to be actualized because many women saw sexism as it is and were more ready to demand gender equality wherever and however. It succeeded in enlightening women not to think that because a thing is a norm does not mean it is not an act of sexism.
Feminist Hashtags 5: #YesAllWomen
This hashtag trends on most social media such as Twitter and even on Instagram. It was an effort by feminists to mobilize all women to share their experiences of misogyny and sexism on the social media for all to see. A mass shooting of women by one Santa Barbara in 2014 was among one of many incidents that helped to popularize this hashtag. It was on the news then that Barbara shot 6 women just because he detests women. The objective of this social media hashtag was to let women both near and far how poisonous sexism and hatred against a gender can be and how to resist it. It appears this objective was achieved to a large extent.
Feminist Hashtags 6: #Fem2
The full description of this hashtag is Feminism 2.0. It was among the earliest hashtags on Twitter during the early days of 2008. It became a reference point for most discussions on what possibly could become the outcome of feminism. Niambi Jarvi, the one who wrote the book '100 Words of Wisdom for Women' greatly assisted in popularizing it through his numerous references to it.
Feminist Hashtags 7: #BringBackOurGirls
This campaign was on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms crying and clamoring for the immediate and unconditional release of over 260 secondary school girls abducted by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, in Chibok, Borno State, North East, Nigeria in April 2014. Prominent among top female personalities that championed the popularity of this hashtag was US former first lady, Michelle Obama. Far from just being a social media thing, there is a currently a 'BringBackOurGirls' activist group headed by a former World Bank worker, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili who is also a feminist. Boko Haram can be literally translated as "Education is forbidden." So, by kidnapping the school girls, they are not only saying that education is forbidden alone but that it is particularly forbidden for girls. The Nigerian government with the support of the international community has made (and still making) efforts to rescue the girls. Currently, more than half of the 276 High School girls have thus far been rescued. Thanks to pressure from left and right on the government through hashtags such as this. The hashtag still trends because while the government is still trying to rescue the Chibok girls, the terrorist group has again kidnapped another 110 High School girls in a neighboring Yobe state. Worthy of mention is the fact that if not for social media campaigns such as the #BringBackOurGirls hashtags and groups, there are indications that the Nigerian government would have left the girls in the terrorists' dungeons.
Feminist Hashtags 8: #PrettyPeriod
#PrettyPeriod is more than just a hashtag; it is a movement. The movement which the hashtag seeks to promote began in 2014. It was championed by a scholar and female activist, Dr. Yaba Blay. The premise of the movement was that there was no need to attach race, tribe or color to pretty. To this feminist, a female is pretty and not "pretty for a dark." This movement is against racial discrimination against women.
Feminist Hashtags 9: #HeForShe
This hashtag is also a movement which Hollywood star, Emma Watson started to encourage men to support feminism. This hashtag provides the platform for ideas to be shared among men on how best to fight the course of gender equality. This movement or if you like, campaign, did go a long way in sensitizing men especially those who are celebrities to speak up against domestic violence and support gender equality. The movement succeeded in making even men feminist. Some of the celebrities that bought into the idea of this movement include Peter Gallagher, Matthew Lewis, Harry Styles, Douglas Booth, and several others.
Feminist Hashtags 10: #MeToo
Dallas @womensmarch Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. January 20, 2018 . . . #womensmarch #whyimarch #metoo #timesup #texas #dallas #advocate #rally #protest #march #blackandwhitephotography #notmypresident #lovetrumpshate #street #streetphotography #streetview #city #cityphotography #cityview #bnw #feminist #resist #activism #timesupnow #portraitphotography #dallasphotography #dallasphotographer #womensmarch2018 #powertothepolls #vote
It was the feminist, Tarana Burke, that first started a campaign tagged Me Too in 2016 to bring to the knowledge of the public how widespread the issue of sexual assault against women had become. However, it was in October 2017 that she took to the social media to drive home her point. What necessitated the bringing up of this hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and the rest was the allegation of sexual assault levied against a certain Harvey Weinstein who was alleged to have assaulted not less than 84 women many of whom are actresses. Harvey Weinstein is a Hollywood producer and he uses his position to assault women. This #MeToo hashtag still trends today affording many people the opportunity to beartheir minds on issues of sexual assault on women.
Feminist Hashtags 11: #ImWithHer
This hashtag echoes the 2015 Presidential campaign slogan of Hillary Clinton, a female vying for America's toughest job. The genesis of this slogan can be traced to the October 2015 encounter between Hillary Clinton and Katy Perry, pictures of which were uploaded online by Clinton with the tag “#ImWithHer – Katy”. So, as time went by, it became the slogan with which many of her staunch supporters identified with. Some of them include Amy Schumer, Rosie O’Donnell, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Feminist Hashtags 12: #ToTheGirls
#tothegirls Never apologize for your accomplishments. You've earned them. Confidence does not equal conceit.— Brandy Colbert (@brandycolbert) April 14, 2015
This was a powerful hashtag used an author and feminist, Courtney Summers, in April 2015 to beckon all girls not to settle for less because their voices are heard and that they are loved. Apparently, it was an encouragement platform created by the feminist to make women and girls have confidence themselves. In her words, every girl that comes about the hashtag and what it teaches should tell another all about it.
Feminist Hashtags 13: #EffYourBeautyStandard
This particular hashtag was started on Instagram by Tess Holliday in 2013 to correct some impression making the rounds among women that they have to be of a particular body size to love themselves. Tess herself is a plus-size model that has been widely criticized for her size 22 body. However, she has taken it upon herself to let the world know that all women, regardless of their sizes (i.e. whether fat or slim) are equally brilliant and beautiful.
Feminist Hashtags 14: #NoMoore
Actually, there are two other variants of this hashtag which are #NeverMoore and #MeAt14. Any of the three refer to the same thing and they each have a common origin. It was birthed in November 2017 when a US Republican Senator nominee, Roy Moore was reported to have sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl. Many of the politician's supported tried to insinuate that a 14-year-old girl has ceased to be a small girl and that what took place between him and the senator nominee was an agreed upon thing. In response to this defense, women started posting online their pictures when they were 14 years old to prove the point that a 14-year-old-girl couldn't have consented to a relationship with an adult man like Roy Moore. So, among other things, the hashtag was meant to make a point that a man with a questionable moral character as Moore was not suitable to hold a public office.
Feminist Hashtags 15: #TimesUp
This is among the newest feminist hashtags having recently been created in January 2018. As the name suggests, it represents an effort to let every female sexual assaulter know that the time has run out of them. Consequently, an online medium 'TimesUpNow.com' has been made available by the conveners of this campaign to assist women to seek regress in court for every harassment and sexual assault put upon them by men.
Feminist Hashtags 16: #AllMenCan
This was created to showcase the fact that a man too can be a feminist and it was a campaign meant to stress the fact that everyone can be who they are without looking down on the other person. For instance, the hashtag says that a man can be masculine without being a misogyny; he can be chivalrous without being demeaning and likewise a feminist without having to exhibit fear. Penguin Galaxy created it but it became widely known through the effort of Elizabeth Plank who devoted herself to using the hashtag in order to portray what it means to be a male and be a feminist as well.
Feminist Hashtags 17: #GirlsLikeUs
#GirlsLikeUs is for ALL trans women, regardless of color, but all who lend their voice to amplify ours knows that intersectionality matters.— Janet Mock (@janetmock) May 15, 2012
As seen in the above picture, the #GirlsLikeUs hashtag has Janet Mock who is a writer, media practitioner, and a feminist as its creator. It greeted the Twitter platform and other social media platforms such as Instagram on May 15, 2012. Among other things, it was meant to sensitize people to matters pertaining to trans women. And more than just an enlightenment forum, the hashtag, since its creation in 2012 has become a meeting point for many trans women to share issues of common interest.
Feminist Hashtags 18: #BindersFullOfWomen
There was a debate in 2012 where Mitt Romney was quoted as saying that members of staff brought her binders full of women. It was a statement that expressed discouragement and snark at the poor presence of women in politics. No sooner had Mitt Romney finished making the statement that it became a trending hashtag online. It calls for women to aspire to become leaders and not just leave everything to the men.
Feminist Hashtags 19: #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen
Mikki Kendall, an activist in 2013 discovered that most colored women are usually exempted from discussions bothering on feminism online. For this reason, therefore, she took to her Twitter page to create the hashtag "SoidarityIsForWhiteWomen" to challenge the norm and push the idea of intersectionality in feminism. This not only sparked a heated discussion but also led to a couple other hashtags such as #SolidarityIsForWhiteLGBTQ and #SolidarityIsForBlackMen which also became trending.
Feminist Hashtags 20: #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult
Again, feminists have to call out on Donald Trump during his 2015 Presidential campaigns owing to some of his utterances that appear to be anti-feminine. The US President was hosted by Megyn Kelly on Fox News for a GOP debate and Trump made a statement that suggested that the tough time Megyn gave her was because she was on her period. As a matter of fact, the year 2015 was a year of many hashtags because of the US elections and the issues surrounding it. This hashtags still trends to date because it has an effect that transcends the elections.
Feminist Hashtags 21: #BlackGirlsAreMagic
This hashtag also has a short form which is known as #BlackGirlMagic. It was used by its original creator, CaShawn Thompson beginning in 2013 to celebrate black women for their ruggedness and resilience. The hashtag which still trends, became known and elicited lots discussions about the black woman. And as a testimony to its success in achieving its aim, Former President Barack Obama in March 2016 got to discuss the beauty of black magic with prima ballerina Misty Copeland.
Feminist Hashtags 22: #TheEmptyChair
The New York Magazine brought out its cover in 2015 showcasing the 11 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assaults. However, on the seat, only empty chairs were shown without the pictures of the real women assaulted. Of course, the purpose for doing that is clear; sexual assault is not something most ladies want to report or be identified with as it is often considered a stigma. But Elon James in response to the cover, went ahead to create the #TheEmptyChair hashtag to challenge this attitude. The hashtag later became an avenue for sharing very heart-touching and pathetic sexual assault stories which were before that time covered up. Many have stated that if victims had been so open about their experiences before now, perhaps the challenge would have been nipped in the bud.
Feminist Hashtags 23: #SayHerName
The US police have often been reported to be brutal against blacks. However, whereas the brutality against black men has been largely reported and popularized, the same is not true for black women. The story of a 28-year-old American woman, Sandra Bland, is often told as the inspiration for this hashtag. Reports have it that she drove to Texas by herself to attend an interview but was later found dead in her cell. Obviously, she was arrested and detained. Prior to this incidence, another Dajjeria Becton had been violently handled by the police and numerous cases of such remains unheard of. This hashtag challenges that the names and identities of these ones should not be swept under the carpet.
Feminist Hashtags 24: #HobbyLobby
The US Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that commercial enterprises can deny their employees contraception coverage on the basis of religion. This hashtag which came into being in June 2014 became a forum by which many women expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling.
Feminist Hashtag 25: #YouOKSis
Ultimately, if you've paid attention, #YouOKSis is a call for bystander intervention that moves beyond sharing experiences to ending them— ♈️☀️I'll Be 39 on 4/6🌙♌️ (@FeministaJones) August 8, 2014
This hashtag tweet was born out of an experience of feminist blogger, thinker, and social worker name Feminista Jones. Jones witnessed a woman being openly harassed on the street and the scene was very disturbing for her to watch. This feminist felt compelled to approach this woman and ask "You, OK, Sis?" That eventually became a hashtag where people discuss almost everything about street harassment of girls and women.
Feminist Hashtags 26: #NotGuilty
Ione Wells, an Oxford University student was the one that created this hashtag. She chose not to go the normal path of silence as a victim of sexual assault by going on social media platforms Twitter and Instagram to call out on the assaulter. Prior to her own experience, incidents like that had taken place with the victims refusing to speak out. Wells hashtag emboldened many students to voice out their ordeals in the hands of sexual assaulters. Notable among them was a student raped, beaten and dumped in a bin who before the hashtag kept the incident to herself. This hashtag made her come out without fearing that displaying her identity can lead to stigmatization.
Feminist Hashtags 27: #AddWomen
This hashtag which began in 2015 trends till recently. It was an effort by feminists to justify the need to include more women in the field of tech, science, mathematics, and engineering with the acronym STEM. Feminists fear that with the continuous reduction in the enrolment of females in "STEM," chances are that with time, women's health may not receive as much attention as it deserves. The American Association of University Women were the one who started this hashtag in March 2015 and their aim is to preach diversity and intersectionality.
Feminist Hashtags 28: #WhyILeft
This is a follow up to the #WhyIStay hashtag justifying why a woman should not continue or persist in an abusive relationship. The hashtag was created in 2014 and it has become a means by which women going through domestic abuse are advised on what to do.
Feminist Hashtags 29: #MasculinitySoFragile
This hashtag although humorous has become popular especially starting in September 2015 and it basically challenges men to come forward with what it means to be a man.
Feminist Hashtags 30: #NotYourAsianSideKick
The tweet above describes everything the hashtag stands for.
Feminist Hashtags 31: #FlushRushNow
#FlushRushNow is a 2012 hashtag that was created to serve as a backlash to Rush Limbaugh who has uttered so many sexist statements from his mouth during his career days. Flush lost as many as 2000 sponsors just because of this tweet. It was powered by the Feminist Campus primarily to discourage men from arbitrarily abusing women.
Feminist Hashtags 32: #MooreAndMe
This has a similar aim to that of the #FlushRushNow hashtag. Michael Moore accused women claiming Julian Assange of rape and assault of lying. Assange is the creator of WikiLeaks. This in effect puts the blame on the victims. Doyle, the creator of this hashtag thus urged her online followers to massively tweet the hashtag #MooreAndMe so he can apologize and probably pay some $20,000 to an NGO. Moore's apology shows that the tweet achieved its aim after all.
Feminist Hashtags 33: #IWillGoOut
This hashtag was created as a response to the embarrassing comments by Abu Azmi, the leader of the Samajwadi Party who shamed some women for staying outside later than the sunset in Bengaluru on December 31st. Obviously, the society is patriarchal and to affirm that women are no less equal to men when it comes to certain rights, the hashtag sprang up and conquered the net.
Female Hashtags 34: #WomenBoycottTwitter
In October 2017, this hashtag was created by some women to protest what they call the lack of anti-harassment policy of Twitter. It still trends until lately. Typically, women are mobilized to boycott Twitter a day to register this grievance.
Feminist Hashtags 35: #LahuKaLagaan
This was an online protest a government policy that saw the tax on feminine products raised to as high as 12%
No doubt, egalitarianism is the lasting solution to feminism. In an egalitarian society, no gender is placed above the other. However, it seems from history that egalitarianism and freedom are not freely given; most times, they are demanded or fought for. The hashtag approach has proven to be more than effective in getting the voice of the oppressed women heard. However so be it, women themselves need to stand up and be one. For as someone rightly noted, sometimes, we are our own number one enemy.