A few months ago, the internet was buzzing about the release of #FemFuture, a report about the origins of online feminism, what online feminism is, and what lies ahead. It drew a lot of criticism–some warranted–and caused some in the online feminism space to clap back, if you will.
My problems with #FemFuture wasn’t with the lack of inclusion of women of color, though that was a valid concern. My issue is that this idea of online feminism limits who has access to feminism as a whole and ultimately who gets to own it.
There are LOTS of conversations about feminism and feminist critiques of pop culture all over the internet, especially on social media. I’m glad that women have created spaces online where they can address the issues that are important to us. It’s important to note that many of the issues women have dealt with have been brought to light because of online feminism. For instance, perhaps I wouldn’t have known about Standing Up for Texas Women without the conversations taking place on Twitter.
But the biggest problem I see with online feminism is that I don’t see as many people talking about ways to bring the dialogue happening online…..offline. We talk about feminism, we blog about it,we make videos about it, we go to expensive conferences and attend panels about it…and then what? One could say that online feminism has failed to reach out to women who are perhaps less privileged and less engaged on social media–so who is reaching out to them?
The major take away for me as an online organizer is this: Online organizing — whether it is in the form of petitions, viral videos, or just a conversation or hashtag on Twitter, must have a component that takes the online dialogue offline. Otherwise, why are you doing it?
#FemFuture is failing at creating action and movements offline. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen much to make me believe otherwise.