Gender, Activism and Internet Culture

In a way this blog entry will move toward a field we haven’t really touched upon yet: activism, and a social media that haven’t been mentioned much in the class: twitter.

If you are not familiar with twitter here is a video you can watch (until 1:45).

Twitter have by some been called microblogging, but there is also a different aspect of twitter. A hashtag is a way to categorize a tweet, but also helpful if you are searching for something on twitter. Users use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their tweet and by clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets in that category.


One of these recent, very fast trending hashtags were #homoriot in Sweden, started in February 2012 by Robert Jacobsson.

The hashtag was about personal stories about everyday discrimination and harassment connected to sexuality. Jacobsson started the hashtag because he was tired of the fact that it was usually things related to heterosexuality that received space in Swedish media. Through the hashtag he also wanted show how queer people restrict them selves in Sweden that is usually thought as open. At the same time he wanted to problematize norms within the hbtq group. The hashtag can be considered as a way to take space, but also activism.


Another example of a fairly recent trending hashtag is #prataomdet (in English #talkaboutit).

In connection with a discussion regarding the media coverage of the Assange case. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was accused of rape and there was a huge discussion in the media and online about how the women who accused him of rape were lying.

The journalist Johanna Koljonen started to tweet, openly and intimately, about her own experiences of drawing lines and negotiating grey areas in sexual situations and negative sexual experiences. Soon thousands of people followed Koljonen’s example tweeting about the times when their boundaries were violated, but they didn’t say anything, about times when they violated others without realizing it and about times when they violated themselves.

As a result, several Swedish magazines, newspapers and other media outlets were publishing articles on the subject. In a matter of days, international media, such as The Guardian, Die Welt, BBC World Service, Norway’s Dagbladet, Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat, and others have followed. After this Koljonen received the a big journalist prize for this and a book with the tweets was published.

When many people “talk about it”, power structures become apparent. At the same time feelings of guilt and shame can be lessened.

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2 Responses to Gender, Activism and Internet Culture

  1. Leïla Teteau-Surel says:

    Recently the same kind of things happen with the hashtag #Ididnotreport (or, in French #jenaipasporteplainte), about rape victims talking about the fact that they didn’t report it. A lot of articles talked about it.

    This is a bit irrelevant but : I know Koljonen, I’ve seen her in a convention about live-action role-playing games and she’s great! I’m glad to see she has done that too.

  2. apalmgre says:

    Yes, Koljonen have also had some really great radio programs on games, rpg, movies, but as far as I know everything has been in Swedish.

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