For reflection please see here
This year I decided to dive head first into creating my own personal blog space. This space would be where I would upload my own personal content such as short stories, reviews on products, movies and books I liked ext. Initially, I needed a bit of a shove, and so I decided that the first two stories that I posted would be the ones I wrote for my CACW101 (creative writing) class.
I then decided to do an experiment for my project (to see the blog click here), tapping into controversial hashtags on Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter. I wanted to see what sort of outcomes I would have if I started to use these hash tags with my own content. The aims of this experiment were to see if I tweeted using these tags would I get more interaction with other twitter users following them? If I linked these tags in with a story I was to write, which would contain controversial content, would I get more of a reaction to my blog? Also, being that I believe myself to be a feminist and this is often viewed by some as “controversial” could I link this altogether successfully in some way?
I ended up stumbling across a group called #shoutyourabortion. I could not think of a more controversial topic to use and so I pounced on the idea and began to write a short story about a woman who ends up having a termination, and the events that lead to this decision.
#Shoutyourabortion (http://shoutyourabortion.com/) is a group that began 2015 to support and encourage woman not to remain silent about the realities of having to terminate a pregnancy. They hope to encourage women by coordinating a series of installation designs to elevate the visibility of people who choose abortion (shoutyourabortion, 2015) in response to the multiple changes to laws that have begun to reduce access for women to safe abortions within America. And with the recent outrageous comments being made in speeches made by Trump the group seems to have been re-ignited again in their battle for women’s health centers within their country.
Both these tags seemed to gain me some attention, but not a whole lot. I also decided to look into a few other feminist organizations to see what, if anything, was already out there to support women’s rights. I found four that I liked the most, A call to Men, Heforshe, The Pixel project and Empowering women. I looked into what, if any, social media platforms they had as well as what they stood for.
A Call to Men works towards taking on issues and attitudes that women are faced with by first tackling the attitudes men have towards feminism. Educating young boys, and men through a variety of ways including seminars and training methods. Through this education, the desire is to end the cycle of inequality caused when bad behaviors are accepted towards women, and understanding that these attitudes are dangerous and anti-social and must not be tolerated.
HeForShe, which was only founded in 2014, shares a very similar mission statement to ‘A call to Men’. HeForShe’s main spokesperson is Emma Watson who tours and promotes the organization. He for she looks at the many issues faced by women on a global scale, while encouraging, supporting and incorporating issues that are faced by men as well. They ask that men join in on the fight for gender equality, by asking that men start a dialogue with their sons and other men about changing those attitudes we have towards all genders.
The Pixel project and Empower women share very similar mission statements and aims. Both organizations aims are to support, encourage and generate opportunities for women around the world, particularly where women find access to technology and resources particularly hard or limited. Their desire is to improve the standards of living these women are living in so as to help them gain financial freedoms they might otherwise never have. They also hope to bring awareness to these issues on a greater scale through their campaigns. Similarly, they both aim to end violence against women, they wish to create a safe space online for women.
Finding this information I was interested to see if there was anyone else following these pages, or any other feminist pages on twitter or Facebook considering the number of pages that were out there. I conducted a short survey and was shocked to discover that out of the 24 that completed the survey 62% didn’t follow on feminists on facebook and 75% didn’t follow any twitter with many saying they felt feminists were too aggressive or felt that feminist pages (at least the ones they had seen) didn’t cover the important issues that women are faced with globally. I did as a few other questions surrounding trump but decided realized that the information I got, while interesting, didn’t really relate to what I was trying to achieve (apologies to all those who filled out the survey! But thank you for helping me with the other information).
Finally, once I had finished writing my story and it was posted I set out to promote it as best I could. I used as many hashtags I could, including #shoutyourabortion. I shared the story on my Pink Protagonist facebook page; Tweeted it a few times, and I also shared the story on my personal facebook. I even resorted to paying for the post to be promoted on facebook.
Over all the outcomes were not exactly fruitful. Self-promotion did gain me a few new followers on my facebook page but none resulted in any new followers on my blog or twitter. Nor did any of the new followers end up liking or interacting with the story bar an increase in views. So at the end of the day, my little experiment with controversies on social media has not really changed much on my personal social media platforms. However, my understanding of activist organizations and feminism has increased, and so not all bad.