Feminism in the 21st century

Internet, social media, and key issues

Feminism and the fight for women’s rights stand out in the 21st century through their heavy focus on intersectionality as well as their deep connection with technology and social media.

The global connectivity provided by the internet began to allow personal stories to be shared among people with widely different cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Once online, feminism expanded its goals, focusing more on including and empowering people with diverse identities and abilities.

Issues that feminists currently focus on are rape culture, body shaming, sexism in the media, and online misogyny, as well as sexual harassment and discrimination in public and in the workplace.

These issues are discussed on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or YouTube, and on feminist blogs and other online publications. Social media is also used to organise events, gather signatures for petitions, and draw attention to the mistreatment of women in society.

Several scandals involving the abuse, harassment, and murder of women have gained worldwide attention through social media, such as the 2012 Delhi gang rape, the 2014 Bill Cosby allegations, as well as the 2017 Harvey Weinstein allegations and the #MeToo movement that followed.

Feminism’s dependency on social media has sometimes been criticised. Firstly, it has been debated whether the high level of online activism might imply less real life activism - and less actual change in society. However, others argue that this is not the case, since social media has played a key role in feminist protests organised worldwide.

Secondly, the idea of access to technology and social media has been discussed – since not everyone has equal access to digital media, 21st century feminism has sometimes been accused of excluding people from lower classes and people with disabilities. 

Lipstick feminism

In recent years, a type of feminism popularly called “lipstick feminism” has emerged. The term “lipstick femin...

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