Online violence and redefining the “trolling” & “cyber-bullying” narratives
Last summer I fell into advocacy for women online when I confronted on Twitter a young man in Sault Ste Marie who made a video game that let players simulate beating the crap out of feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. This was a particularly disgusting example of the kinds of online harassment and bigotry faced by women, people of colour, queer people, the whole gamut. From Anita Sarkeesian to the Toronto photographer on Reddit who anonymously confessed to taking secret photos of unsuspecting women’s body parts on the street, to the vicious harassment and slut-shaming of B.C. teen Amanda Todd (which may have been what claimed her life), the past year has borne many instances of how sexism and misogyny manifest online.
Getting more women into politics, technology, and media
As founder of Women in Toronto Politics I’ve spoken and facilitated numerous discussions looking at how women are included, treated, and characterized as political voices – not just politicians themselves, but women who are interested in politics, women who discuss politics on social media, read and comment on articles about politics, women who study political science, etc. These are women whose passions are pushing them toward politics and not nearly enough of them run for office. Many factors influence these decisions, but the hideously sexist ways in which the media and the general public talk about women in politics is definitely one of them. A new Tumblr called “madampremier” does a great job of illustrating this.
Social media and activism
It’s no secret that social media can be a great tool for getting the word out about a cause or issue, but that only scratches the surface of how useful it can be for an activist. Social media isn’t just for broadcasting your initiatives (in fact, that’s a pretty old-school way of thinking). It’s also for brainstorming ideas, finding collaborators and volunteers, and identifying the timely issues, moments, and problems that are ripe for an activist’s intervention.