Social media has given the feminist movement the ability to evolve and grow. During recent scandals, women have taken to social media to call out sexual offenders, sexist work environments, and unfair treatment. Social media has opened the door for all of us to stand up to misogynist ideology from the comfort of our own homes on a more direct level. For the first time, we are able to "call out" politicians, companies, and leaders about their shortcomings. With this new sense of accountability placed upon the upper echelon of our society, regular people are able to make a real impact, especially in the quest for gender equality. At the forefront of this discussion is the hashtag, which makes it extremely easy for people to engage and implement social change.
Using hashtags has become a way for women to unite online about gender inequality. You've probably seen the #HeForShe, #ImWithHer, and #MeToo campaigns on Twitter, but what do these hashtags actually do? When we use hashtags they provide quantifiable data like reach, impressions, and engagement. We can study these social metrics to understand popular opinions and trends in society. With the simple use of a pound sign, you can create a ripple that turns into a wave of engagement. Below you will see the reach each of these popular feminist hashtag campaigns has had.
The most recent example of these hashtag campaigns is the #MeToo campaign, which has been used to highlight the prevalence of sexual assault and objectification of women in our society. This was sparked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal but spiraled into thousands of women sharing their assault stories. #MeToo has given women the platform to step forward to show just how many women have dealt with sexual harassment. Celebrities, politicians, and everyday women have stepped forward by using the hashtag to tell their story. It has helped normalize the conversation of sexual harassment which has always been taboo. #MeToo has been used about 1.7 million times and the campaign isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
By using hashtags women are able to band together all over the world. Through the use of hashtag campaigns, women have had sex offenders fired, unethical work environments exposed and organized the largest protest in US history. Hashtags have become a cornerstone for connecting and relaying messages on a monumental level, and as feminists, we can continue to use hashtags as a tool to convey our messages and mobilize our efforts. How's that for #GirlPower?