Saturday, 18 June 2016

Guest Post: The Femi-Net by Frances Moloney

In today’s blog post I wanted to write about the relationship between the internet and feminism, in short, the ‘femi-net’. The internet has fast become a space where everyone and anyone can have their voice heard, and whilst that has its negatives with the rise of cyber-bullying, trolling and articles inciting hatred and abuse, the message of togetherness coming from certain corners of the web couldn’t be more positive and has given rise of a wide range of female voices across a huge variety of genres.

There seems to have been a renewed interest in feminism over the past few years with public figures such as Lena Dunham presenting alternative female role models onscreen and books like Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Women, Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist taking the fore. There is now a Women’s Equality Party here in the UK and the debate surrounding equal pay has reached new heights of publicity with Hollywood stars such as Jennifer Lawrence getting involved. And that’s not to mention Emma Watson’s high-profile He for She campaign that prominent figures like Tom Hanks have gotten behind, with a recent Esquire magazine cover featuring the pair.

It seems that now is a great time for female voices, and the internet is creating a space for these voices to be heard, and to reach wider audiences than was possible before; not only women but men and young adults also. Online magazines such as The Vagenda and The Standard Issue create spaces for feminist voices and this has started to filter down into the everyday superstars of the moment; bloggers and vloggers.

The recent rise of the superstar blogger and vlogger has created a new voice for a new generation of consumers. There doesn’t even have to be an explicit feminist message in their content but just by occupying cyber space, females see a rise in airtime. Zoella has 10 million subscribers on Youtube, and popular blogger/vlogger Tanya Burr is educating an audience of 3.5 million about #globalgoals, a campaign to create equality around the globe. You don’t need someone else’s validation to be a successful female star anymore, you can create it yourself.

There are the fitness bloggers, such as Zanna Van Dijk who promotes healthy body image and strength to women everywhere through the #girlgains campaign. And the women talking about beauty and homeware and fashion? This may seem vapid to some but they are still occupying this space and getting more female voices into the mainstream. Never has there been a better time for speaking your mind, getting your voice heard and listened to, and promoting solidarity amongst your peers.

I feel as though the internet has created a great space for female voices, from Emma Gannon’s recent podcast series Ctrl Alt Delete which features a range of prominent women’s voices all with successful, non-traditional, creative careers. If the mainstream has a lack of space for female voices, the internet has given rise to a new area for women to be heard, and the range and scope of material is wide and prolific.

So it seems like now is a great time to get your voice heard on the internet. Why not try setting up your own blog or joining an online community of like-minded people, there really is space for everyone.

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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.