By: Christine McClellan
Being that this is my final personal post on TMI, I decided to finally write an overall positive post. My topic has consistently been “social media” – an easy target for negative comments and for me to point out problematic details. However, the Internet isn’t all that bad, right? Social media can help individuals deal with their personal problems, it can provide a support group, it can bring people together, and it can promote new ideas.
Something that I’ve noticed a lot in recent years, particularly on social media/blog site Tumblr, is the spread of feminism. With the relatively huge popularity of Tumblr blogs like “Who Needs Feminism?”, “F*** Yeah Feminism!”, “Everyday Feminism” and more, Tumblr users (mainly teens) are being exposed to new ideas that they may not see in movies, on television, or elsewhere.
On Tumblr, these blogs’ posts often spread like wildfire. Even if a user does not follow any one of these, there is a high chance that they will eventually see their popular posts. Users re-blog posts, and their followers can re-blog those – and the especially popular posts are seen by thousands more than the blog’s writer had intended. This way, if a Tumblr blogger posts a picture or text post with a feminist message, users that may not have ever been exposed to feminist views is able to see it and possibly change their beliefs accordingly.
I’m not saying that everybody needs to identify as a feminist, or that every “feminist” blog on Tumblr stays true to feminism. However, feminism promotes beliefs that are beneficial to all people – equality among every gender, race, class, sexual orientation and more. As we’ve looked at in our blog’s previous posts, these elements of feminism are not commonly seen in mainstream media or reality today, and its rising popularity on the Internet may eventually change that.
The more popular feminist Tumblr blogs benefit the Internet world in different ways. Below I elaborate on how their popularity can help the spread of feminist ideals among the general Tumblr community:
Started by students at Duke University, this blog collects user-submitted photos of individuals with written signs describing reasons why they personally need feminism. The submissions come from men and women alike, and their reasons range from dealing with catcalls, being scared to walk alone at night, rape culture and more. Because of the diversity of the submissions, it’s almost guaranteed at least one relates to any given Tumblr user. Aside from only the Tumblr community, this blog has been featured on Buzzfeed, Mashable, Huffington Post, and more – exposing these messages to audiences outside of Tumblr. Given that feminism often has a bad reputation, relating to one of these images may change some peoples’ opinions.
Another blog made up of user submitted photos, these pictures show photos of average people with a caption that says something along the lines of “This is what a feminist looks like!” Again, given the negative stigma that feminism often carries, these photos show people that look like our family, friends, or neighbors and make viewers realize that feminists are not all radical – they are everyday people. This blog’s popularity spreads the idea of feminism along with the encouragement that it’s not a weird thing to identify as a feminist or agree with its beliefs.
Combining the previous two blogs plus more, this blog points out examples of feminists or feminism that they see every day in the media, online, in real life, etc. The bloggers post and re-blog GIFs, quotes or photos from films, television, celebrity interviews, and other people in the feminist community. With this, viewers can witness what feminism in the media looks like and why its message may be more beneficial than anti-feminist views. By recognizing this, feminist views would be better supported and may become more common in mainstream media.
These blogs, among many, many others, are working to normalize feminism – and personally, I think it’s working. The Tumblr community seems to lean toward more feminist views. Anti-feminism blogs exist, but often their posts are verbally shot down numerous times by the feminist blogger community. Again, I’m not saying feminism is something every person should identify with, but the normalization of its beliefs online may eventually spread to mainstream media and real life; therefore promoting equality and rights for all genders, races, classes, sexual orientations, and more.