‘SO­CIAL ME­DIA HAS GIVEN US SOL­I­DAR­ITY IN NUM­BERS’

Au­thor and pod­caster Emma Gan­non says the rise of so­cial me­dia means that all voices are now be­ing heard

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - The Gh Report -

Icame to fem­i­nism quite late, com­pared with a lot of teens now. I was 21 and I bought How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Mo­ran on a whim in the air­port and took it with me on hol­i­day. That book has been called the ‘gate­way drug to fem­i­nism’ – it’s a start­ing point. ‘Oh yeah,’ you think to your­self, ‘Thongs are un­com­fort­able, heels are painful, why does ev­ery­one prod you about hav­ing a baby?’ The word pa­tri­archy en­tered my vo­cab­u­lary and I was never the same again.

My re­la­tion­ship with my body changed (I was kinder to it, re­al­is­ing how much I had been brain­washed), I cut my hair (I don’t need to be Ra­pun­zel to be loved!) and I found a sense of con­fi­dence in be­ing the per­son I want to be, not the per­son who con­stantly tried to ap­pease men, stayed small in the work­place and ate less to con­fine to so­cial norms.

So­cial me­dia, specif­i­cally Twit­ter, in­tro­duced me to some in­cred­i­ble women. Young fem­i­nists, such as the ac­tivists June Eric-udorie, Rowan Blan­chard, Reni Eddo-lodge and Laura Bates. I was in­tro­duced to in­ter­sec­tional fem­i­nism: the fact that as women, we have dif­fer­ent lay­ers to us that af­fect us in dif­fer­ent ways, such as race, gen­der, class, abil­ity, and eth­nic­ity. Fem­i­nism can­not just be about white, mid­dle-class

women writ­ing only about their spe­cific is­sues. There is no one-size-fits-all type of fem­i­nism, I re­alised, and my fem­i­nism shifted from a con­cern with my per­sonal emo­tional is­sues to the broader prob­lems fac­ing women.

In my 20s, I found ageism and sub­tle sex­ism in the work­place. Aged 22, I started giv­ing talks on blog­ging and dig­i­tal cul­ture all over Europe, and the male speak­ers would either think I was there to serve them (one asked me for ex­tra sugar in his tea) or would sim­ply just speak over me on pan­els as I tried to make my point. I re­alised I wouldn’t get a word in un­less I re­ally spoke up. So­cial me­dia has en­abled mil­len­nial women to find like-minded peo­ple and to feel as though we have some sort of safety and sol­i­dar­ity in num­bers.

When I went to see the film Suf­fragette in 2015, I was in­cred­i­bly moved by what I saw. Women died for us to have the vote. It is im­por­tant to be re­minded of the sac­ri­fices that they made. But there was valid crit­i­cism of that film that stayed with me: the fact it only in­cluded white faces. Was the film white­wash­ing the move­ment? I think my gen­er­a­tion has a keen sense that all women need to be seen, heard and rep­re­sented fairly. Fem­i­nism is not fem­i­nism un­less it’s for ev­ery woman, ev­ery­where.

There is no one-siz­e­fits-all type of fem­i­nism

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