March 2, 2011

Twitter Guide for Feminists

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 12:14 pm

Originally posted at Gender Focus by Jarrah Hodge. Cross-posted with permission.


For the two years I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve found it to be a really great place for keeping track of news about gender issues and networking with other feminists.

But for new users, it can be difficult to use Twitter effectively. I often hear people complaining that ”all it is is people talking about what they ate for lunch”. I can also see feminists maybe getting turned off given some of the offensive hashtags that end up becoming trending topics, like #rulesforgirls and #ihatewomenwho.

Although I admit I tweet a fair bit about what I’m eating, there’s a lot more to Twitter than the mundane. I’ve tried to list the top Twitter accounts for feminists to follow in a variety of categories, in no particular order. I follow almost 300 related Twitter accounts and I found it difficult to narrow it down. I’d love to hear in the comments below which accounts you think should be added.

To follow the complete list of feminist accounts I follow, check out the list page here. And follow me and the latest from Gender Focus @jarrahpenguin.

Top Hashtags to Keep an Eye On

  • #sheparty – This is a hashtag used for a weekly feminist discussion session hosted by the Women’s Media Center each Wednesday from 12-3 PM EST. It’s a great way to use Twitter to network with other feminists and chat with special guests.
  • #fem2 – Probably the most popular catch-all hashtag for feminist topics.


June 14, 2010

By young women for young women: Blogging 101

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 9:47 pm

For their final project in WS 30: Women and Pop Culture, this group of young feminists created their own blog and created a film relaying their experiences.

Group statement:

Blogs are quickly becoming one of the main ways that activists are stay in touch and stay updated with current events. And as active readers of blogs- may they be crafting, cooking, or political- we understand the impact that they can have on others. So when it came time to decide what we wanted to do for our group project, a blog made sense.

There are many great blogs dedicated to feminism out there, but there aren’t many written for and by college students. Most of the influential blogs that we read are written by women in their late 20s and beyond. While these are a great resource to the feminist community, it can be difficult to relate to some of the content when you’re still in college and haven’t quite entered the working world yet. Our blog, FemineUs, was designed to fill that gap. We wanted to create a safe space where young feminists could freely discuss their opinions on what was going on in the world.

FemineUs met our goal of creating that safe space. Each of us was able to post about issues that were important to us and other women our age. Some of the posted topics included personal reflections on body image, critical analysis of reality TV, and health issues among others. The readership of our blog spanned continents as we received hits from places such as Iran, South Korea, and New Zealand.

This project was a learning experience for all of us. We hope that the advice we provide in our video will be of use to other feminists looking to start their own blog.

April 14, 2010

Social Media & Feminism in the classroom & beyond

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 6:52 pm

In my recent interview with Ronak Ghorbani (part of a project exploring feminism and social media), she asked me about twitter as a tool of activism and the community of feminists I am connected with by my tweets. Can twitter help facilitate real change? Can it foster authentic relationships?

Yes and yes.

I’m teaching a new course in Women’s Studies this semester, WS 30: Women and Pop Culture, that explores the representation of women and feminists in pop culture while simultaneously examining the relationship between feminism and pop culture. But I didn’t think teaching a course on women and pop culture that merely examined these issues through text and lecture would be complete considering my experiences via social media and everything that is happening as a result of social media.

So, what have I done? I created a class blog that was built by the fabulous Anita Sarkeesian (click on the link, view her portfolio and you’ll see my class masthead in the center), allowing the class to learn hands-on blogging skills using Word Press, create a resource base and an opportunity to share their responses to assigned prompts in addition to optional posts that encourages them to share their observations, insights and experiences. This new class format has exceeded my expectations and the students are engaged and excited.  What’s not to like?


March 18, 2010

Girls Investigate: From Face to Facebook

From Face to Facebook: Social Media’s Merits and Minuses is the latest installment of the Women’s Media Center and Global Girl Media‘s 4-part installment of Girls Investigate: Our Take on the Media.

March 10, 2010

I have a crush on Zoe Nicholson (and so should you)

On her website, she states that she is:

“Openly Buddhist, openly bi, openly progressive, openly feminist; let’s face it, I am open. I am interested in progress.”

Ok, she had me at “openly Buddhist.”

Kamala Lopez recently made virtual introductions stating, “you have to meet Zoe!”  Kamala told me that Zoe is inspirational, dedicated and freakin rad. After I read her bio at, I had to agree.

Zoe Nicholson is rad and I have a mad crush.

Who says there aren’t any feminist icons, heroic female role models and committed sheroes in our midst? She’s right here.  And here. Oh, and here. She’s also featured in the documentary, March On, and her book, The Hungry Heart: A Woman’s Fast for Justice, is available for anyone and everyone to read about her courageous fight for the ERA and her 37-day fast along with 6 other women in 1982.

Suffragist Alice Paul in 1921 drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and it had been introduced into the US Congress in 1923. The proposed law had 3 basic sections: Section 1- stated “that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United State or any state on account of sex”: Section 2-stated-“the congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article”: Section 3- stated- “this amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification”:

The legislation seems simple enough and on face value it would appear that its passage would not be too difficult. However, such was not the case, and it was not until 1972, when the Congress of the USA finally passed it. However, it needed ratification endorsement by at least 38 states before it would become the law of the land. Furthermore, a deadline was placed on its ratification, June 30, 1982. There were thirty- five states that had ratified the legislation, leaving 3 states short of the required 38. One of these states was Illinois, where Nicholson’s story and her titanic struggle transpired.

Nicholson was one of seven women, who assembled in the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield in May and June of 1982, and fasted only on water for 37 days. Their objective was to persuade the legislators and Americans that the equal-rights amendment must become part of the Constitution. Illinois was chosen because this state required a 3/5, rather than a majority for ratification.

In the words of the author, she was a “satyagrahi.” or an advocate of the philosophy of non-violence resistance, as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, who had forced an end to the British Rule. When asked by reporters why was she fasting, Nicholson explained that this is the first time where she was putting her body and heart in the same place with the same intensity, and where she was not doing something useless or meaningless.

Social media has allowed contemporary feminism to flourish. It is through social media that I have created a more expansive community of feminists, activists and those seeking human rights for all people.

It is through my collaborative relationship with Kamala that I met Zoe, an inspirational beacon of light ready to share wisdom, experience and love.

You just have to look a bit. Zoe made this point clearly in her recent post, Surfing Two Waves:

To the Second Wave, who have not made the transition to the Third Wave’s ways, let me say the US Women’s Movement is alive and well.  You only have to grab your board and get online, google feminist, join facebook and search for NOW or ERA.  Spend a couple of hours at,,,,, and you will know EXACTLY where the women’s movement is.  There is plenty of room, jump in, the water is rad.

If I get to splash around with women like Zoe, women that have served, sacrificed, challenged, agitated and promoted change, I am in!