Discursive Activism, Cyber-Harassment, and Safe Spaces: Situating the Analysis

It’s my contention that activists in spaces such as for instance Bye Felipe are engaged in functions of governmental imagination, settlement, discussion, and disagreement that is productive and therefore these functions constitute discursive activism. But before you go on to evaluate Bye Felipe in these terms, i shall determine discursive activism and situate my analysis within the appropriate literary works on cyber-misogyny and online harassment, safe areas, and shaming.

We argue that individuals in feminist networks that are online web sites take part in discursive activism by negotiating counter-hegemonic discourses and creating feminist claims (see also Shaw, 2012a, p. 7). This notion of discursive activism builds on work by Katzenstein (1995), Maddison (2013), and younger (1997) regarding the need for discursive politics when you look at the movement that is feminist. Discursive activism or discursive politics is rhetorical action that intervenes in and produces brand brand brand new discourses by determining and unpacking energy relations in current discourses. In Shaw (2012b), We argued that the development of safe areas is essential for the growth of discursive claims. Bloggers gather in like-minded groups for reasons of discursive politics, so that you can create claims that are political react to aggressive discourses being a collective.

More particularly, the activism that Bye Felipe partcipates in primarily attracts focus on and interrupts gendered harassment that is online. On line harassment has become a problem that is getting a growing level of attention, covered (often sensationally) into the news usually with regards to of cyberbullying, while additionally becoming a location for policy campaigning and policing, framed as e-Safety or cybersafety. Some policy discourses around these problems can be patronizing and likewise sensational, and even can reinforce or perpetuate a number of the gendered harms of harassment by encouraging victim-blaming and sexual shame (Albury & Crawford, 2012; Dobson & Ringrose, 2015, p. 2), nonetheless they mirror a change when you look at the severity with which on line harassment is observed. Understanding harassment just as trolling no longer works, both in terms of public perception plus in regards to its impact that is real on (Megarry, 2014).

Section of this change in understandings of harassment arises from the increasing exposure and scale of harassment. The abuse that is relentless threats from dis/organized teams such as for instance Gamergate and “tweetstorms” around a person is overwhelming for the receiver associated with the targeted harassment, and are usually very publicly noticeable in a fashion that is unprecedented. Another element of this change when you look at the knowledge of online harassment arises from work from feminist social networking and Web studies scientists ( e.g., Jane, 2014; Megarry, 2014; Ng, 2015), as well as social testimony and individual anecdote from those who have experienced it (see Jane [2014, pp. 561-564] for overview of several of those records). These records explore the genuine effect that online harassment may have on people’s life, as well as the gendered and raced areas of harassment. In addition, alongside and frequently section of those two other changes may be the part of feminist and intersectional discourse that is political, that has increasingly drawn attention to and problematized the distinction between trolls yet others who does disrupt and harass participants in online areas (see Megarry’s (2014) conversation for the #mencallmethings campaign).

Regardless of these general public changes when you look at the way that on the web harassment is comprehended, much online discourse is usually nevertheless ambivalent concerning the need for violence in specific spaces that are online.

Bye Felipe should always be grasped when you look at the context of other sites that draw attention to your sexual politics of online dating sites in comparable ways. Feminist Tinder, Trans guys on Grindr, and also the older Fedoras of OKCupid are only a number of these internet web sites. Just like Bye Felipe but predating it by a number of years, the Tumblr web web site Fedoras of OKCupid (henceforth FOOKC) had been a curated assortment of text and pictures from internet dating platforms, which drew focus on misogynist and entitled viewpoints and techniques in those areas. Mcdougal regarding the FOOKC blog gathered pictures of men in fedora caps through the dating internet site OKCupid alongside excerpts from their relationship profile (Abraham, 2013, p. 87). Abraham (2013) inside the article on the internet site identified a trend in feminist along with other justice that is social online that “used shaming being an activist strategy” (p. 86). Abraham (2013, p. 86) tips down following Braithwaite (via Probyn, 2005) that pity may be either that is“stigmatising “reintegrative,” into the second kind “performing some sort of socialising function.” Relating to Abraham (2013, p. 87), initially, FOOKC limited it self to criticizing the appearance of the hat that is fedora but slowly begun to orient it self alongside other web web sites such as for instance Nice Guys of OKCupid “towards an activist and educational role” that critiqued a broader culture of misogyny and intimate entitlement among male geeks for the kind to put on fedoras.

Likewise, Bye Felipe is a single-issue room for discursive governmental reaction. Through the juxtaposition of a number of different online habits, it attracts together typical threads of intimate entitlement and harassment in women’s experience. Like similar web web sites and hashtags like #mencallmethings (Megarry, 2014), Bye Felipe is a place for activist “heaping” and “conglomeration” of sexist techniques and attitudes on internet dating sites (Tomlinson, 2010, p. 160). It cultivates a single muslim grouped community and a place away from those areas when it comes to growth of various discourses. The building of a community and the creation of a space where these things can be discussed is part of the activism (Abraham, 2013; Megarry, 2014; Shaw, 2012a) as with FOOKC and other feminist sites and networks.

Analysis

The initial primary thread we can look at ended up being published in June 2015 and contains 461 commentary and 4,506 likes at the time of 25 August 2015. This is actually the rejection thread. Inside it, screenshots of a text conversation appear to show a guy ignoring a woman’s rejection that is sexual so that you can deliver an unsolicited cock pic and unsolicited intimate commentary and concerns, along with abusive threats. The screenshots had been followed closely by the description: “Send an unsolicited dick pic and you’ll be shamed” accompanied by an eggplant emoji (@ByeFelipe, 2015c). The thread that is second published in April 2015 and it is the ignore thread. It offers 6,616 loves and 1,077 remarks at the time of 5 2015 september. The screenshots reveal an one-sided discussion where “Anthony” has messaged greetings four times over almost a year, ending with “Bitch I said hi” (@ByeFelipe, 2015b). This is certainly one of many milder abusive reactions made examples on the internet site. Aside from the significant percentage of remarks merely drawing other people attention that is the page having a username label and periodically a short recommendation such as “you need certainly to follow this web web page!” several themes emerged into the reviews on these pictures.

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