Social Advocacy & Politics: #AllMen Must Join #YesAllWomen Against #SomeMen

DrDigipol
Alan Rosenblatt Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, turner4D

Posted on June 4th 2014

Social Advocacy & Politics: #AllMen Must Join #YesAllWomen Against #SomeMen

social media politics twitter campaign and activism

It may be true that #NotAllMen are responsible for women living in fear, but #YesAllWomen have to be worried, regardless, because of #SomeMen. So I say that #AllMen must join #AllWomen against #SomeMen to help women to stop living in fear.

Now before you get all upset about the mathematics of my opening—#SomeMen are part of #AllMen, so how can they be against themselves?—think of this as an ideal to strive towards. If we are successful getting all those “some men” to change their behavior towards women, then all men will ultimately be on the same side as all women and women can learn to let their guards down.

But we are a long way from that because the men that are a threat to women have a deep seeded cultural and behavioral commitment to the wrong set of values. And it takes incredibly hard work to change deep-seeded values like these.

The #YesAllWomen hashtag explosion is one part of what must be a multi-pronged effort to shift cultural norms. Unlike the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag campaign, which has a discrete, immediate goal of getting a current issue resolved, #YesAllWomen is the tip of a campaign iceberg that will need to be deep and ongoing to create the kind of change that is needed. Where #BringBackOurGirls has a concrete goal of rescuing the kidnapped girls in Nigeria in mind, #YesAllWomen is about changing the fabric of many cultures across the world.

The #YesAllWomen hashtag campaign has picked up where Zerlina Maxwell’s #RapeCultureIsWhen campaign (in response to this Time article) left off and reinvigorated our oft-repeated conversation about the need to remove fear from the hearts of women. But, unlike the policy campaigns that surrounded the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (#VAWA), which never had an organic viral explosion during the Congressional debates a couple years ago, or the Paycheck Fairness Act campaigns that emerge every April as #EqualPay Day approaches, #YesAllWomen has become a cultural meme. It has captured the imagination of millions on Twitter who continue to tweet about it and read the tweets of others (dwarfing the number of tweets using #NotAllMen).

Unlike #VAWA and #EqualPay, #YesAllWomen not only energizes women and supporting men, but it has brought out the detractors on the other side. Glenn Beck, for example, called the campaign “a good old fashioned male-bashing” on his radio show. And while “NotAllGlennBecks are insensitive jerks, comments like this clearly demonstrate that he does not understand the message of the campaign. He does not seem to fully appreciate the realities of being a woman in a society, where too many men who would rather make women feel uncomfortable for not being interested in their advances, even forcing their way on a woman in too many instances, set a tone that has come to underpin the social relationships between the sexes.

Fortunately, as comments like those of Glenn Beck emerge, social media shines a light on their cruelty and helps to discredit the voices conveying them.

And now, after a week of #YesAllWomen tweets and numerous stories in the mainstream media, the hashtag is still going strong. The conversation started by the hashtag shows little or no sign of abating. As I said above, this is by no means the first time this conversation has arisen at the national or even international levels, but this time does seem to have more of a viral nature to it.

And it is the viral nature of the #YesAllWomen hashtag conversation that gives me hope. The more mainstream the conversation about the constant fear, the constant disrespect women face from some men, the more likely the rest of us men will join together with women to change the behavior of #SomeMen. As Twitter and other social media lift our voices in an ever-growing chorus, the possibility of shifting cultural norms and reducing the fear of #AllWomen grows. This hashtag campaign is a giant set of spotlights shining on a problem we must overcome. We just have to keep it on and shine it into every dark corner.

DrDigipol

Alan Rosenblatt

Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, turner4D

Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D. is a social media and online advocacy strategist, professor & thought leader. He is Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy at turner 4D (formerly Turner Strategies), the co-founder and host of the Internet Advocacy Roundtable; and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, American, (Georgetown and Gonzaga Universities), where he teaches courses on internet politics. He was Associate Director for Online Advocacy at the Center for American Progress/CAP Action Fund from 2007-2013, where he created and directed the Center’s social media program, as well as Ombudsmen and co-founder at Take Action News. Alan taught the world’s first internet politics course ever at George Mason University in 1995. He founded the Internet Advocacy Roundtable in 2005; blogs at SocialMediaToday.com, Connectivity.CQRollCall.com, DrDigipol.Tumblr.com and occasionally/previously at BigThink.com, HuffingtonPost.com, techPresident.com; serves on E-Democracy.org’s board of directors and Social Media Today’s Advisory Board; In 2008, he was a fellow at George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet; and is a co-founder of  MediaBureau.com.  Alan has a Ph.D. in Political Science from American University, an M.A. in Political Science from Boston College and a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Tufts University. Find him on Twitter and across social media at @DrDigiPol.

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Comments

Robin Carey
Posted on June 5th 2014 at 6:02PM

Alan, thanks for your opinions on this.  Who, in general, "wins" in the hash-tag wars, in your opinion? and is hash-tag advocacy here to stay?  as well as hash-tag journalism?

 

 

DrDigipol
Posted on June 6th 2014 at 9:45PM

Hashtags are the de facto way to aggregate conversations and fashion groups on Twitter. People were using them BEFORE Twitter made the hyperlinked. In fact Twitter made link linked to search queries because people were using them that way. So I think that as long as people are using Twitter, they will be here to stay... even if Twitter tries to do away with them.

As for hashtag advocacy, advocacy efforts, whether organized or spontaneous grassroots born, always seek to aggregate voices. Hashtags are a great way to gather many voices into a single choir (albeit with many parallel parts). So hashtag advocacy will continue to be a part of the mix of social advocacy.

Rather than think of this in terms of hashtags, think of it in terms of a community of people coming together around a common message in the hopes of transcending into a movement. That is what hashtag activism is really about. Hashtags are a tool to do that.


People like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who seek to shepherd public opinion (even bully it) into the direction of their own choosing rally against hashtag advocacy, not because it doesnt work, but because it creates a ground-up counter voice to theirs. Hashtag activism is a threat to fear-mongering radio tlk show hosts.

DrDigipol
Posted on June 6th 2014 at 9:48PM

Hashtag journalism can be construed several ways. I think of it in terms of journalists integrating their stories into ongoing social media conversations. When promoting a story, journalist should use hashtags to share it with audiences likely to be interested in it. When deciding what to write, one way to discover stories worth writing is to see what hashtags are trending. When covering an industry, issue or sector, journalists should monitor the hashtags of those communities to what they are talking about and what stories are moving them.