Embodiment, emotions and collective struggle: hashtag feminism as digital consciousness-raising in Brazil

Loureiro, Gabriela (2021) Embodiment, emotions and collective struggle: hashtag feminism as digital consciousness-raising in Brazil. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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This thesis looks at the emotional work of online disclosure in digital feminist campaigns by focusing on two hashtags that went viral in Brazil in 2015, named “the year of Women’s Spring”. Through discourse analysis of #FirstHarassment and #MySecretFriend posts and in-depth interviews with participants, I explore the role of emotions for feminist projects on three main axes: recognition of discrimination and abuse, speaking out and building solidarity. The hashtags are interpreted as digital forms of consciousness-raising that were able to generate discussions in creative ways – mainly the embodiment of emotions to raise awareness about gendered violence and the use of irony and the pleasures of revenge to seek accountability in informal and non-punitive ways.
These digital campaigns also replicate challenges and problems historically present in feminist activism, such as conflicts of difference and biased “solidarities”. The reproduction of such problems demonstrates how hashtag feminism is not necessarily a frivolous, depoliticised form of activism but actually mirrors a number of intersecting and conflicting histories of feminisms’ radicalness and co-option. These reflections allow us to think about what inequalities are left unchallenged in the name of achieving broad-based feminist momentum online. Drawing on an intersectional framework for building coalitional politics, I argue for the importance of repurposing social media to pluralize feminist solidarity based on principles of difference instead of sameness.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: feminism; hashtag activism; Brazil, intersectionality; digital media
Subjects: Media
Social sciences > Politics
Social sciences > Communication and culture
Depositing User: Gabriela Loureiro
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2021 15:32
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2022 15:59
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/8512

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