What is it about?
For those who have access to them, social and digital media provide unparalleled opportunities for crossing borders of all kinds, allowing advocates for women’s rights to organize around, through, and despite national and cultural divides. In Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan’s useful and insightful definition of transnational feminism, it is through these very practices of border crossing—including interactions facilitated via digital and social media—that unequal power relations within and between feminisms are revealed (2000, 73). In this essay I turn my attention to the specificities of this struggle in relation to campaigns addressing Violence Against Women, as illustrated by a recent Kenyan campaign called #JusticeforLiz.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Why is it important?
In transnational interactions between African women’s rights activists and Westerners, the white (feminist) saviour complex threatens to undermine the project of cultivating solidarity. Social media campaigns addressing Violence Against Women in Africa can unwittingly play into this dynamic, even as they also facilitate connections that can challenge and resist such representations. Given that #JusticeforLiz could not challenge the white (feminist) saviour complex or the dominant discourse about Africa, it serves as a reminder that “ . . . there IS NO SUCH THING as a feminism free of asymmetrical power relations” (Grewal and Kaplan 2000, 4).
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This page is a summary of: #JusticeforLiz: Power and Privilege in Digital Transnational Women's Rights Activism, Feminist Media Studies, February 2015, Taylor & Francis,
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