Images on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter that are the most entertaining are loaded with memetic power because their value is based on cultural attitudes that already constitute our lives in the everyday. Focusing on memes appropriating the artwork from Nicki Minaj’s single, Anaconda, I explore how popular memetic culture is fueled by Black women’s creativity yet positions Black women’s bodies as the fodder for potent viral images on social media platforms and in everyday experiences; Black girlhoods, at this level of representation and in lived experiences, are rarely awarded the distinction from womanhood that many other girlhoods enjoy. Thus, Black feminist discourses of desire which speak to both girlhoods and womanhoods inform my argument that social media has become a site of reproduction and consumption—a technological auction block where Black women’s bodies, aesthetics, and experiences are vilified for viral enjoyment.
Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, Instagram Reproductions, and Viral Memetic Violence
Aria S. Halliday
Weaknesses in Corporate and Law Enforcement Responses to Cyberviolence against Girls
Suzanne Dunn, Julie S. Lalonde and Jane Bailey
Girls do not need merely to be empowered with technological know-how in order to engage fully online. While girls use digital and social media for self-expression, activism, and identity experimentation, their engagement is too often interfered with by online gender policing and by being attacked for daring to challenge conventional stereotypes. Reshaping the online environment in ways that address this discrimination meaningfully requires a multifaceted approach that includes transparent, responsive, and accessible redress through both social media platforms and, where necessary, law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, these institutions all too often fail to respond adequately when girls report acts of cyberviolence committed against them. This article illustrates this failure by drawing on lessons learned from coauthor Julie S. Lalonde’s experiences in advocating online for gender equality. It also raises the troubling concern of law enforcement deference to corporate terms of service rather than to Canadian law.
The technological revolution that began with the Arpanet in the late Sixties has changed the world we live in. The Internet and social media have improved our lives considerably, but the changes came in with a high-price tag attached: our freedom. We now live in a world in which technology has exponentially expanded the power of the State to keep tabs on its citizens (within and across borders). If we continue on this path, democracy as we know it is doomed. Yet the future is not as grey as it might look at first sight. The ubiquity of social media and smartphones and the increasing relevance of the Internet in everyday life have also drastically changed the impact-power of citizens in technologically advanced societies. Understanding these changes is to understand which shape democracy will take in the future.
In this article I will discuss the human body, both physical and social, as an instrument of political and aesthetic power and will analyze the processes of its social construction, starting with the notion of Corpus Mysticum Christi as the metaphoric organizational structure of consensus to power. From the Low Middle Ages to the present day, we will observe how the treatment of the body has evolved and how present-day show business and politics make use of charisma, from typically conceived 'concentrated stardom' to a conception of 'diffused stardom'. Both models are given aesthetic significance and rhetorical amplification, thus resulting in images of power and a means of social control. The conclusion of the article examines how power relations are currently being affected in a social environment that is highly influenced by the media and how, no matter which era is being discussed, the existence of the social body still depends on the physical body.
An Interview with Pauline Pantsdown (AKA Simon Hunt)
Ben Hightower, Scott East and Simon Hunt
There is often a division between scholarly publication and activist knowledge—something that Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer (2005) suggest may be countered by taking the knowledge produced by activists seriously. In this interview, Simon Hunt reflects on the genesis of Pauline Pantsdown, a drag persona that he developed in the late 1990s in reaction to Australian Conservative politician Pauline Hanson, who generated controversy for her racist and divisive views. The introduction briefly considers the importance of activist accounts and contextualizes Hunt’s practice in relation to arts activism and networked societies. From there, Hunt discusses a range of significant considerations for activism, notably the significance of using persona as a means for activism, the affordances and challenges of using social media, and methods for activating participation in a changing media landscape.
Kinship, State and Social Media Conflict in Networked Jordan
Geoffrey Fitzgibbon Hughes
The local uptake of new media in the Middle East is shaped by deep histories of imperialism, state building, resistance and accommodation. In contemporary Jordan, social media is simultaneously encouraging identification with tribes and undermining their gerontocratic power structures. Senior men stress their own importance as guarantors (‘faces’), who restore order following conflicts, promising to pay their rivals a large surety if their kin break the truce. Yet, ‘cutting the face’ (breaking truces) remains an alternative, one often facilitated by new technologies that allow people to challenge pre-existing structures of communication and authority. However, the experiences of journalists and other social media mavens suggest that the liberatory promise of the new technology may not be enough to prevent its reintegration into older patterns of social control.
Teenage Girls’ Forays into Digital and School-Based Feminisms
Crystal Kim and Jessica Ringrose
In this article, we discuss a case study of a feminist society in a girls’ secondary school in England, highlighting how teenage girls use social media to combat sexism. Considering the recent growth of feminist societies in UK schools, there is still a lack of research documenting how young feminists use social media’s feminist content and connections. Addressing this gap, we draw on interviews and social media analyses to examine how girls navigate feminisms online and in school. Despite their multifaceted use of social media, the girls in our research undervalued digital feminism as valid or valued, in large part because of dismissive teacher and peer responses. We conclude by suggesting that schools need to cultivate social media as a legitimate pedagogical space by developing informed adult support for youth engagement with social justice-oriented online content.
This article addresses the complex relationships between political discourses, demographic constellations, the affordances of new technologies, and linguistic practices in contemporary Germany. It focuses on political and personal responses to the increasingly multilingual nature of German society and the often-conflicting ways in which “the German language” figures in strategies promoting social integration and Germany's global position. In order to do this, the idea of “the German language” is contextualized in relation to both internal and external processes of contemporary social change. On the one hand, changes to the social order arising from the increasingly complex patterns of inward migration have led to conflicts between a persistent monolingual ideology and multilingual realities. On the other hand, changes in the global context and the explosive growth of new social media have resulted in both challenges and new opportunities for the German language in international communication. In this context, the article explores internal and external policy responses, for example, in relation to education and citizenship in Germany, and the embedding of German language campaigns in strategies promoting multilingualism; and impacts on individual linguistic practices and behaviors, such as the emergence of “multiethnolects” and online multilingualism.
Women Beauty Vloggers’ Self- Representations, Transformations, and #thepowerofmakeup
Women beauty vloggers, or video bloggers, produce YouTube self-representations as a means of considering cosmetics, their appearance, and cultural expectations about femininity. These vloggers developed “the power of makeup” videos and related social media texts in order to critique makeup shaming and attempts to limit women’s representations and aesthetic choices. Their incomplete cosmetic applications are connected to and rework reality television makeovers and feminist considerations of beauty. Feminist scholars, including Bordo and Bartky, suggest that makeovers direct women to pursue transformations into better selves and to follow beauty experts’ directions. In contrast to these forms of control, beauty vloggers have more authority over their practices. They use the term “transformation” to describe applications that are not focused on ideal looks or ever-improvable selves, and reform beauty culture around participants’ interests and artistry rather than male heterosexual expectations. These women’s practices of self-definition challenge mainstream conceptions of art, makeup, and femininity.
Amy Adele Hasinoff
Sexualization might seem like a sympathetic explanation for sexting because it positions girls as innocent victims of mass culture. However, there are problematic unintended consequences with understanding sexting, the practice of sharing personal sexual content via mobile phones or the internet, in this particular way. One troubling implication is that it provides a rationale for holding girls who sext criminally responsible for producing child pornography. A second is that when girls' acceptance of sexualization is positioned as a key social problem, the solution that emerges is that girls must raise their self-esteem and gain better media literacy skills. Despite the value of such skills, a focus on girls' deficiencies can divert attention from the perpetrators of gender- and sexuality-based violence. Finally, discourses about sexualization often erase girls' capacity for choice, relying instead on normative assumptions about healthy sexuality. Interrogating the pathologization of girls' apparent conformity to sexualization and mass culture highlights the complexity of agency.