The New Networked Feminism: Limbaugh’s Spectacular Social Media Defeat

Am I dreaming or is that an actual headline from a Tom Watson column on Forbes.com?

Here’s how it begins:

So much for post-feminism. The world of networked hurt that descended on the spiteful media enterprise that is Rush Limbaugh revealed a tenacious, super-wired coalition of active feminists prepared at a moment’s notice to blow the lid off sexist attacks or regressive health policy.

When I went to a Peggy Orenstein reading couple weeks ago, she said that never in her career has she seen an online community of feminist activists like there is now. She listed several victories: Komen backtracking on its policy to exclude Planned Parenthood from fundng, LEGO agreeing to meet with activist groups, and JC Penney taking its sexist T-shirts of the shelves.

I also think that the strong, negative internet/ media response also played a role in Penn State finally reacting to the sexual abuse that it had ignored for so long.

Feminist Kate Harding is quoted on Forbes:

When your brand’s Facebook wall is overtaken by feminist outrage, you can’t just write it off as a few man-hating cranks and continue on as usual.

This is just what happened when Reel Girl, Pigtail Pals, and others complained about a sexist ad from ChapStick. We complained on the company’s Facebook page and ChapStick deleted our comments when its own ad copy invited us to “be heard.” Several women took screen shots of their comments before their deletion, and I blogged about ChapStick’s removal of them on Reel Girl and SFGate. Jezebel picked up the story, then so did others including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. When ChapStick’s unethical behavior became known to so many, ChapStick apologized and removed the ad.

“Post-feminism” has always been a bullshit term. One of the most effective ways to keep women in their place is to claim that sexism doesn’t exist. Social media is making it harder to pull off that lie.

4 thoughts on “The New Networked Feminism: Limbaugh’s Spectacular Social Media Defeat

  1. I’d Be Happy Just To See Someone SLAP Rush Upside His Swollen-Noggin. Every Time He Opens His Mouth, It’s Always Something Sexist, Racist, or Just Plain STUPID. Drives Me Crazy To Know There Are People Who Think His Word Is Scripture. SHEESH, I Tell You! SHEESH INDEED!
    -BRAD

  2. Whoa wait a minute, let’s give this a bit more thought. A line’s being crossed.

    Feminism is all about — making sure the options available to the many, are decided by just a few? That some among us possess dictatorial powers over our evolving culture, and (certain targeted) others are to have no influence at all? It that the goal?

    If it is, then you’ve just defined feminism as something wholly incompatible with a free society.

      • Okay, fair point. But…we’re not taking a vote on whether or not Sandra Fluke is a slut. Each individual gets to decide that for him- or her-self.

        I perceive you have my strength, Margot, which is the same I demand out of anyone who is a mature adult: If my opinion is the right one and I’ve taken proper steps to ensure that it is, I don’t give a damn if I’m the only one who thinks so, or if everyone else agrees, or anything in between. Two and two make four. That, to me, is what feminism really needs to be about.

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