The #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag seemed to strike a nerve with the Twitter users who heaped scorn and harassment on women who shared their stories.
A recent Washington Post article put fault for abuse squarely on the shoulders of “women in unhealthy, unsafe relationships [who] often lack the power to demand marriage,” as if the only thing standing between a belt and a bruised baby is a woman who didn’t ask for a ring hard enough.
Twitter has come under fire from mainstream journalists and institutional gatekeepers, derided as “toxic” and a “poisonous well.” But this opposition to Twitter—to its strengths as a democratizing platform—is as old as media itself.
Culture change is distinct from policy change and health-care access, but it’s just as important. It’s difficult to imagine long-term policy gains without doing the hard work to change norms, beliefs, and behavior.
Spaces for Change, a human rights advocacy group in Nigeria, recently organized a citizens’ forum titled #BeyondTheHashtags “to generate a data bank of [citizens’] concerns” about the abduction of hundreds of the nation’s girls as well as the “rising insurgency in the northern part of the country.”
Because of an article I wrote about my abortion story,
people I’ve never met requested that I kill myself, get raped, die in childbirth, and be sterilized. But I also received love and support from friends and allies, and I’d love to see a whole movement emerge telling people who share their abortion stories: #YouAreLoved.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, following a filibuster led by Sen. Scott Sifton (D-St. Louis) that had stalled the legislature for only a few hours, the Missouri Senate passed a bill to extend the waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion from 24 to 72 hours.
If any of the bills passed, Missouri would join Utah and South Dakota as the only states with 72-hour waiting periods.
While the hashtag shined a light on how ableism is a systemic issue in all political and societal respects, it also revealed something that has long been known by some, but that has been unrecognized by others: that feminism has an ableism problem.
Like a lot of others, I was a “fast-tailed girl” before I really understood what those words meant.