How social media platforms like Tiktok and Twitter are used to spread the anti-feminist movement
In recent years, social media has been widely used as a tool to advance social movements, including gender rights. Feminists have addressed social problems such as sexual assault trauma, sexual harassment, domestic violence, the gender gap & the pay gap between men and women, eating disorders and body image, sexual and reproductive rights, honour crimes and female genital mutilation with social media.
The internet has been a platform for women to share their experiences and connect with others who are also seeking to address the problems women face in a patriarchal society.
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become central points for the mobilisation of these groups, providing them with an opportunity to exchange information and be safe spaces of support for each other. These digital platforms have also allowed activists to organise protests against rape culture, workplace discrimination and harassment, and other forms of violence against women.
These media platforms provide an excellent platform for people to share their experiences and connect on issues that matter to them.
Recently, these platforms, especially Tiktok and Twitter, have been used to spread the anti-feminist movement. It has also allowed people with opposing views to communicate with others about how feminism has forced women into victimhood.
In a viral TikTok, user Jennifer Mock (@jlmock4.0) poses as a woman from the 1950s who meets up with a woman from 2022. The characters catch up and talk about the considerable setback they believe feminism has caused in the homes and workplace and what they believe feminity to be. They mock modern life, women’s freedom to choose their own lives, dating apps, birth control, abortions, the single woman’s choice to have cats instead of kids, their choice to work, and the supposed inability of women to submit to a man and take care of the home. This is what anti-feminism looks like.
In an earlier article by Document Women, the taunting of women's modern-day rights is followed by the phrase "soft life", where the woman relies entirely on a man for financial sustenance. As though it was a beneficial arrangement.
Anti-feminism is known as the opposition to some or all forms of feminism. The anti-feminist movement is not new. Female anti-feminism is also not new. In the 20th century, antifeminists often opposed the abortion-rights movement and, in the United States, the Equal Rights Amendment.
In the early 2000s, the anti-feminist movement became social media-savvy, an online messaging campaign that has continued to this day. The movement has spread across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Their goal has always been to convince young people, especially women, that feminism is not just about equal rights for women; instead, it is a form of political correctness that forces women into victimhood. It also seeks to discredit the idea of "gender equality" to describe what feminists are fighting for.
However, Jennifer Mock isn’t the first openly loud Tiktoker that believes that women need to go back to the olden days when women wouldn’t dare to have an opinion - opposing or supporting -. More women, also known as ‘traditional feminists’ and ‘traditional wives’ are criticising feminism for making women gain fundamental human rights when they should have been given a chance to continue with the arduous task of caring for their men and children. This idea makes me shudder.
Here are some of the comments that women left on the viral videos about going back to the 50s and being a tradfem or tradwife:
“Whoever ruined our lives by saying we should no longer stay at home while our husbands do all the work should get beat.”
“I wish… I feel like kids are suffering in this generation Bc no one is home.”
“Yup. I missed out on SO much as a kid bc my mom worked full-time. When I finally saw her, she was in a bad mood. It really inspired me to do different.”
A good number of antifeminists believe that their philosophy is a reaction against one based on hatred toward males. They hold that feminism is to blame for a number of societal issues, such as young men entering college at a lesser rate, suicide rates that fluctuate depending on gender, and a perceived fall in manliness in the world.
Anti-feminists do not believe in the need to bridge the gender and wage gap between women and men in the workforce. Anti-feminists believe that women's inability to support themselves financially is a result of feminism. They believe that feminism is the reason women now hold multiple jobs while doing the unpaid labour of taking care of the home. Except, it isn’t. It is capitalism. Feminism is not the reason why women continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of childcare responsibilities while holding down jobs. Blame patriarchy!
The other issue is the presence of bots and trolls. These are a challenge, as they have a heavy online presence and can be used to disseminate content that can include false claims.
A bot is a program designed to perform automated tasks on the internet without human interaction.
Trolls are people who deliberately post provocative messages to get a rise out of others. Trolls often act in ways that go against what they believe in because they enjoy offending people. On social media, trolls and bots have a significant yet frequently ignored impact. They are used to sway discussions for either political or economic purposes. They give tiny, covert groups of people the ability to disseminate information on a considerable scale that supports their agenda.
The virtual world also opens up the possibility for others to engage in harassment and bullying. In addition to this, some people may try to use their online presence to cause harm or distress to others. More bots and trolls have risen to spread the anti-feminist agenda on social media. Instead of apps like Twitter and Instagram to regulate this misinformation, the topics are being suggested to more users.
Social media can be a great source of information. It can also be used to spread lies, and with the increase and flow of information, it is becoming increasingly hard to know what is real or not. This is also known as information pollution, which can be separated into misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation.
Information pollution is a never-ending cycle due to the massive array of potentially false information and the people that distribute and interpret it. Once a false message is broadcast, it is simple to spread and be picked up by news reports and publications, which are then cited again in social media posts. This is why social media apps need to have more strict policies in place to prevent the spread of misinformation.