“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…” ― Malala Yousafzai

I thought I would take some time to discuss a project that is dear to my heart as the semester begins to close, hoping to enhance my online presence and my online avatar, while also previewing one of the biggest causes that I support. As a women and gender studies minor we have an activism project that is to be completed in our required upper level class. My fellow partners and I chose the topic This is what a feminist looks like in response to articles that were written in our college’s newspaper. We also included two forms of social media with our project and referred to ourselves as #NDSUFeminist. I’m not sure if surprised is the best word, but our findings through the whole activism were interesting, and I think this blog is a great place to discuss some of them.

I think it is so cliche to begin but honestly, one of the only ways to educate on feminism is to start with a definition and a part of my activism was to educate so:

Simple Definition of feminism
: The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: Organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

Obviously, this is the bare bones of feminism and it goes so much further (to find more check our some awesome feminists: Laci Green, Jennifer Baumgardner, Jessica Valenti, John Marcotte )

We hit many speed bumps within this project, but we learned many lessons along the way about editorial writing and social media, especially social media for a cause, which I think relates a lot to the type of social media that nonprofits dabble in. One of the hardest things I faced personally was reacting to the negative. Reading comments online against what we were saying, some attacking, and some going point by point with us on issues, was both frustrating and liberating to know that we had just as much praise and support as we did criticism. As an organization it must be difficult to have people in opposition and I can’t imagine taking a stand against something that is a hot button issue, like Planned Parenthood, and understanding that reacting, especially against the negative, will only contaminate their own cause.

I think one of the biggest things we learned was that no matter how sound your cause or how sound your reasoning there will always be opposition; someone will always be against what you are saying. When talking about something as controversial as *gasp* the F word, so many stereotypes will arise and for how many times we’ve been called out for “hating men” is pretty incredulous. Activism is and has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, and standing when everyone around you is sitting can be very discouraging, but making a difference is what matters.

Thankfully, our activism had a happy ending. We educated people on what a feminist looks like, we were called out, and we received an apology. Studying social media throughout this semester has given me all of the necessary tools to be an activist and I promise it won’t stop here. I hope everyone can find something that they stand for, and I’ll say in advance if you oppose something that I support, let’s talk about it. As much as I love social media it is way too easy to hide behind it. Debating is my thing, so let’s talk. Nothing would make me happier.

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