When is a good time to engage in a feminist law reform issue online?

>> When a decision-maker is proposing something that will advance women’s equality rights and you want to voice your support.

>> When a decision maker is not as well-informed as you on a particular issue (even if they think they are), they hold the power to potentially change the policy, benefiting you and your community. This is especially true when there are two opposing views on the table and the decision maker has not yet made up their mind.

>> A bill has been tabled to make changes to an existing law or enact a new law. You are happy (or frustrated) with the proposed amendments or new law and think they will not be in favour of women’s equality rights. Tweet at your allies to see how they are feeling. Perhaps you can unite together to form a coalition to advocate on the issue. Tweet your opposition to the proposals.

>> An elected official has announced a policy change that your feel is not reflective of women’s lived experience and realities. Tweet at them to share your perspective on what needs to be different or stay the same. And then maybe write a letter!

>> You just heard that a women’s group or equality rights initiative that you think is much needed got defunded. Write a letter to Minister that made the decision to let them know that you don’t think that is where funds should be cut. And tweet at them to let them know it is in the mail.

>> In either your job or personal life, you keep coming up against a law that doesn’t seem to make sense based on your experience. Tag other people or organizations on social media who you think might share your experience. You’re likely not alone!

When is it NOT a good time to engage in a feminist law reform issue online?

>> Has it been a long week? Rest. You don’t always have to smash the patriarchy.

>> How passionate are you about the issue? Save your energy for the issues that you are most passionate about.

>> Is the person acknowledging and responding to your points? Don’t waste your time speaking to a wall.

> Are they always arguing online? They’re likely a troll. Bye bye.
> Do they keep repeating the same thing over and over? Save your wisdom for an audience willing to engage in a more constructive conversation.

>> Are they name-calling, being sarcastic or using slurs? Stop! Never feel you have to subject yourself to abuse.

 

Have you been debating for over an hour? Say what you need to move forward and then move on and do something else.

What to do when using social media for your feminist advocacy and activism

  • Be yourself.Be authentic. Be you.
  • Post about a women’s equality rights issue that you’re passionate about—or is the focal point of your organization’s work.
  • Share your personal story or experience related to the issue if you feel comfortable.
  • Pick one or two areas of women’s equality rights to focus the content you share.
  • Build online relationships in the feminist movement with people you respect.
  • Speak clearly, honestly, concisely. This includes making sure your language is accessible—for instance, making sure your hashtags use capital letters.
  • Recognize the moments to listen and amplify voices as an ally—rather than speak as an advocate.

What not to do when using social media for your feminist advocacy and activism

  • Put on a façade to seem more knowledgeable about a certain issue.
  • Post overly personal content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t share your story or experience.
  • Post about every social justice issue. You can’t take them all on.
  • Constantly argue with trolls.
  • Be sarcastic, exaggerate or ramble.
  • Have an opinion on every issue or comment about things outside of your wheelhouse.
  • Don’t share online on behalf of the organization or group without seeking the appropriate approvals and consensus.

Cyber Self-Care for Women’s Equality Rights Advocates

A few tips on how to deal with Facebook fatigue, Twitter temper tantrums and Instagram insecurities.

  • Don’t engage with hurtful people.
  • Take social media breaks. If social media is part of your job for an organization, keep the apps on your desktop and off your phone if you can—unless you just fired off a big press release!
  • Focus on the good comments. It can be easy to feel that the movement is regressing—but don’t lose sight of the work and people that are helping move it forward.
  • Listen to your body. Engage when you feel up to it.
  • Seek support from friends, allies or coworkers (online or offline)
  • Make some rules for yourself on how you’d like to engage — this could also be developing a social media policy for your organization so you are all on the same page about your digital strategy.