A response to "The age of the feminist influencer"

Social media feminist influencers play an important role in reminding us offline and institutionalised feminists that the "who" in feminist movement building matters less than the "how".

If there is something that we all have to admit, it is the fact that we have always had influencers. Less than 10 years ago we had political, ideological and yes, feminist influencers who too had followers; on listservs and mailing lists and academic journals where their ideas held what they thought were the building blocks of an African feminist movement. There has always been a handful of African feminists that form and influence what other feminists think and feel about the shape-shifting nature of our contexts and movements.

Often, if not always, these few feminists and activists were located within influential organisations and institutions that then in turn magnified their influence or vice versa. What these iterations of influence then did, was (whether deliberately or not) create a gate-keeping mechanism, that left out a lot of younger activists and feminists, as well as people that worked outside institutions and organisations. Proximity to an influential feminist or an organisation affiliated with said feminist(s), made all the difference in determining who did and who did not have access to what spaces and resources. These influencers were referred to as "leaders" back then, but the critical premise still holds true.

Continue reading at GenderIT.org.

Image: Dominoes falling, by Mark Bonica under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

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