11/9 Online Social Networks and Global Women’s Empowerment – Cherry

In Online Social Networks and Global Women’s Empowerment, Ineke Buskens argued gender equality and women empowerment on social media, especially on Facebook. Facebook hold promise for women regarding personal growth and social emancipation that physical spaces may do not offer.

The article mainly discussed the topic with Zambia’s example. Someone argued that Facebook sided with Zambia’s male hegemonic social order and “implicitly supported that order’s perspective that women should not have sexual agency”. Facebook along with other social networking sites always said that they want to contribute to making the “world more open and connected”, and if so, “they must be sensitive to how deeply male hegemony impacts online spaces, and how online sexism forms and informs offline lived realities”.

People engaged with online discussion, but some might be hostile to the change. Linda mentioned that she started a page in 2010 and would openly talk about sex, but some people found it offensive and reported that to Facebook, leading to a closing account. These pages did not violate Facebook’s community standards, but she feared them to be closed again, she started to create secrete groups instead. It is important to distinguish postings in terms of intent, and a gender-aware stance may even require changes in design of moderation policies and systems. To conclude with, “Facebook management mediates online disputes can have profound offline consequences for sexual and social emancipation”.

One thought on “11/9 Online Social Networks and Global Women’s Empowerment – Cherry

  1. Hi Cherry! Great blog post! I can’t wait to discuss this topic in class today. I think there is a very fine line between freedom of speech and things that can be discussed on social media and the Internet. As technology continues to advance I could see this issue becoming even more prominent.

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