At a time when social media and blogs have become an essential venue for women activists, Michelle Goldberg’s column “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars” has set up a debate. In her subtitle, she wrote, “Empowered by social media, feminists are calling one another out for ideological offenses. Is it good for the movement? And whose movement is it?”
Goldberg conducted an analysis on “#Femfuture: Online Revolution,” a report by online activists, Courtney Martin and Vanessa Valenti. She argued that although the Internet has bolstered the voices of women of color and other marginalized groups, many of the most avid digital feminists would say that it has become toxic, especially for those who have different ideas.
There were many different responses. A commentator at the Bitch Media wrote, “My own belief is that Twitter and other social media do away with the gatekeepers of media, creating a platform where people whose voices are often left out of the discussion can be heard loud and clear. The truly toxic era for feminism was one in which only middle-class voices were heard.”
“All movements, sparked in response to a particular need or moment, must adapt and grow with the times. Online feminism’s growing pains have all the ingredients needed to harness lessons learned and develop into a new, more empathetic and respectful feminist practice,” wrote Aspen Baker, Exhale’s co-founder.
While many different voices are being heard under the hashtag of ‘#LessToxicFeminism,’ the U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) plans to invite Michelle Goldberg and other online women activists over its talk shows.