2015 Undergraduate Awards

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Can a simple hashtag constitute a social movement? The answer is a resounding yes. Using the definition of a social movement proposed in the Blackwell Companion to Social Movements as a framework, this paper illustrates that #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is a perfect example of how social media and social movements have intersected to inspire profound change. Created by blogger and black feminist scholar Mikki Kendall, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen highlighted the justified resentment that many black feminists have against the white liberal feminist movement. This paper contends that Kendall’s hashtag activism satisfies the fundamental characteristics of a social movement, because it was a coordinated, collective, and sustained attempt by marginalized voices outside of institutional channels to challenge the dominant paradigm: the practices of white liberal feminists. This paper also argues that #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen enabled black feminists to reclaim their intellectual traditions and advance black feminist thought by highlighting its expression among women who are not commonly perceived as intellectuals and who operate in alternative institutional settings.


Image from Michael Coghlan, under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.