Today is the second installment of this weeks ‘International Women’s Week’ series and I have decided, rather than look at the history of feminist issues as I did before, to look at the future and the incredible inspirational youth of today. My main focus is how the use of social media is providing a platform for so many young people to become engaged and discuss massively important issues.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the name Alexis Isabel Moncada (perhaps better known by her twitter handle @lexi4prez), I can guarantee that you soon will. Alexis is a teen activist and is the founder of the successful ‘Feminist Culture’ twitter and blog. Her site provides young people with a platform where they can discuss issues on, not just gender equality, but also issues regarding race, sexuality and other global issues. At such a young age, Alexis has taught young people and adults alike, so much about feminist issues and why, although we have come so far, we still have so far still to go.
For me, this engagement and enthusiasm is so admirable and demonstrates how young people all over the world shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to these types of issues because they really do have some very important things to say. Her article in MTV News addresses just this. ‘Dear Presidential Candidates, My Generation Is Ready For You. Are You Ready For Us?’, discussing how, the stereotype of teenagers being attached to their phones and completely passive when it comes to politics, is not only unfair but is blatantly wrong. Technology and the use of social media, if anything, has opened up a forum where teenagers can engage in political discussion and find likeminded people. If anyone has demonstrated the positive impact that social media can have in terms of this, Alexis is the girl. Through her blog and twitter she has been able to highlight issues that, if not, may have been brushed under the carpet.
There are many other young women and men who, just like Alexis have made the most of social media and demonstrated a passion and awareness in current affairs. As a backlash against the negative portrayal of Ed Miliband in the media, during the general election campaigns, teenager Abby Tomlinson (@twcuddleston) created the #Milifandom on twitter which led to a storm of support and highlights the innovation and commitment of the youth of today. Abby has gone to write for The Guardian and Huffington Post UK and has stayed an active presence on social media, discussing politics and helping to teach other young people. She has also set up a YouTube account interviewing politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham.
When I consider what these young people, and many others like them worldwide are doing, it highlights to me just how far we have come since the times I wrote about to begin the International Women’s Series. When used correctly, the internet and social media can provide us with fantastic opportunity to engage in debate, learn and make sure people are held accountable if necessary. Social media has provided me with so many opportunities to get my voice heard and has educated me on views that I otherwise would have been ignorant towards. I am in awe of the dedicaion, bravery and intelligence these young activists show, recognising massively important issues. Although we still have a long way to go in terms of equality, not just gender equality, with young people like the two I have mentioned, I am extremely optimistic for our future.
Jamie Lee Jenkins (@JenkinsLeeJamie)