Television was the most prominent source of visual media until the advent of computers, and furthermore, the Internet. Social media has certainly opened the floodgates on transparency in universal movements and matters; most specifically, women’s rights. The abuse and degradation of opportunities available to women have, fortunately, decreased over time. Due to the representation of positive role models, anti-rape and sexual harassment movements, and celebrities/politicians willing to fight for women’s rights all over social media, women now have more opportunities than ever. Fresher, more accepting and sympathetic generations of people, cultivated through the interactive lens of social media sites like Twitter, have opened the way for increased representation and equality.
According to Twitter itself, this year of 2019, it is meant as a vehicle to express, “what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.” (Twitter) Twitter has always been a website in which people could express their thoughts in short, interactive blurbs (initially 140 characters or less, now 250) that can be liked or retweeted by one’s followers and others who use the website.
According to the authors of How the World Changed Social Media, people started expressing their political opinions in favor of the current government. They had been without an outlet for so long – forced to intake for years and years by watching television and reading newspapers – that the interactive quality of social media drew free speech enthusiasts to it like moths to a flame. That being said, social media garners the same type and amount of people that politics without social media used to (Miller, et al). Their opinions are simply far more accessible to the world, able to be seen by everyone rather than heard in conversation.
With that in mind, it is important to also focus on the women’s rights movements that have been established recently. The #TimesUp movement is perhaps the most popular, having been founded in 2017. Social media has played a huge role in this movement’s popularity. Its name itself, “Hashtag Times Up,” is self-professing commentary on its establishment via the Internet, as hashtags are metadata tags often used on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
There is a major difference between the subtle rhetoric of women’s rights via media in the 60s and now. To start, there is nothing subtle about the ways people are supporting #TimesUp. Celebrities at red carpet events showcase pins and even temporary tattoos that broadcast the movement by name. These same celebrities wear back to support women who have been wronged in the entertainment industry, as well as all over the world, are not afraid to speak openly about it. In fact, during the Golden Globe season of 2018, when Oprah gave her breathtaking speech that featured the movement, Twitter users tweeted about #TimesUp roughly 470,000 times (Richards).