When the feminist movement started, women engaged in intense discussion and sought to abandon social norms, earn respect and gain political rights. Today, the movement has transformed to include physical liberation and women are finding new ways of breaking from patriarchal standards.
The modern-day feminist movement is gaining traction on social media and women are seeking sexual revolution through discussion, exploration and critical thinking.
The confidence and control women demanded over their bodies heavily affected the role of women in society and their ability to speak up for themselves. In the early fight for women’s rights, things like the right to choose and to use contraceptives like birth control allowed women to practice the same sexual freedom as men.
With the increased access to Planned Parenthood and other health clinics, women gained a voice and resources to deal with their sexual lives freely.
Women everywhere are now able to easily consume information from other women and professionals about their experiences, bodies, sexuality and thinking. With various social media apps like Reddit, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Youtube or Twitch, there’s a special community for everyone.
Argie Poulias, a psychotherapist and life coach in Florida, believes that the internet allows the conversation about sex to be less taboo.
“Young people have grown up really confused about the role of sex and feel like they have fit in with what society tells them about sex,” she said. “There are things like religious views and misogynistic views that make sexuality for women portrayed as a bad, shameful thing, that frankly men don’t have to deal with. I think healthy sexuality and getting comfortable with it is very important.”
Noella Williams, a graduating senior at Florida A&M University, agrees that the internet has heavily influenced the way she approaches discussions and understandings of her sexuality and identity.
“Social media encouraged me to feel open to having discussions revolving [around] my sexuality and gender identity,” Williams said. “For example, my TikTok algorithm tends to place Black and queer creators onto my FYP that are creating content that revolves around conversations about queer identity, sexual liberation and navigating your sexuality.”
Most research on the huge impact of social media on feminism and sexual liberation has not been updated since the increase of online interaction from the pandemic, flourishing digital content industries, and the progression of apps and their marketing.
In a seemingly everlasting fight to dismantle the patriarchy and its effects, women use social media to further connect and expand their reach to get tangible results. This can be seen through the fragmented success of the #MeToo movement, which employed noticeable hashtags to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Women are also unlocking their full potential within the digital age by finding things like natural products to help with ailments, recommending herbal and sustainable women-owned period products and showing clever life hacks that make life a little less hard.
For 18-year-old Xiah Bryant, internet use is meant to cultivate her growth as a young woman.
“Social media has broadened my perspective on sexuality for sure,” Bryant said. “Becoming more educated has definitely allowed me to be more confident in myself and value my own experience versus looking at it as an expectation.”
There are also creators engaging in discussion of politics, feminism and exploring sexuality through explanatory videos and thoughtful podcasts.
TikTok user @therealasheraha, a Black transgender creator from the UK, explains her experience with some cis-women silencing trans-women and their challenges by labeling them as misogynistic since their biological sex is male.
“As a passing trans woman you are already seen as violent and when you add the intersectionality of Blackness, it already makes us a target for people within our own community and everyone else, because of racism, transphobia, sexism,” said Asherah in the video.
Although there are some clear failures within the feminist movement, there is increasingly more room for women of all types on social media. The ability for anyone to pick up their phone and share their story creates an infinite possibility of content online.
The intensity of social media and the internet creates a path for women to break glass ceilings and defy misogynistic standards of the past, allowing their voices to continue to be amplified across the world as our journeys continue.