Women and Social Movements: Research Question

I’m gearing up for a class on Women and Social Movements of the 20th Century U.S., and stressing over how little I have paid attention to women as a mass entity and Social Movements in general.

Friends have pointed out to me that I happen to be a woman, myself, (I knew that, btw,) and therefore ought to be well aware of this topic, but that’s completely my point.  I take people one at a time and don’t actually believe there is an entity of Women as a solid front, a single organized force or character.  There are too many variations on the theme, and simple genetics isn’t enough to create unity.  I fight enough with my brothers to know that.

I’m not even certain what the difference is between a Social Movement and a fad or fashion trend, in some ways.  Is a Social Movement necessarily a cause toward some ideal?  I’d welcome thoughts on what the definition might be.

I’ve always been geared toward taking people one at a time and rolling my eyes in impatience when I see generalizations — that “we” in statements like “We love our hamburgers in the US!” is particularly annoying, since I live in the US, but I don’t even like hamburgers, much less love them.  And statements like “We are fascinated with [celebrity]” actually anger me, since I’m again clumped in by default even though I have no idea who they’re talking (or writing) about most of the time.

This all must change for the next four months or so: I must embrace the collective and pretend that Women behave en masse like some sort of Hive mind (Ender reference) and then study this chimera.

So, here’s a research stab:  How many of you have a take on women and the Internet as a social medium rather than an information resource?  Do you find you encounter more (apparent) women in discussion boards, or social sites, or blog sites?  Any thoughts on that?

I am slowly awakening to the fact that I have made a lot more women friends through the internet than I ever did in the Real World.

And, is blogging a Social Movement?



  1. jojovtx1800 said,

    August 3, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    From a man’s point of view, I have far more women friends that I have met through the net. Look at the gathering week before last, I believe I may have been the lone male voice on the phone.

    Strong, opinionated women, with voices, and ideals.

    I don’t know if blogging as a whole is a social movement, more of a social trend. However- a blog could stir a social movement.
    It is a paradox.

  2. Pamela said,

    August 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    This might be useful: http://www.fipp.com/Default.aspx?PageIndex=2002&ItemId=14405 I read about this research in one of the blogs I follow but naturally cannot find that post, only this today.

  3. shadodottir said,

    August 7, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Jojo, I think networking online is a great equalizer for thoughts. Our appearances are all reduced to text on a screen — all at the same volume for text correspondence, too.

    I’ve been trying to decide if there is a social movement that involves the Internet, and MoveOn.org leaps to mind.

  4. shadodottir said,

    August 7, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Pamela, thank you for the link.

    I find it interesting that when we bring up women and their use of the Internet, we find ourselves discussing design and decoration of sites, of the dating networks, and overall nothing to do so much with content as usage. It’s as if that’s all we are looking for from the women.

    I’ve heard of quite a few instances where women deliberately presented themselves as either undefined or male, just to feel they were given a better shot at being heard and considered in discussions.

  5. pandemonic said,

    August 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I would definitely say that the internet in general is a social movement for me. However, I think my friend pool is rather limited, so I don’t like to call it a “movement.” It’s more like a ripple.

    I’m with JoJo. I’ve made more friends online than anywhere else. Weird, isn’t it?

  6. tigereye said,

    August 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I think it’s notable how many sites are touted or advertised as “women’s sites” — there was iVillage, if it’s still there, and there are at least two mom-centric places, and feministing.com, and Jezebel. Most other social sites are either terribly general — MySpace, Facebook, (ick) Gather — or even more specific, like writers’ sites, comic-book-fan sites… Sorry, it’s been a long tough day or I could think of more. But that’s always interested me.

    I find it a lot easier to make friends online, too. I’m much more standoffish in person. Having met a batch of internet friends, too, I was surprised at how comfortable I was with them right away, hanging out with my hair wrapped in a towel and no makeup on. My other friends don’t get that possibly harrowing experience ’til I’ve known them a while.

  7. Sassquatch said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:53 am

    I’ve never considered technology and its use to be a social movement. Just like when the old telephone party lines existed, people are still exhibiting the same bits of human nature as they did then, except now using the Internet.

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