The Role of Social Media in the Feminist Discourse in Kenya
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of social media in the feminist discourse in Kenya. The objectives of this study were to explore the perceptions of feminism among Kenyans on social media; to establish the types of lenses used in the online coverage of feminism concerns; to examine the influence that social media depictions have had on the perception of feminism in Kenya; and to analyse the effectiveness of social media in fighting for the rights of women in the society. The researcher analysed various Twitter pages, images, tweets, retweets, and hashtags related to feminism in order to look into the various opinions, assumptions and varied interpretations of feminist ideas and agenda. The researcher collected secondary data through an analysis of feminism-related articles, books as well as social media comments on Twitter, which was the focus. Cyberfeminism theory was important to the study because it assisted the researcher to investigate the methods in which Kenyans use social media, in this case Twitter, to nurture the prevailing concepts of the feminist movement in the country. Data analysis was done by identifying and categorising user profiles, while at the same time assessing the contents of their Twitter profiles. Some of the key information include finding out their profession, sex, speciality, picture, link to any institution as well where they reside. Next was engagement measurements through number of followers, following, number of tweets, retweets etc. One of the key findings of the study was that most Kenyans perceive feminism from the perspective of girl-child protection and freedom of choice, which plays a key role in promoting the feminist discourse in Kenya. The study also found out that social media users in Kenya depict feminism as opportunity for acknowledging the general aspects of feminism that benefit them, while disregarding disadvantageous aspects of feminism. Furthermore, Kenyan feminists use Twitter to express their activism through empowerment, capacity building, education, freedom of expression, and seeking help. The researcher recommends that through the positive coverage of the feminist movements in social media, users can instil a positive frame for their discourses, which might translate into the audience being more receptive to the feminist agenda and its attendant issues. Furthermore, since Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) are a very active social media group in Africa, feminist movements can use the audience to further their courses. Due to the negative opinions surrounding feminism in the modern-day world, women should use the powerful influence of social media to advocate for their rights and fight patriarchy. The national government should also monitor the feminist discourse in social media to minimise the dissemination of provocative interpretations of feminist agenda that constantly occur in cyberspaces. In order to understand the perception of social media campaigns to women empowerment, it is important for future researchers to use other types of exposures to these campaigns, such as specific Twitter profiles, photos, or slogans.
University of Nairobi
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