Everyone talks about how we’re in the 4th wave of feminism. We want to suggest that perhaps it is the 5th: the viral stage. Why? After watching Youtube vlogger Kat lazo’s TEDx Talk from November 2013, it’s kinda obvious.
She talks about being a young Latino girl growing up in America, not learning about feminist such as Gloria Steinem or even the feminist movement until she was 20! It is sad to know that among millennials, there isn’t really a general knowledge of the feminist movement taught in schools, other than when women were allowed to vote which is taught in conjunction with Civil Rights movement curriculums.
But all this is about to change, thanks to the internet. Feminism is more alive than ever thanks to the next generation of world changers who are turning to online mediums such as Youtube, and various blog platforms to raise their voice and share opinions.
Kat, who goes by the screen name ‘Thee Kats Meoww’ uses her Youtube channel to talk about feminist issues relevant to her.
She name checks other vloggers such as Laci Green, and online feminist blogs like Rookie who have become her go-to sources for feminist news, and she is not alone. Girls don’t have to grow up being ignorant of the rights women like Gloria, Betty Freidan and many others fought for, and thanks to the internet they have access to read about what other millennials are doing today to make a difference.
Girls just like her, like you, like me. Ordinary citizens who are passionate about a cause and are using the tools available to them to be agents of change.
“The Internet has given us tools and platforms that previous feminists could have only dreamt of,” Lazo said.
“Online feminism is the future of feminism,” Lazo said. And it’s time we use our computers and phones as “picket signs.”
Kat shares three badass examples of everyday girls doing extraordinary things.
Julia Bluhm, a 14 year old high school student was sick of seeing overly-airbrushed images of girls in Seventeen Magazine and decided to speak up about it. She started a petition on Change.org, and together with Spark organization, went with a group of girls to the Seventeen Magazine headquarters in New York. Their protest got the attention of Ann Shoket, editor-in-chief, who met with Julia and then vowed to change the magazine’s policy on photoshop.
They even published a manifesto in the magazine to show they mean what they say, and this was all thanks to an ordinary high school girl!
The second example, was how the internet rallied to get rapper Rick Ross dropped from Reebok who was sponsoring him. Rick Ross’ song ‘You Don’t Even Know It’ caused a huge stir because the lyrics talked about drugging a girl and raping her. It was released not too long after the Steubenville rape case which was also heightened by online conversations.
When protesters forced Reebok to realize they were encouraging rape culture, the athletic brand actually dropped him!
The third example she mentions was how 3 US high school girls were pissed at the fact that there had not been a female moderator in the televised US presidential debates in 20 years. They too started a change.org petition, and lo and behold, it worked.
In the last presidential debate, 2 out of the 4 debates were moderated by women: Candy Crowley (CNN’s Chief political correspondent no less) and Martha Raddatz from ABC News.
These are the stories that need bigger headlines. And while we are waiting for that to happen, we will use our own resources to make a louder noise about the issues that matter for millennial women. You see, Julia Bluhm, Kat Lazo, Laci Green and the like are no different to the rest of us. They ARE us, and the greatest thing we can learn from these amazing young women is that you don’t have to wait for your voice or your opinion to be heard. You can speak up now!
Kat may not have known who Gloria Steinem was until she was 20, but we already learned a few things from this TEDx Talk. Check it out: