The Importance of Feminist TikTok

This past December, I finally caved and downloaded the app, TikTok. What I quickly discovered was a whole community of feminist uncovering important issues from reproductive rights, self-expression, and sexual orientation representation. While no app is free from negativity, most of the comments in the videos are inspiring and empowering. These videos are helpful to me as a feminist because I'm learning about identities and issues I've never heard about before or topics that are considered taboo to discuss among friends and family. Seeing so many educated women (and some self-defined feminist men) on the platform is so hopeful!

A gif of the cast of Bridesmaid running towards a location Universal Pictures / GIPHY

Some of my favorite feminist hashtags to follow are #childfreebychoice #womensupportingwomen #asexualtiktok #bodypositive #smashthepatriarchy #consent #prochoice and #forwomen. Not only can I add these hashtags to my favorites, meaning that videos using these specific hashtags will always be shown to me on the app, but it allows me to discover more content creators discussing new perspectives on these issues. I love following niche hashtags too, like #asexualtiktok. As someone who identifies as asexual, I rarely meet someone in real life who identifies the same way. Now with the pandemic, I feel even more cut off from like-minded people. Even though I can't see anyone in person, discovering other asexual individuals on TikTok has helped me stay connected to the community. One of my favorite users is aceoftays who makes daily videos discussing issues relevant to the asexual community, such as doctor-patient communication, how relationships work, and how to talk to friends about your identity.

pride parade with rainbow flags Photo by Gotta Be Worth It from Pexels

Another feminist community on TikTok that I've been loving lately is #childfreebychoice. I've always known that I don't want to have children, but I never met another woman in person who felt the same way. Finding other women on TikTok who feel the same way has helped my self-confidence so much! The videos are always about educating people about reproductive rights, and that while some women want children, others simply don't. Also, I felt vindicated when I saw so many TikTok videos of women saying that a woman's purpose is not confined to being a mother, wife, etc. A lot of these content creators are educators and volunteers for organizations like Planned Parenthood or are gender studies professors. There is the stereotype that TikTok is just full of young kids dancing, but it is also a tool for everyone to learn about different lifestyles and perspectives that exist in our world.

Jess Bhamra Bend It Gif 20th Century Fox via Giphy

Besides the hashtags, there are content creators that use the feature called Stitch to elaborate on another creator's points. For example, user ana.gir.fer created a viral video asking other users to Stitch together their videos answering the question: What's a scene from a movie or tv show that makes you go like: women? Basically, the user asked for the most empowering and significant media moments starring women. Nearly every day a new video comes up on my TikTok feed responding to this request. I've been loving this trend because it celebrates female empowerment, as well as highlighting what female characters inspired us all to become feminists. A nice added bonus is that I'm discovering plenty of new tv shows and movies to watch! Another example of this was the Stitch video created by user celtic_sian which asked: what is your unpopular feminist opinion? The user invites everyone to share ways they disagree with mainstream feminism, and what they want to argue about. I personally know that some of the ideas about feminism I believe in, others might not, so I loved discovering this video! A lot of users chose to respond by discussing the ways female characters are portrayed in literature - sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. This is a video that on any other social media platform you'd expect to get a lot of hate or backlash, but I appreciated that so many women chimed in and started meaningful conversations about how feminism isn't perfect. I can't wait to discover more feminist hashtags and TikTok videos in the future!

The Lala