One of the loudest subgroups on blogging and social networking site Tumblr is the enclave of self- identified feminists whose political and theoretical discussions dominate a large chunk of the Tumblr cloud. For many feminist scholars, the last two decades of mainstream discourse has been defined by postfeminism – the general acceptance of feminism as something already achieved and therefore no longer needed. The young feminists on Tumblr, raised in theories of gender performativity and intersectionality (sometimes labeled third-wave), is solid proof of a still relevant and active feminist discourse.
This paper explores how feminist online identities created on Tumblr are situated in the intersection of post-feminist and third-wave discourses, and what the technological affordances of new media can contribute to contemporary feminist practice. How does Tumblr function as a site for radical identity practices with the aim of subverting heteronormative, sexist, racist and cisgendered conformities?
Part of larger project, this paper initiates the examination of Tumblr feminism through a textual analysis of a selection of blog posts which illustrate the medium’s potential for reviving feminist politics.
Fredrika Thelandersson is a MA student in the Media, Culture and Communication department at NYU. She is interested in feminist and queer online identities and communities, and their potential for bridging the gap between academic theory and embodied practice. Her research positions Tumblr as such a site, and examines how its affordances might function as a way to achieve the social and cultural agenda formulated by its politically invested users.