#NiUnaMenos Argentinian feminist campaign started two years ago to protest against the increase and impunity of gender-based violence and soon, thanks to social media, influenced activists transnationally.
In June 2105, a diverse group of women formed by journalists, activists, artists and writers organised a demonstration in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to march and protest against the alarming increase of femicides. In Argentina, only from 2008 to 2015 the number of women killed was increased by 78%. The demonstrators, many of them involved in feminist movements, collectively demanded the Argentinian government to take action by assigning a budget to the fight against gender-based violence, to implement protection measures, promote access to justice, create more shelters and report an official count of gender-based violence crimes, among other petitions.
Digital tools and social media helped to organise the demonstration, and quickly the hashtag #NiUnaMenos (#NotOne(woman)Less) became a trending topic. Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp messages including #NiUnaMenos went viral transnationally.
The presence on the social media and digital platforms helped not only to organise the physical protest but to highlight the activists’ demands and the globally urgent matter of gender-based violence.
On social media, many journalists, especially on Twitter, artists and even politicians shared stories of daily sexist discrimination, supported the cause and provided information. The digital presence of #NiUnaMenos created a feeling of a collectiveness within many diverse groups of activists. Globally, we are witnessing the potential of new media and contributions to activism, and how social media have become emotional conduits for reconstructing a sense of togetherness (Gerbaudo, 2012).
One year later, in 2016, in many Latin American countries, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, massive demonstrations were supporting the #NiUnaMenos message. Supporting the initial hashtag, more voices and new viral messages were included such as #VivasNosQueremos (#WeWantUsAlive), #Viajosola (#ITravelAlone), #Rompamoseltechodecristal (#BreakingTheGlassCeiling), or #BlackWednesdays were shared globally. Last June 2017, for the third consecutive year, again massive #NiUnaMenos demonstrations took place in many countries in Latin America, a region where according to UN Women 14 countries have the highest rates of femicides.
Undoubtedly, social media and digital platforms are powerful tools to drive the protest, to visibilise sexist discrimination, femicides, feminist demands and promote online conversations on gender equality.
However, is online feminist activism enough to be translated into actual political and social change?. As researcher Alice Dahl says, the implications of Internet feminism remain undertheorized, and some are hesitant to overstate the influence of the Internet on social movement communities (Dahl, 2017, Ch.V). In the case of #NiUnaMenos, the success of three years of massive transnational demonstrations sharing the same global message is the combination of the potential communicative tools of online feminist activism and decades of “offline” feminist grassroots activism. Thus, the solid activist engagement is consolidated in the streets, in the assemblies and the face-to-face feminism, and new media and the Internet pushes feminism in new directions, it speeds up the processes of organising and network building, creates and nourishes communities across geographic divides, and introduces new tactics and strategies (Dahl, 2017, Ch.V).
DAHL CROSSLEY, Alison (2017), Finding Feminism: Millenial activists and the unfinished gender revolution. New York University Press
GERBAUDO, P (2012), Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism. London: Pluto Press.