Movements, third wave, white-washed, intersectional, digi... There are so many labels for feminists in 2015. From Femen to Malala to Rupi Kaur, there are many boxes feminists are finding themselves restricted to.
While the feminist movement hosts differing views from those involved, the fight for equality provides common ground. The 1910s saw suffragettes using militant tactics propositioning their power to win votes, in the 60s and 70s feminism was radicalized to further include women of color and minorities, and the 90s saw 'riot grrrl's come up from underground to wage war on unsolved sexist dilemmas.
Now there's a digital anti-patriarchy army forming, creating safe havens where artists, writers, photographers, poets and, yes, feminists, are reworking the narrative for women's rights. With added emojis.
If there is such a thing as new-wave feminism, it's these internet babes.
The feminist photographer icon has done a lot to fuck over the patriarchy in the last few years. The hairy-pubed New Yorker is barely 22 but her checklist of achievements includes being a Rookie magazine fave, telling the world body hair is okay through self-portraits, actively challenging online censorship and a solo show named "Discharge".
She was making tremendous waves online already, but when Instagram deleted her account for flaunting her pubes, all hell broke loose. She did gain a huge amount of gal-powered followers though. It's not all bad.
Not all parents will agree that Tumblr is a winning source of inspiration for those still coming of age, but Rowan Blanchard shuts any thoughts like these down. Aged 13 and a Disney Channel star, it's pretty amazing how this digi-princess responded to answers about intersectional feminism and how 'white feminism' can exclude women of color, non-binary women and queer women.
Beside her impressive resume of feminist-themed art and reblogs, the essay-like response read a little like this (this is only a small section of the whopping text):
"'White feminism’ forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women.
She's THIRTEEN! What's more, she joins Emma Watson as a #HeForShe ambassador, and made a speech at a UN Women Committee conference earlier this year which is damn good. Watch and learn, kids.
How do you retaliate to the disappointing number of nudes leaked online without consent? Leak your own, that's how. This cyber feminist/digital artist/Tumblr queen/self-proclaimed ‘webcam princess’ decided to put a middle finger to the gender divide by doing just that.
Firmly confronting what it means to be a woman – exploring femininity, body hair, self-criticism and beauty – even when the haters hated, she shut them down. Some said the selfies weren't exactly 'art', but it was more than that.
Shutting the haters down, she told Dazed a little while ago that "I don’t feel a need to defend my work or myself as a feminist. These comments seem to speak for themselves and shine a light on why I need to make work like this in the first place." A true idol for reclaiming our bodies, even if you don't like her art.
Although it sadly came to an end last year, London-based artist Phoebe Collings-James ran the feminist blog Cunt Today, a 21st Century answer to the 00s read Cheap Date. As an answer to the objectification and abuse the internet has given the world, Cunt Today grabbed the female body back and reclaimed it again.
Now a firm favorite in the art, fashion and media worlds, Collings-James spends most of her time spreading feminist energies and exhibiting. Her art is really great.
Although anonymous, Ambivalently Yours is every contradictory feminist's best friend. For those who often find themselves confused with what's 'feminist' and what's not, AY creates naive, hard-hitting illustrations (or "rants", as she says) to help you along the way.
She told us a little while back that she's not a bad feminist because she likes pink, but fighting for gender equality comes in different forms. "Feminism is a complex movement," she divulged, "so it needs to keep moving and evolving, by confronting my ambivalence I am trying to question the conflicts and embrace the achievements."
Leading the feminist porn movement, the lovely Swedish woman Erika Lust isn't providing porn for feminists, but rather porn that doesn't reduce women to dick-sucking robots. With XConfessions, her online site of erotica, Lust has managed to shift the male gaze of the pornography world and produce quality short films that aren't exploitative to anyone.
There are less ginormous boobs, plastic bodies and facials in Lust's world and more good sex, beautiful cinematography and women behind the scenes as well as in front of the lens. Her crew is more like an official film crew than a cheap porn ensemble, made up of mostly women offering up their views of sex.
Body anxiety is something every girl experiences, unless you're an alien. When it comes to Jennifer Chan's work, this feeling of self-consciousness came at the forefront of her and friend Leah Schrager's online exhibition, funnily enough named "Body Anxiety".
Analyzing the historical significance of the female body in art through the male gaze, gendered embodiments, and self-representation through digital art and performance, it offered a convenient insight into feminism for the online. Blending self exposure, activism and bravery, they are setting the standard for online feminist art and welcome everyone else who wants to do so too.
We met Elizabeth Farrell aka Glacier Girl a while back now and her fem-power is only growing. Using chic digi-visuals, her artwork and photography ain't no ordinary shit for this 19-year-old – she's the eco-warrior Vivienne Westwood for the Tumblr generation.
Along with visual digs at Shell, Farrell holds her head high and her geographic care strong when talking about the glaciers. If you'd paid any attention to her name this won't be a surprise. Her girl power isn't just directed at one cause, which will undoubtedly lead her to go on to ever more galactic significance online and off.