Communities and Social Media · Identity and Online Advocacy

Instagram, Female Empowerment and the #notallmen Movement


The #notallmenbuteverywoman movement took Instagram by storm and was sparked after the devastating end of Sarah Everard, who simply just walked home alone at night. The argument that comes with this movement is that ALL women should be able to do the simple things in life without the constant conscience thoughts which have being ingrained in our minds from our youth. This movement had a global impact for all woman as it aimed to educate men, spread personal stories and show support for one another, whilst spreading awareness. Instagram has provided a third place for women to share their opinion and utilise certain hashtags allowing the hashtag activism to bring mass awareness to the movement, alongside a community with a large support network to be formed. The movement has accumulated thousands of posts on the Instagram platform, providing evidence for the movement as women should be able to do the simple things, such as walk home, without the constant worry that consumes us in everyday life. The ‘Not all Men but Every Woman’ mass movement is pushing boundaries, aiming to gain their freedom from misogynistic actions and people, alongside the reclaiming of the streets because woman should be allowed to walk home alone, like men.

Social media has a strong and increasing presence every-day, allowing a global connection to be established, giving a large sense of community and multiple large platforms for advocacy. This year we have seen a huge impact across social media platforms in regard to the new #notallmenbutallwomen movement. This hashtag took social media and the world by storm after the murder of Sarah Everard, as thousands of women took to the social platform, Instagram, to promote justice, share their story, share their fear, and most of all try to show men that this fear of harassment or violence is ingrained in all women from a young age. These ingrained teachings create this normality around fear in association with womanhood, and this shouldn’t be the case nor normalised. Female empowerment is growing annually, as more women speak up and voice their opinion and personal stories across various social media platforms, which are providing a third place and freer expression. Along with the freer expression for silent voices, comes the hashtag activism which allows support for an issue and/or cause to be noticed, a community and campaign to be established, and a place where one can find information regarding the issue, through one click or search of the hashtag. The togetherness social media can bring through these advocacy and activism posts for female empowerment is highly positive, bringing women all around the world to support, empower and uplift one another. Social media has a strong and increasing presence in everyday life, with Instagram providing a third place for females to advocate for their freedom from abuse and misconduct, allowing the utilisation of hashtag activism to spread their cause, and establishing a mass network of support consisting of every woman, for the specific movement of ‘Not all Men but All Woman’.

Social media provide a third place for all to speak out for their beliefs, share their stories and show their involvement in advocacy, spreading community awareness. A third place refers to those places that come in between our two social environments of our home and our workplace, with these environments allowing an establishment of relationships and a community alongside the exchanging of ideas (Wexler & Oberlander 2017). This idea and concept of a ‘third place’ can also be seen in alignment with social media platforms, as these global platforms allow silent voices to be heard, and in the case of the ‘Me Too’ or ‘Not all Men but all Women’, these platforms are allowing women to speak their truth, sharing their personal stories and their fears. All platforms can be seen to have established relationships, through groups and common interests, allowing many communities and groups to form and grow, such as local groups on Facebook and campaigns through utilising certain images or hashtags. These female empowerment movements are gradually becoming bigger and bigger annually as more speak up from their past, share their stories and more support one another, through engagement and sharing each other’s truths. Hashtags have provided the movement with a large build up as they become relevant to society, with influencers and individuals of status utilising them to encourage the movement whilst stating their position on the movement. When influencers and public figures get behind a cause and/or movement, it brings more attention to the case and the problem, allowing the further build-up of the argument. The concept of Instagram as a third place is allowing not only these influencers, but every woman to speak out, and voice their opinion as loud as they want, without major consequences. This fear from misogynistic actions and misogynists themselves is ingrained in every women’s mind from a young age, such as don’t walk home by yourself and the message that helped frame the ‘Not all Men’ movement, ‘message me when you are home’. Influencer, Lucy Mountain (@lucymountain on Instagram), took to her social platform on Instagram to share her opinion on the recent murder of Sarah Everard which sparked the movement. Her words went viral with nearly every woman sharing her post to spread the word and show their support, for not only Sarah but for all women.


It is sad that this is what we feel that we need to do, that we need to message our friend to confirm that we are home safe and that we are ok, sad that even the youngest of women also acknowledge these actions that we are taught to do as little girls. Social media is allowing us as women to come out from our box of safety and tell men that this is what is happening, that this is how we feel, and that this is what needs to change. These platforms are allowing our truths with freer expression and freedom to speak our individual opinions, regardless of what other’s may think. This has allowed us to speak our truth. This third place has enabled the drive of our empowerment and our movements, as it is the continuation for the fight for women, bringing to light a more hopeful, freer and less misogynistic future for generations to come, all through the power of Instagram.

With this freedom of speech across social media platforms, in particularly Instagram, women are utilising specific hashtags to show support for the movement, allowing an understanding of what their post is about, what it is for, and most of all, allows others to find more information about the movement when clicking or searching one of the hashtags. This hashtag activism is a driving force of the movement, and in fact all movements, such as the #blacklivesmatter movement or the #metoo movement. Hashtag activism is the growth in public support through social media for a movement or cause, and is an increasing method used to bring socio-cultural and socio-political changes to light (Goswami, 2018). Hashtags for the ‘Not all Men’ movement has allowed women worldwide to unite and showcase their stance utilising specific hashtags alongside the hashtags the individual women also believe needs to be understood.


The hashtags above all have thousands to millions of posts which have stated those specific hashtags in their captions showcasing how many women have spoken up and spoke their truth. As you can see from the above hashtags, #saraheverard is one of the most used in align with this movement. This is due to her story and her ending been the driving force to begin advocacy for this cause and the fight for not only women been able to walk home alone but for justice. Justice for not only Sarah, but for every woman who has been harassed, assaulted, and for those who have passed and are with Sarah now due to these horrific misogynistic actions. Justice for every woman whom all have to consciously think about every action, from uber scenarios to escape plans to fake phone calls when someone walks by. This is the sad reality. This is the sad reality that needs to change. The reality that women are trying to change as they post using these hashtags to spread the word, awaken the silent and educate all men. Hashtag activism is allowing a global message to be built up and spread for the cause of Sarah, and for all women in this ‘Not all Men but Every Woman’ movement, allowing a mass community of females and female supporters to be established.

Hashtag activism, freer speech, and a third place all bring about an establishment of a community, and in this ‘Not all Men’ movement, it brings about a global coming together of women for female empowerment and a large support network. As our contemporary society is technology-centred with majority of aspects of life either already and/or moving to technology, we consume and utilise communication technology on a daily basis, hence the activism on Instagram with this case (Siebel, 2019). The large consumption we all put into social media platforms plays a role in the spreading of awareness for a cause, and for the activism of the case to be seen globally. Instagram is used by more than a billion individuals worldwide and has quickly become, alongside other social media platforms, a defining technology of our time (Appel, Grewel, Hadi & Stephen, 2021).  The woman of the world coming together after the devastating case of Sarah, was remarkable and empowering, as the fight for justice was on, the act to reclaim the streets began, and the fight for everyday freedom was in the spotlight. The fight for female identity and triumph was on.


Arising with the new movement ‘Not all Men but all Woman’ came about the massive motto around not leaving it all up to woman and the protection of women and girls, but instead educating and holding men and boys accountable. This motto is a fact because why can’t men be held accountable for their actions and words, and why is it all on us as women to be consciously protecting ourselves every minute of every day? These images took Instagram by storm in promoting the movement and promoting the education of males against misogynistic intent, as not everything should be left up to woman. The support network formed from this movement, is inspiring. A network so large, it includes almost every woman in the world, inclusive of the men who support our cause. The community togetherness gained from this movement, is allowing women to feel empowered, feel supported and most of all, feel the justice gradually been achieved, as our word is spread. Never have women worldwide been so united, and we won’t stop now.

The ‘Not all Men but all Women’ movement is one of the masses, all done through social media platforms, specifically Instagram. The third place Instagram has provided for females, globally, has been and is an asset in allowing the movement to speak the truth, speak out, and not be afraid of repercussions. The hashtags involved with the movement has allowed the movement to spread and build worldwide attention, as the hashtag activism becomes a driving force for the education of the movement been understood. The activism of the movement has allowed the large community of woman to be established alongside the largest support network seen, as women worldwide lift each other up, support one another’s stories, and share the word across social platforms. Some limitations that occurred with this paper was the limitation of resources on prior papers written for evidence, this is due to the movement been current and new. A suggestion to look into the hashtags on Instagram and exploring the posts should be taken after reading this paper, to allow yourself to really absorb all the individual stories, allowing a further understanding of the mass movement and further evidence for this paper to be seen. Instagram has allowed the ‘Not all Men but all Women’ movement to spread worldwide, acting as a third place, for all women to speak out about reclaiming the streets, being free from abuse and harassment, and gain justice for those who can no longer reclaim their freedom from misogynistic intent.


Appel, G., Grewel, L., Hadi, R., & Stephen, A. (2021). The future of social media in marketing. Journal Of The Academy Of Marketing Science49(2), 79-85. Retrieved from

Goswami, M. (2018). Liberty Dignity and Change in Journalism (1st ed., pp. 252-262). Amarkantak, India: Kanishka Publisher.

Siebel, B. (2019). Insta-Identity: The Construction of Identity through Instagram. University Honors Theses. Retrieved from

Wexler, M., & Oberlander, J. (2017). The Shifting Discourse on Third Places: Ideological Implications. Journal Of Ideology38(1), 2-6. Retrieved from

Instagram images (2021), retrieved from

28 thoughts on “Instagram, Female Empowerment and the #notallmen Movement

  1. Hey Macy,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper on the #notallmenbuteverywoman movement as I’m familiar with the movement myself and it was great to learn more about it. The story of Sarah Everard went global overnight, my own Instagram newsfeed was filled with images of her being shared by users I follow. It’s amazing to see how the use of Social Networking Sites such as Instagram can promote activist communities by providing a third place for man and women to share their thoughts and ideas. Through simple actions such as using hashtags, creating posts or uploading stories, users are able to promote activism and bring mass awareness to certain movements such as the #notallmenbuteverywoman movement.

  2. Hi Macy,

    What a strong paper on such a large topic that can unfortunately be quite controversial.
    As a woman who was coming into her early twenties when the #notallmen movement started, I remember being shocked at how many women related to it. I think you’ve covered such an important topic in an excellent way, especially with how it is – for lack of better word, promoted on Instagram. I like how you pointed out that when influencers partake in movements like this it can reach audiences it may not have by itself.


    1. Thanks Amy! It definitely is a movement which has transformed the ‘traditional’ mindset of ‘women need to be careful’ and instead promoting men to be better, such as ‘educate your sons’ rather then ‘protect your daughters’. It definitely does assist any movement when an influencer shares the cause, as generally influencers have a global following, allowing a large amount of awareness to be spread.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi Macy,

    Great read! I think it is awesome how you’ve highlighted how powerful a simple hashtag can be to bring like minded people together. I actually never thought of it like that until now. Although I agree with a lot of things that you have said, as a male, I really dislike the gender divide you’ve written about between both men and women. I don’t mean to discredit you or move away from the severity of the stories that you’ve shared, I acknowledge them wholeheartedly, although a lot of men do go through a lot of the things that you’ve mentioned as well. I do think that yes, it does occur more to women, but isn’t talked about as much with me as there is a stigma around talking about your feelings. I see that you’ve mentioned ‘Not all Men but All Woman’. Why is it necessary to draw a divide between our two genders? I know men who have had to share their locations, I’ve been on the receiving end of phone calls from men. Why do the hashtags have to be female specific? As humans shouldn’t we try be better as a race, lift each other up and support each other? I love women supporting women – but why can’t it be humans empowering humans? As a social media community trying to build a larger audience and bring light to certain situations wouldn’t it be better to get the boys involved too and include them? Instead of #protectwomen with 35.4k posts why can’t it be #protectusall with double the amount of posts?

    I thought the post ‘-Protect your daughter-. Educate your son’ was interesting. It made me reflect on my upbringing and I can not remember a time in my life where my parents ‘educated’ me specifically on how to behave in front of or treat a woman. My parents taught me how to treat other humans with respect. Not based on a gender. Again, why can’t that post be ‘-Protect your children-, Educate your children’? When I see the poster that says “Boys will be … held accountable” I feel like I personally have done something wrong just because I am a male, although I know that I wouldn’t do anything to intentionally upset or make a woman feel unsafe. So why am I automatically put into that category?

    Overall you’ve written a great paper and highlighted some very important issues that definitely need to be talked about more. I truely think if we were to make the hashtags / movements gender neutral that they would gain more traction, and not only empower women to speak up but also male voices to be heard too!

    All the best!


  4. Hi Macy! Your paper was really insightful and interesting.

    I did not know about the #notallmenbuteverywoman movement until I read your paper. I will definitely learn more about this movement as it seems to be gaining a lot of prominence. I enjoyed the way that you explored the link between Instagram and female empowerment, I find it very interesting that Instagram users are using this platform as a third space to voice out their opinions and to fight back against ingrained misogynistic ideologies. I totally agree with you, this fear from misogynistic actions and misogynists themselves is ingrained in every women’s mind from a young age, such as “don’t walk home by yourself.” It is a sad reality that is persisting despite the array of movements and discussions surrounding this massive issue. I do wonder if the hierarchy created on Instagram does not hurt activism and female empowerment? There is only a small percentage of voices that can be disseminated to the wider masses on Instagram due to this process of selection and omission on the celebrity’s part, of what they determine to be worthy to share or not. Therefore, is Instagram the most effective social media platform for this movement?

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Marie,

      Glad you enjoyed my paper. I do agree that there can be some question on if Instagram is the most effective platform due to the process, however I found in my research that Instagram was the most prominent platform for this movement, especially with many influencers sharing and/or creating their own posts. I also believe that it was prominent due to the large scale of individuals posting and/or sharing images to do with the movement, which is seen in the use of the hashtags. It also is prominent on Twitter, however I focused on Instagram as a third place due to it being the original platform for the movement and the prominence the app has in everyday life.

  5. Hi Macy!

    This is the first time I have ever heard about this movement as it appears to be very recent – wow! I had to look into the Sarah Everard case after reading this and it is disturbing that these incidents are still occurring regardless of all these social media hashtag movements, which leads me to the question; are they actually beneficial?

    I liked that you focused on a recent movement that also aimed at educating men, not just encouraging women to speak up. I feel like there are many hashtag movements, such as #metoo and #TIMESUP are formed to create a voice for women whom experience sexism whilst I believe that in order to prevent these cases (incl. Sarah Everard) it is the males that need to be aware, not only for prosecution but for prevention. As you said, us women, from the beginning of time, are taught strategies to prevent these incidents before they even happen… so why can’t all men also be educated on how to prevent these too?

    Overall, I enjoyed reading your paper; it was relevant, interesting and thought-provoking. I also like your use of images as they really strengthen your argument and creates another aspect to enjoy whilst reading.

    – Kira

    1. Hi Kira

      I completely agree that this movement is utilising different methods, slogans and perspectives, specifically the aim to educate men. I am so glad that this paper pushed you to look into the tragic case of Sarah Everard and the movement! It definitely isn’t over, but at. least this movement is actually making more progress, as seen through. government ads utilising similar slogans relating to stopping the disrespect at the beginning.

      Thank you for reading.

  6. Hi Macy,

    Great paper, it really provides a good overview for one of the benefits of Social Networks, the fact that they can facilitate much needed discussion and change on a global level is a shining light amongst the various issues of identity performance and privacy that they also enable. Hopefully SNSs can embrace their responsibility in providing a stage for advocacy, maybe even work better to amplify these discussions and push for change. The louder the better.


    1. Hi Sam,

      I completely agree that social network is great in facilitating needed discussion for varying issues and that hopefully the advocacy can be pushed more! The louder the better for sure!

  7. Hi Macy,

    Thank you for this it was a really well put together paper on what can be a difficult topic to discuss.

    I particularly agree with your discussion on Instagram being a third place for users to gather, in this case women over the Not All Men but All Women movement. I also discuss in my paper the third place has been established on TikTok for users to create knowledge communities on particular global issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement of June last years. Here is the link if you’d like to read:

    I am interested to know your thoughts on the potential for other social media apps to become a third place for users to come together, do you see the most potential in Instagram? Or do you think other apps have the potential for the same thing?

    Thank you again for the great read.

    1. Hi Bonnie!

      Thanks for reading my paper, I look forward to reading yours. In regards to your question I personally do believe that in today’s society Instagram is hugely influential, filled with. ‘influencers’, celebrities and big brands, therefore creating iNstagram to have a the most potential. Even in saying this, other platforms also hold the same potential, and I believe that different subjects and movements work better for differing platforms. I also believe that as times continually change their will always be this constant shift towards differing platforms and/or the next big thing (new platforms).

  8. Hi Macy,
    I really enjoyed reading your paper as this is a movement I wasn’t particularly familiar with until now. I agree that female empowerment is growing annually, as more women speak up and voicing their opinions as also seen in the #metoo movement which I spoke about in my essay (I’d love to hear your thoughts on this).
    The #notallmen movement is a direct response to the #metoo movement which I think has both its positive and negative impacts (just like every movement).
    Personally, I think this movement is undermining women as this was a way for men to regain their power by creating a movement that focuses on undermining women for coming out and sharing their stories.
    The support of women on social media is commendable and is something that is very necessary today as we stand and fight against gender inequality and as we pave the way for women to feel comfortable doing things by themselves without the fear of being sexually harassed.

    I’d love to hear your feedback on my paper regarding the #metoo movement. Here’s the link 🙂

    1. Hi,

      I agree completely that the support of women on social media is commendable and very necessary in today’s times, paving the way for complete freedom for women. I came across the #metoo movement many times during my research, and it also is such a powerful movements, especially with the huge amount of celebrities that supported the movement and shared their own stories in accordance to the movement. Can’t wait to give yours a read.

  9. Hi Macy,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper! It was a great analysis on this movement and I thought the way you integrated Instagram images and hashtags really solidified your argument. I also enjoyed how you examined Instagram as a third place through the lens of this movement, it felt fresh.

    A question I have for you is do you think this movement is as prominent on other platforms as it is on Instagram?


    1. Hey Ruby!

      Thanks for the feedback! In regards to your question, the movement does have a large following on twitter and even on facebook too, however Instagram does seem to be the prominent, due to the large amount of hashtag interaction, and sharing of posts to individual stories. So overall I think the movement does have a form of prominence on other platforms, specifically Twitter, just the interaction levels are higher on Instagram as a platform.

  10. Hey Macy,

    This is a really interesting article about an important movement. I can only imagine how it would feel to be a woman and feel blamed being a victim. Your essay looks at how social media can be really important in creating important progressive movements , but I would argue they are also being used for the opposite. In my essay I discuss how the incel (involuntary celibate) community radicalises its members with misogynistic ideologies. The incel community exists in the “Manosphere”, which is a collection of websites, blogs and online forums that support misogyny and oppose feminism. Basically, incels are involved in everything that the #notallmenbutallwomen movement is against. I’d be curious to know if you’ve heard of the online manosphere and if you came across it whilst you were researching your essay?

    Some of the content that is shared in the manosphere is truly disgusting and it just shows how important these positive movements, like the one you discuss in your essay, are still so important.

    Here’s a link to my essay if you would like to have a look:


    1. Hey!

      Wow how interesting that your paper is about the opposing! I will definitely need to give it a read! I did come across the online manosphere during research but never actually went into the detail of it and always skipped past it! Definitely will look into it now as i didn’t understand what it was about just purely that it was opposite to the movement I was researching. Thanks for reading and I can 100% agree that all these positive movements, no matter the size, are all important in shaping the future.

  11. Hi Macy,
    I was looking forward to reading this paper as it is a topic close to my heart, as it is many women I am sure. I know personally, I feel a sense of empowerment when I see posts validating the experiences and harsh realities we face as women when it comes to our personal safety. These online communities and networks of pages dedicated to promoting these important hashtags do amazing work at raising awareness.

    There is a flip side, though. I find myself sitting in anger and disbelief at the continued ignorance, especially from other women, who can’t see past their own bias and experiences promoting the #notallmen movement. I will never understand it but I can see that the discussion is being had and that is better than nothing and a good place to start.

    Thanks for shining a light on this important topic.

    1. Yes exactly right, there is still the ignorance that occurs, but at least it is start, which is definitely better than nothing and the awareness is increasing, which we can see in government sponsored domestic abuse advertisements on television. Thanks for reading my piece! I like to think it’s a start to a revolution (even if its a slow burn)!

      Looking forward to reading yours!

    2. Yes i agree, that there is still the sense of ignorance, but it is definitely a start with the awareness constantly increasing, which can also be seen with the government sponsored advertisements for domestic abuse, specifically the ‘Stop it at the Start’ campaign, which aligns with the whole educate your son’s concept of the movement. Thanks for reading, I look forward to reading yours!

  12. Hello Macy,
    While reading your paper I really could relate as I am myself a woman and thus I know that it can be tough sometimes.
    The hashtag #notallmen is a beautiful movement.
    Your paper is very interesting and it relates a lot to social media and the community of women that it has created. I like the way you added some pictures which engages more the audience while reading.
    However, to add more weight to your paper I would advice adding a bit more references to support your arguments.

    My paper is also about the empowerment of women, especially black women wearing their natural hair. I would be glad to discuss in depth this topic with you.
    please find the link to my paper below,

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I would love to get your thoughts on the #notallmen movement and how you find it to be positive? It’s always interesting to hear when other people have a different view.

      I find the movement offensive personally. The idea that “all” men need to have their gender validated in this way when male-dominated violence continues to be a real issue is frustrating. Macy mentions the ‘Not all Men but All Woman’ movement which I think is more aligned with the reality of the challenges women face.


      1. Hi Kristy,

        I did not know a lot about the #notallmen movement and I really thought that it was a beautiful movement that was created by men to support women but when I doing research on this movement I realized that indeed it is really not a beautiful movement at all. It is another way for men to be at the center of attention while pressuring patriarchy upon women. I am very grateful that you take your time to push me to search more on that topic which made me learn something new and it acts as an eye-opener for me.

        thank you and I will be more than pleased to know your opinion on my paper. here is the link:

    2. Thanks for the feedback Rachel! The movement is definitely one which touches almost every women, as almost every women has a story, especially once we start to go out to nightclubs and bars.

      I’m definitely intrigued already by your little sentence you have given me about your paper, and can’t wait to read it to understand more! It is certainly an interesting topic, with many celebrities who can be inconsiderate to the culture when it comes to styling (e.g. using cornrows/box braids/’blackfacing’).

  13. Hi Macy,
    This is Wen. I really like your topic! Being a women is not difficult but is never easy to feel confident from the inside, as the generations have been educated that women have to be good at being a housewife, but why not a woman that can make big decision? I believe that this problem is being solved slowly but surely as there are lots of successful women in different industry are proving that women are STRONG. Social media has also become a place for women to speak out for equality in terms of social treatment and status, and it has brought people who have the same interest and attitudes towards this particular issue together. For example, the hashtags features and the interest-generated explore features on Instagram can recommend the women-right-related contents based on what users have liked and followed.
    Do you think that the next young generation will have a better understanding in terms of the equality in gender if people are using social media to spread this culture continuously?
    I also talked about equality and civil rights in my paper, feel free to discuss with me!
    This link will redirect you to my paper, thank you!

    1. Hey Wen!

      I definitely believe the next generation will have a much better understanding of equality, and what the term ‘misogyny’ actually is. There definitely is more awareness nowadays with women’s equality especially along the lines of domestic abuse and misconduct, seen in a few government campaigns and advertisements. One of these campaigns, ‘Stop it from the Start’ refers to stopping the misconduct and disrespect from the start (kids), aligning with the concept ‘educate your sons”.

      I look forward to reading yours! Equality and civil rights is always a topic of huge interest to myself!

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