Identity and Online Advocacy

Instagram Celebrities Leading a New Wave of Feminism


Social media has transformed political advocacy by offering new ways for activists to promote and express their identities. In the past, political movements depended upon face-to-face interactions and in-person rallies to promote change. These methods were highly inflexible and limited the effectiveness of advocate efforts. In modern society, advocates employ social media platforms like Instagram to engage new supporters, interact with community members, and promote their beliefs. The technical features of these platforms enhance advocacy by eliminating geographical and temporal barriers between users and supporting virtual conversations between mass groups of Internet users. However, for these affordances to be put to use, Internet users must become engaged in the activist cause and motivated to participate. This paper will explore how celebrities utilise the affordances of Instagram to achieve these goals. I argue that these high-profile users play a crucial role in promoting feminist identities in young women, building virtual feminist communities, educating people on feminist issues, and advancing feminist movements. To support my ideas, I will analyse the Instagram accounts of several celebrities including Clementine Ford, Abbie Chatfield, Brooke Ashley Hall and Beyonce Knowles-Carter. This paper belongs to the Identity and Online Advocacy stream because it explores how celebrities curate their identities to advocate for Feminism.


Social media platforms such as Instagram have increased the potential efficacy of advocate movements. The online nature of these platforms has eliminated geographical and temporal barriers between users (Jackson et al., 2018, p. 1884). This has allowed people in remote and marginalised communities to engage in online advocacy more easily (Turley & Fisher, 2018, p. 3). Further, the technical affordances of Instagram such as hashtags, messaging, tagging, content sharing, and commenting support interconnected advocate communities by enabling virtual conversations between mass groups of Internet users (Riquelme & Al-Thufery, 2018, pp. 1115-1116). However, for these affordances to be put to use, Internet users must become engaged in activist causes and motivated to participate (Christiano & Neimand, 2017). Due to their visibility and influence, one of the ways that young audiences can be engaged is through celebrities. This paper will explore the ways in which several feminist celebrities on Instagram use fame to publicize feminist identities and encourage audiences to engage in feminist advocacy. I argue that celebrities on Instagram play a crucial role in promoting feminism and empowering feminist communities to act on their values. Firstly, I will explore how celebrities expand feminist networks by engaging new users in feminist issues. Next, I will cover how celebrities strengthen feminist communities by creating a sense of solidarity and support between users. Then, I will discuss how celebrities educate their audience on feminist issues by curating feminist content in ways that are more digestible and relevant to everyday users. Finally, I will explore how celebrities influence societal change by using their platform to both broadcast concerns about current issues and empower people to speak out.

Building Online Communities

Firstly, let’s explore how celebrities leverage the affordances of Instagram to engage new audiences in feminist ideas and encourage them to adopt feminist identities. The visual and interactive nature of Instagram makes complex feminist ideas more appealing for younger users who may otherwise be deterred by them (Caldeira, 2020). Celebrities play an important role in promoting such content by improving its visibility on the platform and encouraging user engagement (Kim & Ringrose, 2018, p. 52). Brooke Ashley Hall is an American model and social media celebrity who leverages Instagram’s graphic affordances by sharing feminist ideas in the form of reels (see figure 1). These short 15-second videos engage young audiences in feminist content. While any user can share reels to Instagram, Hall’s 350,000 followers improve the discoverability of her content and the overall effectiveness of her feminist messages (Casey & Watson, 2017). Hence, the affordances of Instagram combined with the visibility of celebrity accounts improves engagement with feminist ideas and promotes the adoption of feminist identities. According to Fondevila-Gascón et al. (2020), the interactive nature of Instagram stories has also helped to engage and make audiences more interested in new ideas. Although Instagram enables this affordance, celebrities play a key role in its effectiveness due to their great influence over younger audiences (Franklyn, 2016, p. 11). For example, Abbie Chatfield, a past contestant on the Australian Television show The Bachelor, utilises this affordance by using Instagram stories to ask feminism-related questions to her followers, such as “Is wolf whistling a compliment?”. These interactions encourage her fans to engage with feminist ideas and consider the ways in which feminist issues may be relevant to their everyday lives.

Figure 1: Celebrating international women’s day

Celebrities also use Instagram to enhance feminist objectives by establishing an intimate and supportive community environment. The technological affordances of social media platforms such as Instagram have democratised participation on the web (Hardesty et al., 2019, p. 254). This has given everyday users more opportunities to connect with online networks and participate in discussions. Celebrities have encouraged users to make use of these affordances by promoting personal interactions on their Instagram accounts (Boyd, 2006). For example, ex-bachelor contestant Abbie Chatfield uses Instagram’s Stories to ask her followers to anonymously share their experiences with issues such as workplace harassment. These interactions foster a sense of intimacy between celebrities and their fans and improve community sentiment (Jackson et al., 2018, p. 1872). Instagram’s interactive media environment also enriches a sense of community by helping users interact with other members of feminist networks (Jackson et al., 2018, p. 1972). The comments section on celebrity accounts is a particularly rich area for feminists to participate in conversations and demonstrate support for feminist perspectives (Prøitz et al., 2019). This space promotes a sense of solidarity and strengthens relationships between members of feminist networks (Bailey, 2015). Further, celebrities establish a sense of togetherness and support by sharing content produced by other members of feminist counterpublics (Jackson et al., 2018, p. 1874). For example, on International Women’s Day, author Clementine Ford shared Instagram posts from other feminist accounts to demonstrate her support for their ideas (see figure 2). This strengthens community ties between networked individuals and heightens awareness of imagined communities on the platform. Hashtags are also important tools to connect with and express support for users with similar beliefs (Turley & Fisher, 2018, p. 4). For example, Australian author Clementine Ford shared the hashtag #toomanymen in an Instagram post to demonstrate her support for feminist community members who use the hashtag (see figure 3). Thus, by using their Instagram accounts as a platform to host discussions and nurture supportive relationships between feminists, celebrities play a crucial role in developing feminist communities.

Figure 2: Sharing content that celebrates international women’s day
Figure 3: Promoting #toomanyme

Educating People on Feminist Issues

Furthermore, advocate movements play an important role in educating people about feminist issues and concerns. In order to foster informed feminist communities, activist content must be presented in a way that enhances interest and engagement (Christiano & Neimand, 2017). Due to the sheer volume of content available online, advocates often struggle to engage the attention of new users, especially young audiences who privilege entertaining and stimulating content (Bouse, 2016, p. 42). However, Instagram caters to these needs of young people by offering a highly visual and interactive platform (Caldeira, 2020). Abbie Chatfield uses Instagram stories to share personal viewpoints on feminist issues in a conversational manner. This method of presenting information makes information more digestible and appeals to younger audiences by allowing them to process this information more easily (Fondevila-Gascón et al., 2020). Similarly, the visual microblogging nature of Instagram encourages celebrities to convey feminist ideas using graphic material and concise captions. For example, in 2014, American singer Beyonce posted an Instagram photo of herself recreating the popular American World War II feminist wartime poster, “We Can Do It” (see figure 4). This photo used visual codes to communicate feminist themes such as female empowerment. By presenting feminist ideas in this way, celebrities improve engagement with younger audiences and the educational potential of their material.

Figure 4: Beyonce recreating the We Can Do It poster

Another way that Instagram facilitates education of feminist issues is by allowing celebrities to share and comment on existing media content (Krueger, 2019). For example, freelance food writer and MasterChef Australia host Melissa Leong used Instagram to share an article about workplace harassment written by MasterChef contestant Poh Ling Yeow. This enhanced the educational potential of her platform by exposing her followers to additional feminist content. Also, by tagging the author of the article, Leong strengthened network connections between feminist accounts and improved the discoverability of new feminist material (Baker et al., 2020, p. 33). Furthermore, Instagram provides an opportunity for celebrities to comment on existing media, such as TV programs, and showcase their ideas and opinions in an informal forum. For example, feminist author Clementine Ford uses Instagram Stories to provide a weekly recap of the popular television program Married at First Sight and express her feminist opinions on the show’s events (see figure 5 and 6). This helps raise awareness and educate her audience on relevant feminist issues in modern society. Also, sharing this topical media content creates a sense of relevance and immediacy which enhances audience engagement (Savolainen et al., 2020). Whilst some people say that information online is deemed unreliable, the personal nature of social media platforms fosters a sense of authenticity and creates a highly receptive environment for educating audiences on feminist issues (Casey & Watson, 2017; Kowalczyk & Pounders, 2016). Thus, by allowing celebrities to share and critique existing media content in a personal setting, Instagram enhances educational opportunities.

Figure 5: Photo of Married at First Sight episode with recap captions
Figure 6: Recapping episode of Married at First Sight

Promoting Change

While community building and education are important aspects of advocacy, the core goal of advocate movements is to promote societal change (Christiano & Neimand, 2017). Celebrities have a high level of visibility and credibility which makes their social media accounts ideal sites to achieve this (Franklyn, 2016, p. 11). Instagram has helped stimulate change by providing a platform for celebrities to highlight examples of sexism and anti-feminism. For example, Bachelor contestant Abbie Chatfield uses Instagram stories to highlight issues of sexist representation in mainstream media articles written by The Daily Mail (see figure 7 and 8). Chatfield’s Instagram account has high visibility due to its high following, which allows her ideas to gain traction and go ‘viral’. This promotes change by encouraging mainstream media organisations to remove anti-feminist content to avoid negative public relations (Jackson et al., 2018, p. 1876). Similarly, social media allows users to draw attention towards anti-feminist conduct on the app which helps promote behavioural change (Rentschler, 2014). For example, Chatfield uses Instagram reels to expose anti-feminist messages from an Instagram user. By making the user’s profile visible on her platform, she invites her followers to plague the user with feminist messages of disapproval. This promotes change by discouraging users from posting similar anti-feminist content on her platform. Thus, Instagram promotes action against content that challenges feminist beliefs.

Figure 7: Screenshot of mainstream media article with captions
Figure 8: Critiquing representations of women on mainstream media

In addition to raising awareness for feminist issues, digital spaces have helped celebrities empower people to act upon their beliefs (Al-Emadi & Imene, 2020). Due to their social prestige and status, celebrities possess great power to influence the actions of their followers (Franklyn, 2016, pp. 16-18). Hence, while some people argue that online activism is not effective because online users are not easily mobilised (Kim & Ringrose, 2018, p. 49), celebrities are driving social change by motivating networked feminist communities. The ability for users to share their reactions and opinions on social media allows feminist celebrities to demonstrate how to respond to criticism (Rentschler, 2015). For example, Chatfield not only shares anti-feminist messages that she receives, but also adds humorous commentary and upbeat music (see figure 9). This inspires her audience to demobilise anti-feminism and improves confidence to publicly perform their identities (Rentschler, 2015). Furthermore, the comments section on Instagram provides a space for celebrities to have discussions with other users about their content, and potentially shut down anti-feminist remarks that occur on the app. The visibility of these responses once again informs people on how to respond to anti-feminist messages and empowers them to do the same.

Figure 9: Responding to feminist hate comments from an Instagram user


Social media has significantly changed political advocacy by offering new ways for activists to interact with networked communities and promote change. However, due to the millions of users on social network sites, everyday advocates can struggle to engage and motivate new audiences to act on social issues. The visibility and credibility of celebrity figures on social media allows them to reach mass audiences and convince them to act. Therefore, I argue that celebrities on Instagram have played a crucial role in advancing advocate movements by encouraging users to utilise platform affordances. Specifically, this paper has explored how celebrities utilise the affordances of Instagram to promote feminist identities in young women, build virtual feminist communities, educate people on feminist issues, and promote action to support feminist objectives.


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Image References

Chatfield, C. [abbiechatfield]. (2021a, March 8). Screenshot of mainstream media article with captions. Instagram.

Chatfield, C. [abbiechatfield]. (2021b, March 8). Critiquing representations of women on mainstream media. Instagram.

Chatfield, C. [abbiechatfield]. (2021c, March 20). Responding to feminist hate comments from an Instagram user. Instagram.

Ford, C. [clementine_ford]. (2021a, March 8). Sharing content that celebrates international women’s day. Instagram.

Ford, C. [clementine_ford]. (2021b, March 22). Promoting #toomanymen. Instagram.

Ford, C. [clementine_ford]. (2021c, March 28). Photo of Married at First Sight episode with recap captions.

Ford, C. [clementine_ford]. (2021d, March 28). Recapping episode of Married at First Sight.

Hall, B., A. [brookeashleyhall]. (2021, March 8). Celebrating international women’s day. Instagram.

Knowles-Carter, B., G. [beyonce]. (2014, July 22). Beyonce recreating the We Can Do It poster. Instagram.

41 thoughts on “Instagram Celebrities Leading a New Wave of Feminism

  1. Hi Rebekah,

    Your paper clearly highlighted how celebrities have effectively used social media platform such as Instagram to influence the young audiences and promote feminism.

    I like your paper which includes a lot of visual illustration using photos of celebrities to put their messages across to the audiences.

    Best regards,

  2. Wow Layla!

    Thanks for the interesting read.

    Feminism is very interesting, as everybody describes it differently. I will admit that I really do not know as much about this topic as I should – so your paper really enlightened me on some things.

    I pose a question to you: Do you think some big names act as ‘feminists’ for attention? Or to win more followers and make it a popularity contest?


    1. Hi Erin,

      Thank you for reading my paper! I’m glad you enjoyed it and my paper was able to enlighten you on Feminist issues!

      I definitely agree that some celebrities use feminism for attention and to align their personal brands with favourable attitudes, rather than posting because they genuinely care. However, regardless of their motives, I think that celebrities still play a crucial role in enhancing advocacy movements by improving their visibility and engaging more people in Feminist messages (Kim & Ringrose, 2018, p. 52).

      Thank you once again for your comment!

      Kim, C., & Ringrose, J. (2018). “Stumbling upon feminism”: Teenage girls’ forays into digital and school-based feminisms. Girlhood Studies, 11(2), 46-62.

  3. Hello Rebekah!
    I hope you are doing well!
    First of all, thank you for this very informative paper, I really enjoyed reading it.

    I do agree with you that social media has increased the potential efficacy of advocate movements and has also lend a voice to many people.
    You mentioned about building online communities and celebrities and most of your examples were based on women and feminism. My question here is that do you agree that in these online communities, male celebrities must also advocate for feminism? I believe that man also can advocate for feminism.
    I really liked the point you developed on educating people on feminist issues!! Do you think that influencers in general must make their followers aware of what is feminism? Because there is a lot of misconception around this.
    Overall you did a great job!

    Take care,

    1. Hello Lakshana!

      Thanks for taking the time to read my paper, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      From my experience, many of the people who advocate for Feminism are women, and this is why I have only included examples from this gender. If I had a greater word count it would have definitely been interesting to explore how men have engaged with Feminism though!

      I definitely agree that it is important for male celebrities to advocate for Feminism to promote greater change. Male celebrities who do this, for example John Legend, are crucial to encourage other men to do the same. Not that men are not inspired and influenced by Feminist women, my point is more that male celebrities hold a greater male audience, so their platforms are better equipped to broadcast Feminist messages to this demographic!

      And yes, I definitely think it’s important for celebrities to promote awareness and educate people on ideas such as feminism. However, not everyone has these beliefs so it would be cruel to enforce it! Feels like a shame if celebrities do not use their platforms to promote change; in an ideal world, it would be good if all celebrities used their platforms to educate and raise awareness towards important issues rather than simply self presentation.

      Thanks again for reading my paper!

  4. Hi Rebekah,
    I thought this was really important to discuss. Social media has been an amazing way to give a voice to minorities. This specifically looking at women and how they are able to speak up and not be spoken over by men. Understandably they face a lot of backlash , especially if they had already had a prevalent career within the public eye. What I was curious about was how often are people ‘shouted down’ when they do not have a large or loyal platform. Whether during their ability to speak up about injustices in the world, while unique voices are being ignored because they don’t have fame to back them. Further having trending hashtags such as #notallmen whether that silences certain people.

    1. Hi Anika,

      Thanks for reading my paper! I agree, social media has been extremely important at offering a voice to people in marginalised groups, including women in highly conservative environments who feel silenced by those around them.

      That’s an interesting question that you have asked about how much backlash people receive without a large or loyal platform. I wonder if you mean micro-celebrities with smaller followings or just average social media users who promote their beliefs, but I guess these are similar anyway! Personally, I think that these people would actually receive less backlash because their smaller platform means that they have less visibility to people with opposing views. Abbie Chatfield for instance received hundreds of negative comments each day after appearing on the Bachelor, which demonstrates how fame can amplify backlash! However, smaller platforms may also find it more difficult to deal with hate – even if they receive less – due to the lack of a support network.

      I agree that people with smaller accounts compared to celebrities have less ability to promote their views and incite change due to their lack of visibility. This is why I think it is important for celebrities to use their accounts to promote other people’s views, for example by sharing Instagram stories, which will direct their followers towards more unknown and unique accounts.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  5. Hi, Rebekah!

    I have to say I absolutely loved reading your paper! It is very well written and backed up with some solid research and examples. As a feminist myself, it made me very happy to learn that many celebrities are using their platforms to spread positive feminist messages to their audiences, especially their young and impressionable fans.

    People tend to focus on the negative aspects that come with social media, so it is refreshing to read about how social media offers new ways for activists to promote their identities and express their constructive views. The fact that political movements solely depended on face- to- face communication to spread their message in the past is crazy to think about. It seems so inefficient and ineffective now. Social Media really allowed us to overcome the barriers of physical distance, and we can spread information to almost anybody online. I really liked how you stated that online platforms allow people in remote and marginalised communities to engage in online advocacy easily. People often overlook this aspect because it has become so normalised. The truth is, it was so hard for these communities to have a voice in the past.

    I particularly enjoyed your section on promoting change, as that is the most important aspect of online advocacy to me. What is the use of all the talk if no action comes of it? Since celebrities have such a high level of credibility and visibility, a lot of people can be influenced by their positive messages. As you stated, social media draws attention to the issue at hand and then incites behavioural change in real life. I actually explore this idea in my own paper on how social media can be really beneficial to mental health. Witnessing the experiences of other people through their social media actually influences the choices made by patients, such as what treatment options to use (Gupta & Ariefdjohan, 2020). Moreover, hearing how other individuals who suffered from similar mental ailments coped through the disease can decrease the negativity towards it and offer a framework on how to manage uncertainties (Gupta & Ariefdjohan, 2020).

    If you’re interested in finding out more, please check out my paper here:

    Overall, i think this is a great paper! Great job 🙂

    Gupta, R., & Ariefdjohan, M. (2020). Mental illness on Instagram: a mixed method study to characterize public content, sentiments, and trends of antidepressant use. Journal of Mental Health, 1–8.

    1. Hi Levinia,

      Thank you so much for reading my paper!

      I agree, social media has definitely enhanced advocate movements like Feminism by allowing people to move away from face-to-face communication, which was definitely inefficient and ineffective as you have mentioned!

      I agree that promoting change is one of the most important aspects of advocacy, and this is definitely where celebrities shine due to their ability to incite positive change in the real world! I am very interested to read your paper because mental health is very relevant to social media due to the amount of time that people spend on platforms, which sometimes exceeds the time that they spend with people in physical space.

      Thanks again for your comments and I look forward to reading your paper!

  6. Hi Rebekah!

    This a great paper that utilises relevant and current content as examples very well – I especially like how you’ve analysed the different affordances of social media platforms and how they’ve been used by celebrities to enhance the Feminist community.

    However, what are your thoughts about celebrities who use the same platforms to promote messages that are anti-Feminist, misogynistic, homophobic, racist etc.? (E.g. historically Donald Trump – thankfully he no longer has social media!).

    Additionally, what are your thoughts about celebrities as role models in general? Recent discussions surrounding the Kardashians/Jenners have highlighted that they have long promoted unreachable body standards for young women, which have impacted their millions of followers. Who do you think decides whether a celebrity is deemed a ‘good Feminist role model’, and how that impacts their audiences?

    1. Hi Lauren!

      That’s an interesting question that you have posed about celebrities that post contradictory view on social media platforms. Personally, I think this is quite rare due to the public outrage that it can cause. For example, you have mentioned Donald Trump as someone who does this, and I think many people have lost respect and trust for him due to behaving like this. Hence, in general I think that celebrities feel pressure to present a consistent identity in online spaces, which discourages them from posting contradicting content.

      I think celebrities can make very good role models if they have good motives, such as educating people on issues and promoting societal change. This encourages their audience to adopt positive habits and values, and doesn’t negatively impact their mental health. On the other hand, as you have mentioned, the Kardashians/Jenners are celebrities who use their platform to improve their personal brands and promote products. I think that these types of celebrities are not necessarily good role models because they boast luxurious lifestyles and reproduce unattainable beauty standards which can contribute to mental health issues.

      Once again, thanks for your comment!

  7. Hi Elissa!
    I don’t follow anyone on Instagram who promote feminist advocacy so your paper was very insightful!
    As someone who is new to this topic, do you think women like Clementine Ford and Abbie Chatfield get backlash from other people online who don’t agree or have the same feministic views that they do? If so, how do they deal with harsh comments and do their followers support them? If not do you think that there is a strong sense of community between them and their followers that perhaps people dare not project their conflicting opinions on feminism because of the hate that the opposition may receive?

    1. Hi Alicia,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my paper! Yes, I definitely think that Feminists like Clementine Ford and Abbie Chatfield get backlash from people who disagree with the views that they promote. I think this is amplified by the online environment because social media has allowed so many people to connect and communicate, and as a result more people with conflicting views have been able to come together and have debates! I think this is both a good and bad thing, on one hand it allows people to experience new ideas and perspectives, but it also increases conflict which can have detrimental effects on mental health!

      I think celebrities deal with harsh comments in a number of ways, but mainly blocking and ignoring negative messages. When they receive more serious abuse, they also tend to ‘expose’ the perpetuators to discourage these types of messages on a wider scale. Their followers definitely support them by offering messages of reassurance and also sending disapproving messages to online bullies. I agree, this definitely represents the strong sense of community between celebrities and their followers. And yes, I think it also helps reduce general abuse against Feminists by making bullies more hesitant to project their views out of fear of being opposed.

      Thanks once again for your comments!

  8. Hey Rebekah,

    I loved your paper and absolutely adore Abbie Chatfield and Clementine Ford.

    My point I really want to hone in on is when you say Abbie Chatfield’s large following and advocacy are allowing her to break into mainstream media. I feel Clementine Ford does this well too. However, my point is do you feel this is contributing to Australia’s largely white media landscape and favoring of white people? I think it is great that their advocacy work on feminist issues is gaining media attention however, is this coming at the cost of feminists of colour? I think the perfect example of this is Flex Mami who has been active in the advocacy sphere longer than Chatfield, to my knowledge but does not break through the same way Chatfield does.

    My other point is one that I’ve just sort of had an epiphany in the past couple of days. A lot of us have written about how marginalised groups are advocating through social media and the benefits of that. See:
    Grace Cayley on TikTok’s Bimbo Feminism: Feminist Activism in the Digital Age. (Identity and Online Advocacy)
    Kristy Stevens on Mums’ Groups and the Patriarch: How online parenting communities reinforce patriarchal expectations of mothers (Online Networks and Social Change)
    Lauren Anderson on The Fourth Wave: How Social Media has Revolutionised Feminism (Online Networks and Social Change)
    Or Mine How AJ Clementine is making that light bulb moment for Transgender youth a whole lot easier (Identity and Online Advocacy).
    To me, all of these papers are coming from an extreme point of privilege that is only allowed to exist in the first world. Would you agree with this?

    This is exemplified by the recent case of Australian Zara Key who went back to Tanzania for family reasons, who since living in Australia renounced her Muslim faith and became a feminist advocate (Blakkarly, 2021). She was summoned for arrest, where she was held for 32 hours, was questioned about her organisation’s campaigning, why she left Islam, and was raped while in custody (Blakkarly, 2021). While I am so glad we are so lucky to be in a position to write about these issues so freely so many people aren’t. So while I feel these advocates are doing great jobs domestically, internationally it is a completely different story. Do you agree with this?

    I really look forward to your reply!
    Thank you so much, Connor 🙂

    1. Hi Connor,

      This is a really insightful comment. I think It’s really interesting that you point out the difference with Abbie Chatfield’s popularity in mainstream media compared to Flex Mami. However, it is important to highlight that their are some stark differences in their platforms, e.g. Abbie Chatfield was a contestant on the ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelor in Paradise’, reaching large mainstream media audiences. I personally dont believe Flex Mami would indulge in mainstream media like this. Therefore it is hard to compare as they are quite different. In my group of friends, we talk a lot more and listen to podcasts from Flex Mami than we do Abbie Chatfield, so maybe they have different audiences.

      I also found in interesting the number of papers written on marginalised groups and advocating on social media, I have read/commented on a majority of the other papers you have shared!

      Thanks Connor 🙂

      1. Hi Megan,

        Thanks for commenting! I very much agree with your point that Abbie Chatfield and Flex Mami have become famous from different situations, and this attributes to their level of popularity! Hence, it is definitely difficult to say whether race has impacted their populatity, or simply environmental factors such as which television programs they have appeared in. Thanks again for your comment.

    2. Hi Connor!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my paper! I found the point that you raised about white celebrities dominating the media landscape and reducing the visibility of feminists of colour very interesting. However, I personally don’t think that their fame reduces media attention of feminists of colour. The issues that Abbie Chatfield and Clementine Ford raise are highly universal to all women, including those of colour. And although they are often not going out of their way to highlight racial issues, they are not silencing them either. I do agree that it would be nice if there was more media attention towards feminists of colour; however, I think celebrities such as Abbie Chatfield can also help facilitate this. For example, not long ago, Abbie Chatfield collaborated with singer and feminist Lizzo, which encouraged her followers to explore racial issues through the content that Lizzo shares on her account. I also want to add that I don’t think Abbie Chatfield’s popularity can be attributed to her race, but rather the mainstream media television programs that she has featured on!

      I definitely agree with the other point you make on how this conference has revealed the differences between social media use in different countries. I appreciate the example you raise about Australian Zara Key. First world countries are definitely privileged in the sense that they have more freedom of speech to talk about issues such as feminism. Due to this ability, I think it is extremely important for people in first world nations such as ourselves to use their power and freedom to explore and broadcast issues that other people are not permitted to discuss.

      Thanks again for your comment!

      1. Hey Rebekah,

        Thank you so much for replying to my comment.

        Please don’t think I didn’t enjoy your paper because of my comments I loved it and thought it was a great choice. I was also trying to be critical of a paper I enjoyed so much, so please take that as a compliment!

        I completely agree with you that with our privilege in the first world we should be utilising that as much as possible to advocate for change, however, I feel that with this privilege we are forgetting about the third world. My point is that when these advocates, like Chatfield or Ford, rarely breakthrough into our mainstream media landscape it isn’t on large-scale shows. The last time I recall Abbie Chatfield breaking into the mainstream media was a couple of weeks ago when she was a guest on “The Drum” on the ABC. As you can tell that is not a major media breakthrough it’s not on prime time not a large-scale channel like seven or nine.

        These advocates are rarely breaking through our mainstream media and coverage on advocates are even more rarely breaking through mainstream media, my example of Zara Key was only reported on SBS World News, and I only knew about it because it fell on a night I watched SBS world news.

        My long-winded point basically is I think our mainstream media landscape is the problem, it is largely what shapes the opinions of the masses (McInroy & Craig, 2015), and when that changes these advocates can create real change instead of in their exclusive counter publics/echo chambers.

        As for Megan, Hey Megan!

        Flex Mami was actually just un Channel Seven’s, I really hate Channel Seven so snaps for Flex for surviving that, Big Brother.

        My other point in comparing Flex Mami and Abbie Chatfield, which was recently discussed on Shameless, I’ll link the episode below. It was regarding Abbie Chatfield’s vibrator and how she was receiving praise for advocating for women’s health, while influencers like Flex Mami have been doing this for years, yet she has been sung no praises (Andrews & McDonald, 2021). Why is this? Again, I feel this is a reflection of a mainstream media landscape.

        Sorry if I came across a bit manic, this conference is ending soon haha.

        Andrews, M., & McDonald, Z. (Host). (2021, April 8). A black market bikini photo [Audio podcast episode]. In Shameless. Spotify.
        McInroy, L. B., & Craig, S. L. (2015). Transgender representation in offline and online media: LGBTQ youth perspectives. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 25(6), 606-617.

  9. Hi Rebekah,

    Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for the incredibly well written, researched, referenced and argued paper. The structure, flow and addition of image examples made for an interesting and informative read!

    I completely agree with your argument that celebrities on Instagram have played a crucial role in advancing advocate movements by encouraging users to utilise platform affordances. As you have demonstrated and elaborated on, Instagram and by association many social media platforms have the innate ability to both increase and promote activism – especially when paired with celebrity reach.

    For the benefit of further discussion, I do have a couple of points that I would love your comments and opinion on.

    My first question is how much do you feel like this activism is a ploy for increased followers, associated business opportunities and for want of a better word, clout? You use Abbie Chatfield for several of your examples, and while I am not discounting the incredible work she is doing for feminism and feminist movements, I do wonder how much of her content is performative activism? Is she actively participating in all of the associated discourse, or rather does she use this movement as a means of solidifying her ‘celebrity’ status through increased follower numbers, engagement, and topical relevance? I am obviously not an expert in this area, but I do also wonder what the fact that she was a contestant on The Bachelor has on her authenticity? For myself, The Bachelor is reality TV show that promotes and thrives on a completely non-feminist idea – 20 women metaphorically (although sometimes actually) fighting over a single eligible male.

    Another point I would like to raise is your argument in the first ‘Promoting Change’ paragraph concerning Abbie Chatfield “invite[ing] her followers to plague the user with feminist messages of disapproval.” For myself, I find that there is a fine line between what someone believes to be right and wrong, and what others also believe. Is Chatfield using her platform and power to attack individuals, despite what they have said, the right way to deal with such scenarios? Should she be more responsible for her audience, given both her celebrity status and platform power? The reality of social media is that, just as an affordance to discoverability and advocacy, anyone has the ability to follow her, and if asked to single someone out and ‘plague’ them, there is the potential for this to have some dire consequences, as an influencer can never truly know each and every one of the individuals that follow them, or indeed their complex dispositions and possible reactions. I believe that sending bullying and harassment, be it in the guise of activism or not, is not the way to change public opinion, and can cause more problems than it can solve. How do you feel about this?

    I look forward to getting your response to my questions and would once again like to thank you on your excellent paper!


    1. Hi Simon,

      Thanks for reading my paper! That’s an interesting question you have asked about how genuine celebrities are when promoting advocate movements. I definitely agree that many celebrities use advocacy to improve their personal brands. This is certainly true of Feminism because I have seen many influencers, particularly models, claim to be feminists while sharing content that promotes the opposite. However, I believe that the specific celebrities I have mentioned in my article are on the more authentic side of the spectrum. I don’t want to go all out and say that they are 100% authentic because I think all celebrities feel pressure to maintain a positive image in the eyes of their followers, which effects what content they share. I think this is particularly true of the celebrities who advocate for movements like Feminism because their audiences are mainly advocates, and they would expect certain content to be delivered.

      Personally, I do not believe that Abbie Chatfield’s content is performative activism because she has maintained a consistent identity, even as she has gained followers. However, I’m glad you brought this up because it gives me an opportunity to explain her background. I agree with you, The Bachelor endorses a very non-feminist idea; however, Abbie Chatfield was framed as ‘the villain’ in The Bachelor, and her Feminist values were actually what made people dislike her. On the show, Abbie unapologetically owned her sexuality and openly discussed her healthy ‘sexual appetite’ (Walters, 2020). However, the producers edited the show in such a way that this was seen as bad – like adding dramatic foreshadowing music when she was speaking. Hence, the issue that audiences had with her was that she was seen as an overly confident, ruthless temptress. It wasn’t until Abbie began to ‘clap back’ at hate comments and point out that people were defending outdated patriarchal views by not allowing her to be confident that people began to see her differently. This earned Chatfield a lot of respect, and she now uses her platform to confront the patriarchal values that saw her publicly shamed. It’s important to note that her values never changed though; she didn’t suddenly change to promote progressive Feminist views, so I think this demonstrates her authenticity.

      That’s another good point you bring up about how morally correct Abbie Chatfield’s method of responding to hate comments is. I agree with you, publicly exposing users is not the ideal way to manage trolling and abuse. It does feel a bit extreme; however, her actions need to be put into context. Here is a link to an Instagram caption written by Abbie Chatfield explaining the abuse that she has received from being on The Bachelor ( I still agree that her method of exposing people can cause harm, but looking at the context of the situation it’s clear that she tried numerous other methods before resorting to this. Her actions are an expression of intense frustration over a very serious situation, and although she should probably be thinking about the impact that her actions could have , I think her main concern is to protect herself and others that could be harmed by similar abuse. In situations like this, wrong and right is very blurred.

      Thank you for your detailed comments and very thought-provoking questions, I really appreciate it! Also, I’m glad you enjoyed my paper.

      Walters, K. (2020, July 15). Bachelor star Abbie Chatfield reveals the real reason why women hate her on TV… and the awful person from our past she reminds everyone of. Daily Mail.

    2. Hi Simon,
      I found your points quite validand thought provoking. While people should have the freedom to express themselves, defend themselves and speak out about harassment they have experienced in order to push the blame off of the victim and back onto the perpetrator where it belongs, such as with Rebekah’s example, “Chatfield not only shares anti-feminist messages that she receives, but also adds humorous commentary and upbeat music”, they need to be mindful of their motivations behind their responses. I do not think that, just because Abbie Chatfield is a high profile person, she should not call out her harassers, as they need to be held accountable for their actions, but I agree that she should not encourage retaliation harassment. While a single person’s bullying is tough to deal with and can damage your sense of self worth, thousands of hate speech messages and comments can have a toll on ones mental health. People who have prejudice towards people that are different to them, whether it be religion, race, beliefs or gender are this way because of a lack of empathy and education. They need to have their perspectives changed by disproving their beliefs rather than being attacked for being ignorant.

      1. Very well said Eva, thanks for your comment!

        I like how you have connected the issue to mental health – I think this is very relevant to all online spaces. Since online communication often occurs between physically distant users, and even anonymous identities, it’s easy for people to forget that they are talking to another human being. From my experience on social media platforms, this often makes people more brash to eachother, which can have harmful side effects on the victim’s mental health. I agree that celebrities in particular should use their platform to promote good behaviour because they have the reach to do so.

  10. Hi Rebekah,

    Yes, that’s a really good point you make regarding Abbie Chatfield’s experience online. She is so good at dealing with trolls now, I had actually forgotten about that time she was not doing so well. Thanks for the reference link!
    You’re right though -as her community has grown, she has become more supported and better equiped to deal with the trolls and abuse. In turn, Chatfield educates her followers on feminist issues further creating a supportive online environment.

    Wouldn’t it be nice though if we lived in a world in which women and girls can freely discuss feminist issues without abuse. It is good we have these strong feminist women such as Chatfield and Ford to lead the way and create supportive online spaces in the meantime.

    Thanks for such a detailed discussion on this!

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Elissa,

      I totally agree, I love how Abbie Chatfield has maintained a sense of authenticity, even after gaining followers, and used her platform to create a safe and supportive environment for the discussion of Feminist issues!

      Indeed, it would be nice if Feminism wasn’t so taboo! I know too many Feminists who are scared to discuss their beliefs in public, probably out of fear of being judged or abused. But yes, I do agree that we are heading in the right direction with resilient feminist women leading the way!

      Thanks so much for your comments!

  11. Hi Rebekah!

    This perspective you’ve chosen to approach advocacy from, by exploring feminism in the online context, was really interesting to read about, as it’s something that I often engage with online!

    We tend to think about how social media can have such negative effects on users, and how toxic these environments can be, but I think your paper shows just how positive it can also be. If you curate a feed that shows you this kind of empowering content, it creates a different atmosphere towards the app, as being for more than just egregious self-presentational fame, but for community driven purpose, education and change.

    I loved how you described Instagram as “an informal forum” because I think this is a significant reason why using it for advocacy has been so successful. It makes advocacy content a part of our daily experience, but in a subtle way through this constant re-exposure in such a normalised manner. It lessens the intimidation factor, and thus encourages others to get involved.

    Something of note that you briefly mention, is how influencers and advocates use social media to “promote their beliefs”. I think this is something important to highlight when discussing online advocacy or influencer culture in general, because although it appears that we have greater access to more perspectives, the perspectives that are more visible, are those with lots of followers.

    Due to this hierarchy created on Instagram, it’s really only a small percentage of voices that get disseminated to the wider masses. Although some of them try to use their platform to share the perspectives from smaller users, like in your Instagram story example, it’s still a process of selection and omission on the celebrity’s part, of what they determine to be worthy to share. Not only do they become the face of these advocacy movements online, but they also become the gatekeepers for information to a certain extent, actively curating what the movement looks like. Although there are more diverse micro-celebrities gaining traction within their own niches online, the reality is that they will still fall into these dichotomies of follower and leader, as we aren’t equal online (Marwick, 2013).

    I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this, as this topic is such an interesting and constantly evolving area! My paper looks at death online, which is also an evolving area too, so do check it out!

    Marwick, A. E. (2013). Status update: Celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age. Yale University Press.

    1. Hi Gemma,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my paper! I feel exactly the same way; people often hold negative attitudes towards social media platforms like Instagram, but I think it’s important to recognise that they can also be positive. As you’ve said, it really depends on the type of ‘feed’ that you have! I think it should be acknowledged that Instagram has negative impacts, like reproducing unrealistic body image ideals; however, it also has the capacity to do the opposite and advocate for change.

      Yes, I totally agree, Instagram has definitely helped normalise advocacy so it is less intimidating for new users. The platform makes it so easy for users to view Feminist content and participate in advocacy without changing how they are. Celebrities have also facilitated this process by presenting Feminist content in such a way that appears more fun and appealing.

      And yes, I very much agree with your last comment about the struggle to be heard on social media platforms like Instagram. Celebrities are very privileged in the sense that they have an automatic audience to ‘hear’ their messages, and therefore I think celebrities have a big responsibility to carefully choose what material they share. They are certainly gatekeepers for Feminist information, and they should use this power wisely and for the good of the movement!

  12. Hi Rebekah!

    I really loved your paper – I think it’s interesting to see how politics can be transformed into something appealing and digestible on social media.

    I’d love to get your thoughts on how Instagram may be leading people to performative versions of feminism (#girlboss style content), where female influencers are doing things to be seen as empowering women, while not necessarily engaging with feminist rhetoric. The same applies to accounts that post generic ‘feminist content’ – like the account that was simply @feminist which was run by two cis men (

    Is it useful for young audiences to be seeing this content, which may lead them into exploring more comprehensive feminist concepts, or is it misleading these audiences into the same kind of performative feminism that gets displayed on social media?

    I’m not sure where I stand on this issue myself – I certainly remember being younger and becoming introduced to concepts of feminism through social media, and over time realising that a lot of what I learned was flawed, or at least worth re-examining. On the other hand, I do think that initial exposure, and making feminism seem appealing is a valuable gateway for young audiences.

    Thanks for sharing your paper! It was a really interesting read – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    1. Hi Maddison!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my paper! That’s an interesting point that you have raised about Instagram encouraging performative versions of feminism. This is something I wanted to write about in my essay, but I didn’t have the word count to do so. You’re right, Instagram facilitates shallow engagement in the sense that users can simply write about feminism in their bio or share an image, caption, or story about Feminist issues with little effort and care. As a result, Instagram is providing a platform for people to lazily spread feminist platitudes without embodying these qualities. Celebrities who post about Feminist content in this way are often using feminism as a selling point to attract followers and improve sentiment towards their personal brands, rather than genuinely caring for the issue. And without true passion for Feminism, how can we expect them to truly inspire others!

      I love the ideas that you have raised! You’re right, performative feminism has benefits, such as spreading awareness for feminist issues and encouraging people to explore feminist concepts further. And it also has drawbacks which you have mentioned, like promoting ‘slacktivism’ and making people think of feminism as a less serious issue (Gilmore, 2014).

      I’m on the fence with this debate too, but I think I mostly agree with the positive impact of performative feminism at making feminist concepts more appealing and digestible to younger audiences, and providing a gateway, as you have said, for people to explore feminist concepts further. Passionate feminist celebrities, such as Clementine Ford, while very educational and accurate in terms of the content that they share, can also be seen as intense and intimidating to new audiences. Thus, I believe ‘performative’ celebrities have been crucial at ‘hooking’ young audiences onto feminist content, where they can later graduate to more serious ideas. However, in order to facilitate this transition, I think it is important for feminists to establish good networks on Instagram and share feminist content from fellow users. This will expose the celebrity’s followers to different feminist ideas and accounts, and hopefully promote deeper curiosity to learn more about feminist issues.

      Thanks again for your thoughts on my paper, I appreciate the time you have taken to comment.

      Gilmore, S. (2014, November 11). The problem with #slacktivism. Macleans.

  13. Hi Rebekah!

    I absolutely loved reading your paper and think it was very well written. Your paper gave me an insight into the extremely positive effects of Instragram and influencer’s content. I think people these days, myself included, get caught up in the side of Instagram which isn’t so beneficial and positively influential, that we sometimes forget that there is a side to Instragram which influences people very positively. I do follow a few accounts who are advocates for feminism, my favourite being @madalingiorgetta who was once a health and fitness influencer, and decided to change her entire brand to focus on being a feminism activist and spread important information out to her massive following. During this change she lost hundreds of thousands of followers but still stuck to posting in what she believed in and empowering women to go against stereotypical standards.

    I would love to follow more accounts which share positive, empowering and educational content, and I am going to look into the accounts that you have discussed in your paper. If there are any others that you strongly recommend I would love to know!

    1. Hi Jules,

      Thanks for reading my paper, I’m glad you enjoyed it! What you’ve said is true, it’s very easy for people to think negatively of social media due to the media attention given to cyber bullying, depression, and inadequacy etc caused by online spaces. Therefore, I definitely agree that it’s important to celebrate the good aspects of social media to maintain positive sentiment towards these platforms.

      I hadn’t heard of @madalingiorgetta before you mentioned her, but she certainly seems like a very positive feminist influence. I love it when influencers find their passion and just commit to a cause, such as Feminism. The fact you mentioned that she lost followers for focusing on feminism reminds me of the occasions where I have seen people “come out” as LGBTQ on TikTok, and as a result they have lost followers. I find it astonishing how people will unfollow someone because they don’t agree with their identity, but I guess that is the nature of social media platforms. The fact that @madalingiorgetta continued to post feminist content even after losing hundreds of thousands of followers demonstrates that she is genuinely committed to the cause, and this is very important to build trust in influencers!

      I would be more than happy to give you more feminist suggestions! One celebrity I can recommend is Florence Given (@florencegiven), her account is very fun and aims to make women feel more confident and powerful. Gina Martin (@ginamartin) is another more political activist who aims to protect and inspire women, but her account is also very fun and quirky! Definitely check them out if you have time.

      Thanks again for reading my paper!

  14. Hi Rebekah!

    This was a very interesting read and I 100% agree with you. Celebrities have played a significant role in promoting social change through the use of social media platforms. When reading your essay, a celebrity that comes to mind who continuously speaks up and voices her opinions and facts on certain topics, especially feminism is Sophia Bush. I believe that with the engagement she has on Instagram, she has been able to promote and raise awareness on a myriad of issues ranging from feminism to movements such as the BLM and more.

    I liked how you’ve included evidence such as snapshots of the celebrities you’ve mentioned. It gives a better visual and gives a better read! I also liked how you’ve talked about the affordances of Instagram and how it has allowed celebrities to do what they do and use their platforms for the greater good of society.

    For the most part, I think celebrities used to use their platforms to promote their brand as well as themselves, increasing their engagement and fanbase. However, today, it has become more evident that these celebrities have started using their platforms for other purposes which has become more beneficial to society as their followers look up to them and therefore, the messages they spread via platforms are taken more seriously and their followers are more likely to listen to them, which I think is amazing.

    1. Hi Saranya,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my paper! I hadn’t heard of Sophia Bush before you mentioned her; however, after doing some research I agree that she is definitely an example of a celebrity who is actively engaging her followers in movements like feminism. Sophia Bush reposts feminist content created by other feminists on her Instagram account, which helps raise awareness for feminist issues. Also, Sophia takes full advantage of Instagram’s affordances by writing long captions for each photo to describe her personal thoughts on feminist issues and pose questions to her followers ( I think this is a powerful example of how celebrities are engaging people in advocate movements, because she invites discussion in her comments section.

      Thanks for your thoughts on how my paper was written. I agree, I think it was important to discuss the affordances of Instagram because they facilitate new forms of communication. While celebrities themselves play a large role in advancing advocacy movements such as feminism through their visibility and influence, the affordances of social media platforms provide the tools for them to do so. Hence, I believe Instagram’s affordances are important to enhance movements such as Feminism.

      That’s true, some celebrities post about advocate movements to align their personal brands with favourable attitudes, rather than posting because they genuinely care. However, I definitely agree that more celebrities are sincerely devoting themselves to different movements, especially those advocating for feminism. However, regardless of their motives, I think that celebrities still play a crucial role in enhancing advocacy movements by improving their visibility and engaging more people in the message (Kim & Ringrose, 2018, p. 52)!

      Kim, C., & Ringrose, J. (2018). “Stumbling upon feminism”: Teenage girls’ forays into digital and school-based feminisms. Girlhood Studies, 11(2), 46-62.

  15. Hi Rebekah!

    I love this, you’ve touched on some interesting points here and I enjoy how you’ve represented Instagram influencers as people creating positive and lasting change. Exploring how they do this by using affordances was an intelligent way of framing the argument.

    Women have continually classified Instagram as their favourite social networking site (Shane-Simpson, Manago, Gaggi & Gillespie-Lynch, 2018). Do you think this is due to the presence of influencers like Abbie and Clementine who actively post feminist content and challenge anti-women and misogynistic discourse?

    Great job!

    Shane-Simpson, C., Manago, A., Gaggi, N., & Gillespie-Lynch, K. (2018). Why do college students prefer Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Site affordances, tensions between privacy and self-expression, and implications for social capital. Computers in Human Behavior, 86, 276-288.

    1. Hi Coen,

      Thanks for reading my paper! That’s an interesting question that you have brought up about why women enjoy using the social media platform of Instagram. I’ve done some research into your question and it seems like women find Instagram appealing due to its visual nature and social features which facilitate identity and a sense of community (Seligson, 2016). This makes sense because the visual affordances of the app allow users to craft their identities by sharing photos and other content; and the social aspects of the app, such as commenting, following people and messaging, allow them to join community networks.

      However, I also agree that the presence of influencers such as Abbie Chatfield and Clementine Ford have made this platform more appealing to women by enhancing identity and community. Celebrities share inspirational content which empowers women to express their feminist identities. Celebrity accounts also promote conversations between community members by providing a safe space for feminist communities to interact and fostering a sense of togetherness. Therefore, I believe Instagram celebrities have definitely made Instagram more appealing to women by encouraging them to use the affordances of Instagram to form their identities and participate in communities!

      Seligson, H. (2016, June 8). Why Are More Women Than Men on Instagram? The Atlantic.

  16. Hi Rebekah, this was a really really insightful read, thank you for sharing. I found it particularly interesting your points on how the engagement between celebrities and Instagram users on feminist issues makes it easier for younger audiences to digest and engage with what can sometimes be very burdening information. I believe it is important to publicly have these discussions and praise users such as Abbie Chatfield who have been so open and honest about their own experiences. However do you think creating a pedestal on social media for these issues leaves celebrities too openly vulnerable to internalised misogyny and backlash from those who do not share the same views? Thank you again for this, I really enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Bonnie,

      Thanks for your feedback, I’m glad you enjoyed my paper! I totally agree, Instagram celebrities such as Abbie Chatfield have certainly helped translate complex feminist issues so they are more comprehensible to younger audiences.

      That’s a very interesting question that you have asked about how celebrities could be affected by expressing their Feminist beliefs. I think that encouraging celebrities to openly express their feminist identities definitely makes them more vulnerable to backlash from anti-feminists; however, the effects of this backlash are not always negative. Celebrities have a large following who support their beliefs, so when the celebrity is exposed to backlash, their followers can help defend the celebrity (Riquelme & Al-Thufery, 2018). This can be beneficial to foster a sense of togetherness in Feminist communities! Also, how celebrities respond to backlash on their accounts can help empower other Feminist users to do the same (Rentschler, 2015). Therefore, I believe backlash should not be feared because it can have positive outcomes and improve Feminist objectives.

      Do you agree with these ideas?

      Rentschler, C. (2015). #Safetytipsforladies: Feminist Twitter Takedowns of Victim Blaming. Feminist Media Studies. 15(2), 353-356 https://doi-org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1008749

      Riquelme, H. E., Rios, R., & Al-Thufery, N. (2018). Instagram: Its influence to psychologically empower women. Information Technology & People, 31(6), 1113-1134.

      1. Hi Rebekah!

        I loved reading this paper. I follow Clementine Ford and Abbie Chatfield on Instagram so I was interested to read your take on how they promote and advocate the feminist cause.

        I wanted to jump into the thread here, because I think it’s a very interesting argument you make. Clementine in particular attracts a lot of abuse and trolling. The abuse is so extreme and relentless, that I wonder how she engages with it on a regular basis.
        I really like your take on this – that the backlash should not be feared because it can lead to further empowerment and and furthering of the feminist movement. This is certainly true of Clementine’s online community. It rallies behind her, and in turn creates a supportive feminist environment for others in the community.
        I certainly agree with your ideas, however I think this kind of approach will only work for certain people. You need an incredibly thick skin to engage and call out that kind of trolling and abuse regularly. What do you think?

        You also may be interested to read my paper, which touches on similar ideas but focuses on the effectiveness s of feminist hashtags.


        1. Hi Elissa,

          Thank you for taking the time to read my paper! I’m glad you liked it. I totally agree with you; celebrities, particularly those who promote controversial ideologies, are highly prone to abuse and trolling because of their visibility. Feminist celebrities like Clementine Ford are perfect examples of this because Instagram is home to flourishing communities of both Feminists and *anti-feminists*.

          It would certainly be difficult for celebrities to handle this relentless abuse, and I agree that not all of them are equipped to do so. This type of abuse can cause serious emotional damage, making people feel “overwhelmed, vulnerable, powerless, exposed and even humiliated” (Skentelbery, 2020). Hence, celebrities definitely need a thick skin to manage the regular abuse they receive on their Instagram accounts. This is probably the reason why so many celebrities take breaks from social media, to distance themselves from online trolling. Even Feminist celebrity Abbie Chatfield, who now appears to be an expert at handling online abuse, admits that she was I was “suicidal, wasn’t eating” and would sit at her desk “crying all day” after receiving abusive DMs from appearing on The Bachelor (Duncan, 2020). However, as her support network grew, Chatfield became more resilient and empowered by her online community. Thus, I do believe online communities are extremely important at helping people handle abuse, and once celebrities attract and develop these communities, the effects of abuse are somewhat lessened.

          However, I do agree with you, celebrities who promote controversial beliefs like Feminism must be extremely passionate about the cause and committed to fight for their beliefs.

          Thanks for sharing your article, I look forward to reading it!

          Skentelbery, A. (2020, April 10). Effect of Internet trolling. Warrington Worldwide.,the%20person%20disinterest%20in%20life.

          Duncan, A. (2020, September 19). Abbie Chatfield reveals the ‘hideous’ abuse she copped from bachie viewers on instagram. Pedestrian.

          1. Hi Rebekah,

            Yes, that’s a really good point you make regarding Abbie Chatfield’s experience online. She is so good at dealing with trolls now, I had actually forgotten about that time she was not doing so well. Thanks for the reference link!
            You’re right though -as her community has grown, she has become more supported and better equiped to deal with the trolls and abuse. In turn, Chatfield educates her followers on feminist issues further creating a supportive online environment.

            Wouldn’t it be nice though if we lived in a world in which women and girls can freely discuss feminist issues without abuse. It is good we have these strong feminist women such as Chatfield and Ford to lead the way and create supportive online spaces in the meantime.

            Thanks for such a detailed discussion on this!

            Kind regards,

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