You may already know that INEND is heavily invested in working towards making the internet safe for all women and gender non-conforming people. We have previously held Tweet Chats on the manifestation of online Gender Based Violence and we have had conversations on what dating in a digital age looks like for queer people. As part of the process to continue demystifying the intricacies of the internet, we convened a workshop on the Feminist Principles of the Internet on 14th- 15th December in Nairobi, Kenya. We have heard a lot of conversations on different forums about making the internet feminist and we thought it would be absolutely splendid to bring together, a group of women, queer people and gender non-conforming people to develop a deeper understanding of what it would take to make the internet feminist.
The workshop was super interactive and inclusive and participants got a chance to speak about their work, their expectations, their feminisms and their experiences on the internet. The feminist principles of the internet were described as a set of guidelines that inform us on how to navigate the internet and maximize our use on the internet as we imagine a feminist internet. The conversation touched on access to the internet and the need to enable more women and queer persons to enjoy universal, acceptable, affordable, unconditional, meaningful, and open access to the internet. Additionally, it was mentioned that the right to access information relevant to women and queer persons, particularly information on sexual and reproductive health rights, pleasure, safe abortion, access to justice and LGBTIQ issues is completely paramount.
While using technology, it is important that we prioritise women and queer person’s right to code, design, adapt and critically and sustainably reclaim ICTs as a platform for creativity and expression, as well as to challenge the cultures of sexism and discrimination. There was further a recognition that offline patriarchal and homophobic systems have been replicated online and therefore resistance of these systems is a necessity. Movements have started and gained traction and impact online. Examples include the #MeToo campaign, #TotalShutdownSA and #TotalShutdownKE and the #TimesUp campaigns that all influenced national and global discourse on male violence, Intimate Partner Violence and sexual violence
Be sure to read the feminist principles of the internet here. This blog post will also specifically focus on the Speed Dating session of Day 2 that had the intention of getting the participants to have one on one conversations, particularly about their work, feminisms, expectations for the future, bond, create friendships. Participants, with consent, would then tweet any profound insights they captured during their conversations. This blog post is therefore going to be a striking haven of quotes, suggestions and statements from the amazing 30 people that INEND brought together.
- Feminism must always centre women, humanize their bodies and help them reclaim their body autonomy and agency.
- Give your body and self the love and attention that you freely give to others.
- I began loving my legs this year and that’s beyond amazing.
- As a trans man, I feel good expressing myself in feminist spaces.
- I feel awesome about this internet training.
- I am a radical feminist.
- I love feminist spaces because I feel heard and I learn a lot.
- I like the inclusion in this meeting. Let people advice you, but never let them decide for you.
- What I love most is being me and being in the movement-it makes me enlightened.
- Feminism for me means owning power to exist in my true self and skin.
- My body my policy.
- Those who keep the movement going are the radicals, but being radical is not enough, one should know when it is not working and develop working strategies.
- There is so much work we need to do in regards to having more queer spaces and sensitizing the masses on sexuality and gender.
- Women were not born to be subtle.
- I hope for a violence free society.
- We have enough legislation and policy around Gender Based Violence, what is lacking is their implementation.
- Women and queer persons have the right to code, design, adapt and critically and sustainably use the internet as a platform for creativity and expression, as well as to challenge the culture of sexism and discrimination in all spaces.
- I demand for privacy on the internet.
- Young women are embracing feminism.
- We are reclaiming our space as queer folk and we are taking up space in terms of decision making on the internet.
- We believe in challenging the patriarchal spaces and processes that control internet governance.
- Let us use the internet to make feminism known. Make noise, transformation is key.
- A feminist internet is free.
- Feminism=Power=Freedom=Dismantled Patriarchy.
- Feminism is like Mathematics, you have to show the work
- How do we use the power we have? Do we use it to oppress? Do we use it to build? Do we step on people’s heads?
- Yaani tuseme… I can’t twerk or have my nude and post it just because I’m denied freedom of pleasure!!! Meehn… I have to reclaim my freedom
- Dare to be different. Usiwai panic, usitense express yourself while at the same time being open to dissenting views. That’s the feminist way of life.
- Go where you are loved and thrive.
- Respect my existence or expect my resistance!
We genuinely hope this diverse pool of words of affirmation, quotes and expectations for the movement from feminists will trigger not only happiness within you, but solidarity, love, creativity and revolution as well.