This year in Feminist Activist Class I learned how powerful a camera, YouTube, and your amazing classmates can really be.
With the help of my classmates, I created a response video to the UMBC Confessions page on twitter. We just simply read these tweets out loud. I wanted people to hear these posts and to create awareness about how powerful our words can be. The reality is that whether these tweets are jokes or not, this language contributes to rape culture. This is not just a campus problem, but a problem within our culture.
On this page students can post anonymously about UMBC. Although the page is supposedly for entertainment, there are sexist, homophobic, and racist tweets. People began to actually use specific name of students on this twitter page. From my perspective the campus response to this was “This is hilarious” or “This is horrible”. Here are some examples of the tweets:
I also only filmed students’ lips to emphasize that people writing these tweets were doing it anonymously. I knew I had to make this video as soon as possible before the twitter page was no longer popular. I simply uploaded the video on YouTube and shared it with any UMBC affiliated group on Facebook.
I was blown away by the campus response.
As I began sharing it, more and more people shared it, and in one day the video had over 1,000 views. By the end of the first day it received 2,000 views. The next morning it had over 3,000 views, and in two days there were over 4,000 views. The day I posted it people all over campus were talking about it and people I didn’t even know were posting it! I was surprised that it actually reached so many students. Of course, the video was criticized for taking away freedom of speech. Actually just as the twitter page is a form of freedom of speech….so is this video. Duh.
As a Visual Arts Major and Gender and Women’s Studies Minor, this is the type of work that I want to continue to create.My hope is that people think of this twitter page differently now. This project taught me that we live in a culture of apathy- where people would rather just look the other way…but it is our job to continue to address these problems.