Digital Activism and the Increased Role of Dalit Activism in Intersectional Feminism in India
Abstract: This research paper answers the question “In what ways has social media interwoven feminist and Dalit activism?” Referencing feminist media theory and social movement theory, I argue that the rise of social media has given Dalit activism unprecedented levels of visibility and brought Dalit emancipatory politics into the repertoire of intersectional feminism in India. This article will examine the ways in which social media has changed social movements and given voice to Dalit activism in India through analyzing anti-harassment feminist hashtag activism, particularly the #WhyLoiter movement, representation of Dalit women in mainstream media and subsequent social media response, and, finally, the ways in which the former two intersect with Dalit emancipatory politics in India. The concluding sentiments of this article are that social media has given way to subaltern views of social justice, in which the needs of women and Dalit communities (and Dalit women!), are voiced and mirrored and acknowledged as being necessary to build anti-oppressive social institutions in place of the current oppressive norms, proven in preceding arguments within the text.