Hashtag Activism

Hashtags are used all over the web, it began when San Francisco techie and former Google developer Chris Messina posted a tweet on Twitter using the hashtag #barcamp. He was inspired by flickr tags. As a short form of communication, tags/hashtags seemed like a good way of organizing brief exchanges and sharing. This took off and has become the easiest way to navigate Twitter and see what topics are trending across the globe.

Hashtags are used on Instagram as a means of describing the content of the photo posted. Facebook has recently jumped on this band wagon with people using hashtags in posts. Hashtags allow you to click on them and search the web for wherever and everywhere they were mentioned and used. In the Arab Spring, hashtags were used to filter the most recent updates from protests and conflict.

Hashtags have been used for charity campaigns and to raise awareness of certain topics for example the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. Bellow I have listed some of the most popular female made hashtags that promote activism for the topics that relate to.


Is a hashtag developed by plus size model Tess Holliday in 2015 to be proud of your curves and body. And challenging the idea that being skinny is the only way to be beautiful.



Was developed for all women to relate and find stories of times they have felt sexism towards them. To open up this issue and make people feel less isolated and like more of a group to be-rid sexism. The theory behind it is that all women experience sexism, but not all men are sexist.

A hashtag that was developed from #yesallwomen was:


Which was developed to prove that all men can be masculine without misogyny, chivalrous without demeaning, and feminists without fear. That equality benefits us all.



After Boko Haram militants kidnapped hundreds of girls from a Nigerian boarding school on April 15, an international campaign was raised to pressure the Nigerian government to “Bring Back Our Girls.” Hundreds of celebrities and big figureheads used this hashtag to put pressure further on the Nigerian government. Michelle Obama being one of the most prominent.


This hashtag was and is used to express the absurdity and disgust of the events that led unarmed black men who were shot and killed by either white police officers or local vigilantes. To erase black people that they do matter and that everyone is there for support. Also to criminalise and bring to a stop those who are racist and carrying out racist hate crimes.


Is a hashtag used to share stories women have about abusive relationships and explaining why they stayed with the person for so long. Explaining it to those who don’t understand or who can’t relate to why someone who is being abused by a partner would stay with them. Removing the idea that the victim is partially at fault for staying with them.


This hashtag is to raise awareness of catcalling and how it is undermining and insulting for women. And inevitably stop it from happening. Its a funny hashtag that uses the concept of: men catcalling each other to prove its not flattering, and that men wouldn’t like it either so why would women.


Was a gender equality campaign named after Lina Esco’s 2014 film Free the Nipple. The campaign argues that women should be allowed to show their nipples in public. She believes that ‘normalising’ the nipple will desexualise women’s breasts. People cringe or find breasts disgusting in public places for example breast feeding a child, which shouldn’t be the case as this is one of the most natural things a woman will do when raising a child.


This was to advocate for the stereotyping and the idea that certain jobs are for certain sex’s. Also to help address the issue of stereotyping women based on their looks. A woman can be an engineer, just like a female can be any other job that stereotypically seems like a male role.


Is a hashtag run by Emma Watson. HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.


Elona Kastrati started this campaign which is an unconventional movement where powerful gender equality messages are attached to sanitary towels which are stuck on lamp posts and landmarks in the streets of her city. It began in Germany, but this activism is seen all over the world. Indian women have used this campaign very successful to raise awareness in regards to rape culture and gender equality.




Is used like the above hashtag to campaign against sexual abuse and victim blaming. The victim is not in the wrong because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because of the clothes she was wearing.


Is a form of support for abortion, it not something you need to hide or whisper about. It is a hashtag that is used to normalise the idea of abortion and that is ok to have one if you need to. You don’t need to feel guilty or bad, its your body.


A hashtag for those who take mental illness medication. There is no need to hide that you need medical help when it comes to mental health. Mental health needs to be spoken about and normalised.


Is a hashtag to empower those living with addiction, inspire ownership and pride in recovery, and encourage suffering addicts to seek treatment.


Is a hashtag developed to reinforce the idea that Asian-american’s are not like the stereotypes and generalisations that have been passed down by the media. Everyone is different. Stereotypes don’t define a race.



Is a campaign that people are using to insure muslims that there are people there for them and that everyone knows that they aren’t bad people and can’t be defined by the criminals who happen to be muslim. To remove isolation of muslims and bring people back together, remove Islamophobia.






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