"take your # off my VAG"

[by @hy_stera in collaboration with Red Zenith Collective ]

________hashtags and social media have become increasingly weaponised to reinforce toxic patriarchal agendas & create new forms of 'vagina-related-digital-oppression'

 

from the radical online supporters of anti-abortion extremism in Poland to sceptical trolls criticizing Scotland's (and now also New Zeland's) decision to offer free sanitary products for all, many social media users feel obliged to have their say what vaginas are all about

#antigender

#prolife

#revengeporn

#upskiting

#freeperiods

[and so many more]

What is the social (and digital) purpose of one's vagina? Whose needs is it supposed to fulfil? What are its rights, obligations, and responsibilities (e.g reproductive, aesthetic)? Who gets to say what your identity is if you have one (or not)?

International human rights standards emphasize that the concept of ‘violence against women’ is a form of gender-based violence (@amnesty). Online gender-based violence is an intersectional issue and affects women, LGBTQ + people, and other marginalised communities. Since #covid_19 lockdown, almost 1 in 2 women and non-binary people reported experiencing online abuse (@glitch). Result? Many women have no choice but to self-censor and remove themselves from online spaces (leading to their digital exclusion). Globally, there are 250 million fewer women online than men.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, digital violence has spread under the shadow pandemic of violence against women. Especiallym, women with multiple identities (i.e. LBTQI community, ethnic minority, indigenous) are often targeted online through discrimination and hate speech. As a result, they tend to self-censor and withdraw from debates and online discussions (@UN Women).  

This art project/online exhibition (titled "take your # off my VAG") explores some of the social media narratives #digitalvoilence against one's vagina & their basic human right to bodily autonomy.

 

The artist, @hystera, uses mixed media art to re-create a social media feed. She responds to hateful social media posts with images of colourful weirdness representing, online trolls, blood, colourful hashtags, and vulvas (symbolically representing vaginas).

 

in the European Union, 1 in 10 women report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15

in Canada, ONE IN FIVE women reported that they had experienced online harassment in 2018

 

in France, 15 % of women said they experienced some form of cyber harassment

 

in the United States, women are about twice as likely as men to say they have been targeted as a result of their gender

 

in Pakistan, 40%of women had faced various forms of harassment on the internet

[source: UN Women]