After searching #gender on Twitter, I was actually very surprised and impressed with the positive posts that I saw.
I was expecting there to be lots of negative posts, especially following all the backlash that has been seen in response to trans-talk becoming more acceptable. There was a post about pregnancy (as in the context of not calling women expectant mothers because it might offend trans people) and many posts about reassurance to people of all genders, races and religions that they are cared for and loved. There were also a lot of posts following the #WomensMarch that just happened, including a pretty awesome magazine cover of a black Rosie the Riveter wearing a pink hat (the New Yorker.) Other tweets included:
Gov should treat a person’s #gender w the same degree of privacy as other markers of identity (i.e. race, religion, or sexual orientation.)
David Cope Retweeted Women’s March London
Many posts called for the need to encourage little girls to pursue STEM based interests and make children’s programs less #gender biased. There is a definite need to make science and math more achievable for little girls, and to change the mindset that only boys can excel at math and science. Overall, I found the tweets for #gender to have a positive and hopeful tone to them.
As for #feminist, the results varied a little more.
Overall, while the tweets containing #feminist were either good, bad or ugly, across the board there was one thing in common: passion. People either really, really hate feminists and the concept of feminism or they have their heart and soul invested in the progress of women and the fight for equal rights.
Some gravely misunderstood the idea behind feminism and publicly outed them as hypocrites, saying things like “You wouldn’t be such a feminist if they decide to draft women into the army!” (I had to exclude many tweets for harsh language) Others criticized those who did not identify as a #feminist, and pressed for them to act now and join the movement.
I think a good place to start in order to clear the negative connotation of #feminist would be to neutralize the overall tone altogether. Although passion is great, it can be highly overwhelming when you get a mix of positive and negative feedback arguing over one another. Some of the posts I saw where strictly informative and educational, and I think this is a good place to start. Many times, people fear or neglect what they do not understand, and first educating the masses about what feminism truly is and then advocating for it would be a great formula to clear up misunderstandings.