"By any memes necessary": Exploring the intersectional politics of feminist memes on Instagram

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Medier och kommunikation

Abstract: Internet memes are exemplary forms of user-generated content in the age of social networking and user participation. This study draws attention to the work of an intersectional feminist community on Instagram who make use of this platform to discuss their personal politics via image macro memes. The community is made up of femmes who typically blend politics, pop culture, and a personal perspective into their content. This practice is identified as a contemporary feminist use of new media and is explored in relation to a theoretical reading of the current Third Wave of feminism as “embodied politics”. The theory of “disciplinary power” by Michel Foucault, and connections between disciplinary power with systems of oppression and social media are also employed to construct an understanding of feminist memes as a means of embodied resistance to disciplinary norms. This study seeks to explore how Internet memes are harnessed as a feminist mode of discourse, and why feminist meme creators (or “memers”) are motivated to use memes in this way. Therefore this research locates an intersection between digital culture and feminist use of new media. The research explores the possibility that Internet memes can serve as a creative and effective mode of feminist discourse in resistance to various forms of marginalisation - which occur both online and offline.

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