Twitter misunderstands the powerful #FeministsAreUgly campaign
The tongue-in-cheek hashtag #FeministsAreUgly has been around since last summer. It was launched by two women, Lily Bolourian and Christine Yang, who came up with the hashtag as a way to fight society’s “absolutely silly and completely unattainable” standards of beauty. As Bolourian told The Daily Dot, they were trying to fight standards that basically dictate that “every single woman is [considered] ugly, especially if you’re a woman of color.”
Since then, the hashtag has taken on a life of its own, and women have been taking cute selfies and posting them on social media, accompanied by #FeministsAreUgly as a way of proving en masse that feminists AREN’T ugly. The thing is, this sort of misses the point that Bolourian and Yang were trying to make with the hashtag. It isn’t about whether a woman is considered conventionally attractive or not, it’s about a word like “ugly” being used by misogynists to try to make women feel less than.
“[The] origins [of the hashtag] aren’t from misogynists but from women of color feminists who wanted to flip the script,” explained Bolourian on Twitter. Her explanation came after the topic began trending again all over Twitter this past weekend, almost a year after it first went viral.
However, once again, the hashtag was misunderstood. As The Daily Dot reports, Twitter’s algorithm didn’t really understand the topic and put together a headline which totally missed the mark: “Ugly Feminists Freak Out Over #FeministsAreUgly Hashtag.” Of course, that Twitter-made headline was entirely wrong, and women took to the social media site to air their concerns.
It seems this wild misstep was an algorithmic failure, and therefore not the fault of a Twitter employee, but rather the fault of coding. As the Verge reports, Twitter seems to have addressed the problem, not by changing the headline, but by removing the hashtag from the trending stories altogether.
A hashtag that began with such noble intentions seems doomed to be misunderstood at every turn. It’s a bummer for the creators of #FeministsAreUgly. If it’s any consolation, we TOTALLY get what you’re trying to say, and we think your smart and sassed-up message is A+ amazing.