In Defense of Hashtag Activism


Let’s begin with this: I am not a hashtag activist.

Although my work appears predominantly online, I am not an instinctive Tweeter. Few of my (admittedly, over-written and under-edited) sentences meet Twitter’s 140-character limit. The recipe for trend-able hashtags – which require an alchemical mixture of pith and cool – does not come naturally. The frenzied pace of hashtag conversations gives me the feeling of whiplash.

The unspoken etiquette of Twitter remains unfamiliar and causes a great deal of anxiety: When should one “at” another person? At what point in an ongoing conversation does one remove a lingering “at” to avoid harassing an unresponsive user? When should one favorite a tweet versus retweet it? How does one know which hashtag of several popular hashtags on a given subject is the right one to use?

Above all: How does one cram the complex issues raised by one’s intersectional identity – a subject that too often fails to fit within entire tomes of text — into the span of 30 words or less?

So, I am not a hashtag activist. I am a blogger (who happens to have a Twitter account).

But, I call bullshit on the prevailing notion that Twitter-based discourse is not – and can never be – legitimate activism.

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Underrepresentation of Asian women in a semi-scientific survey of the #AAPI blogosphere


I’ve been blogging in the Asian American blogosphere for over a decade, and in that time, I’ve fundamentally believed that our Asian American blogging collective is heavily dominated by male voices. As a feminist blogger, I’ve found the underrepresentation of women writers discouraging. Indeed, the #NotYourAsianSidekick Twitter hashtag conversation that blew up the Internet last month was explicitly started by founder Suey Park to address this same problem.


Yet, as I wrote about #NotYourAsianSidekick last month, it occurred to me that I had no actual evidence on the gender break-down of writers in the APIA blogosphere. Despite abundant assertions that the blogosphere — Asian American or otherwise — is male-dominated, there seemed to be a dearth of hard data on the subject.

Further, I wasn’t sure that anyone had ever actually studied our blogosphere’s demographics at all.

So, being the nerdy scientist that I am, I decided to do it myself.

(Results and a brief discussion of methodology after the jump.)

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#NotYourAsianSidekick: Can a social movement start on Twitter?


We’re going in on Day 5 of #NotYourAsianSidekick, the hash-tag that blew up the Twitterverse with a conversation on Asian American race identity and feminism. And, boy, has it sparked online and offline conversation. Hash-tag founder Suey Park (@suey_park) has joined forces with 18millionrising (@18millionrising) to schedule appearances on several mainstream media outlets talking Asian American feminism — which is remarkable visibility for the Asian American feminist community. Meanwhile, several established Asian American writers have offered their comments in the pages of Time Magazine and the Wall Street JournalAnd as of this writing, #NotYourAsianSidekick is still going strong with new tweets being published every few minutes; further, was launched this week (now with free stickers!).

But, of course, the question on everyone‘s mind is: what’s next?

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What does an Asian American feminist space look like?


In the wake of the hugely viral #NotYourAsianSidekick Twitter conversation, Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream” asked the Twitterverse today, “what does an Asian American feminist space look like?”

Let’s be clear: the Asian American feminist space does not yet exist.

But it could. And this is what it would look like.

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