The power of social media for providing a platform for women, and particularly marginalised women, to be heard (from xojane):

When I hear good friends of mine pontificate about how much they hate social media and “outrage culture,” I can’t help but feel hurt. Putting aside for a second the irony of being outraged over outrage, I take their sentiment personally because they’re mocking a tool that gave me a voice after a lifetime of being silenced, and the very thing they hate is what actually saved my life. If it weren’t for the Internet, I likely wouldn’t be here today.

As a child, I was essentially invisible. My father was barely around and my mother was chronically depressed, so nobody really raised me. By the time I reached junior high, I was a depressed, clumsy, awkward teenager, bullied relentlessly for my looks, (I had a unibrow that the girls loved to tease) for my weight (I developed a food addiction after being fed McDonalds since I was 5-years-old), and for my race. I spent most of those years hiding in corners.

I was invisible those years also, but it was a deliberate decision this time. I felt like I had no voice. No recourse. Then one day, a classmate introduced me to AOL Instant Messenger.

After that day, I spent every night chatting with classmates that I’d been too shy to talk to in real life, and found that many of them also felt isolated from everyone else. For the first time in my life, I felt a connection to other people. All of us students on the outskirts of the school built our own little community by creating chatrooms where we’d discuss our angst. It was a safe haven for outcasts, as we’d chat for hours about how all the “cool kids” were probably out partying and living life. This became the blueprint for how I connected with others.

When I’m reminded that Internet connections aren’t as strong as real-life connections, I’m inclined to agree, but I also hold some resentment towards that view and think to myself, “Well, I don’t exactly have the privilege of feeling like I actually fit in with any group.” In fact, I was constantly othered whenever I made a new group of friends in real life, and I was regularly the group’s punching bag.

“[…] Unbeknownst to me, a lifetime of feeling silenced and disenfranchised had filled me with serious anger and rage issues, which I’m still working through in therapy to this day. All I could do was write, but it felt like nobody was reading. That’s why I am so thankful that Twitter and Facebook exploded a few years ago.”

With the advent of easy access to high-speed Internet, suddenly, it was possible for anyone to reach a wide audience. This filled me with excitement. I loved that Facebook allowed me to read what all of my friends were thinking and doing 24/7, and I loved sharing my experiences as well.

Source and rest: It’s Not “Outrage Culture”: Social Media Gave Me a Voice and Saved My Life After Years of Being Silenced (xojane)

(Excerpt etc. first posted on feimineach.com. Orig. attribution above.)

women's stories: It's Not "Outrage Culture": Social Media Gave Me a Voice and Saved My Life After Years of Being Silenced