Lady Gaga’s emotional performance on Oscar along with survivor of sexual assaults has brought almost 10 times more pledges for ‘It’s on Us’ Campaign, which is a NGO website addressing sexual assault on college campuses. This meaningful action again took the topic of women’s right back to public view. The reciprocal interaction of setting up the agenda on traditional media on TV and boosting conversation on social media on the Internet greatly amplified the influence of this performance and also strengthened the belief of women’s right in people’s heart.
Being contrary to this influential performance in U.S., women’s right activity in China has just started. Kim Lee, an American woman who got married with the most famous Chinese English teacher Lee Yang, successfully protected her right after being severely hit and threatened by his husband. Her whole story of protecting herself and three children was written on her blog. Under the pressure of public, Kim’s husband apologized to Kim and their children on the Internet. This influential domestic violence case originated from the Internet and expanded to the whole society . Kim was awarded the person of the year for protecting gender rights because “for the first time, Chinese people so deeply realized and worried about domestic violence, because of her”.
Social media has been being increasingly important in facilitating conversation about social issues. Discussions happened on social media platforms are of great significance in educating public. However, just like other social movements, the influence of women right movements happened on social media is limited within the scale of non-official. Government’s attitude is pretty ambiguous and unclear when it comes to actually realize women’s right. On one hand, they encourage this kind of conversation on social media in the name of exchanging ideas. On the other hand, government remain unmoved when changes are needed within government system and law.
In 2012, after a famous activity: occupy male toilet organized by several female college students, the government of city of Guangzhou orally promised women rights activists the ratio of women’s restroom and men’s restroom will be higher than 1:1.5 in later construction. However, the promise has never been realized. Several follow-up protests and negotiations with government all ended without results.
Although social media greatly raised people’s awareness of women’s rights by building a community for having large scale conversation, the influence of those conversations still remain in small scale without affecting government decision. To have real equality, more chances of talking to decision-making level people are needed. But I think, perhaps social media is not the appropriate platform for such conversation.