Advertisement

Politics of #LoSha: Using Naming and Shaming as a Feminist Tool on Facebook

  • Arpita ChakrabortyEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the new feminist intervention in India against sexual harassment (SH) through the online weapon of anonymously listing sexual offenders. The publication of the list on Facebook—known as the List of Shame (or #LoSha)—was inspired by the #metoo campaign following the Hollywood Weinstein affair and was composed through a collection of first-hand survivor narratives. A list of 70 names of alleged academic sexual offenders was first shared by a lawyer based in the US, and became viral on Facebook. This chapter will look at how this campaign used naming as a risk-taking tool to point at the lack of institutional frameworks within academic spaces. In doing so, it successfully used the online space of Facebook to create a feminist debate around the issue of sexual harassment transcending geographical and hierarchical barriers and to raise questions regarding the viability of the established feminist recourses against SH.

Using the methodological tool of situated critique (Bannerji, Thinking Through: Essays on Feminism, Marxism, and Anti-Racism. Toronto: Women’s Press, 1995), in this chapter I will utilize my own experience of participating in the list as well as in the larger feminist debate to discuss the politics of risk-taking and solidarity and the implications of list-activism. In doing so, it has re-established the role of cyberfeminism (Daniels, Women’s Studies Quarterly, 37 (1 & 2): 101–124, 2009) in India and surfaced a new intersectional autocritique of the academia based on caste, class and gender. Though questions regarding the method remain, the use of Facebook for providing survivors a voice with anonymity promises new boundaries of empowerment and fear.

References

  1. Bannerji, H. (1995). Thinking Through: Essays on Feminism, Marxism, and Anti-Racism. Toronto: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bargi, D. (2017). On Misreading the Dalit Critique of University Spaces. Economic and Political Weekly, 52(60). Power and Relationships in Academia. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from http://www.epw.in/engage/article/misreading-dalit-critique-university-space.
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (R. Nice, trans.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P. (1986). Forms of Capital. In J. E. Richardson (Ed.) Handbook of Theory of Research for the Sociology of Education (pp 241–258). Greenword Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (1989). Social Space and Symbolic Power. Sociological Theory, 7(1), 14–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and Symbolic Power (G. Raymond & M. Adamson, trans.). UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chadha, G. (2017). Towards Complex Feminist Solidarities after the List-Statement. Economic and Political Weekly, 52(60). Power and Relationships in Academia.Google Scholar
  8. Chadha, G. (2017). Power and Relationships in Academia. Economic and Political Weekly, 52(60). Retrieved May 2, 2018, from http://www.epw.in/engage/special-features/power-relationships-academia.
  9. Chandra, K. (2016). Caste, Representation, and Enduring Inequality. Current History, 115(780), 150–153.Google Scholar
  10. Daniels, J. (2009). Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, Gender, and Embodiment. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 37(1 & 2), 101–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fair, C. (2017, October 25). #himtoo: A Reckoning. Buzzfeed News. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/christinefair/himtoo-a-reckoning?utm_term=.wrd18Wy77#.eywLZNQ44.
  12. Fernandez, M., et al. (Eds.). (2003). Domain Errors!: Cyberfeminist Practices. Brooklyn: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
  13. Gajjala, R. (Ed.). (2013). Cyberculture and the Subaltern: Weavings of the Virtual and the Real. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  14. Gajjala, R. (Ed.). (2019). Digital Diasporas. Lanham: Lexington International.Google Scholar
  15. Gandhi, N., & Shah, N. (1992). The Issues at Stake: Theory and Practice in the Contemporary Women’s Movement. New Delhi: Kali for Women.Google Scholar
  16. Ghosh, A. (2017, November 7). The Civil War in Indian Feminism—A Critical Glance. Sabrang. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from https://sabrangindia.in/article/civil-war-indian-feminism-%E2%80%93-critical-glance.
  17. Gopal, P. (2018, May 7). No Poetry After Auschwitz? Outlook: The Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/no-poetry-after-auschwitz/300086.
  18. Independent. (2018, April 13). Asifa Bano: Outrage Spreads Across India Over Rape of Eight-Year-Old Girl. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/asifa-bano-latest-india-rape-murder-girl-eight-year-old-muslim-hindu-kashmir-protest-a8302381.html.
  19. Indian Express. (2017, October 27). Important to Name Perpetrators, Says V Geetha on Raya Sarkar’s Crowd-Sourced List of Sexual Harassers. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/oct/27/important-to-name-perpetrators-says-v-geetha-on-raya-sarkars-crowd-sourced-list-of-sexual-harasser-1684340.html.
  20. John, M. E. (Ed.). (2008). Women’s Studies in India: A Reader. New Delhi: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  21. Kolko, B., et al. (Eds.). (2000). Race in Cyberspace. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Kumar, R. (1989). The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India, 1800–1990. New Delhi: Kali for Women.Google Scholar
  23. Lodhia, S. (2015). From “Living Corpse” to India’s Daughter: Exploring the Social, Political and Legal Landscape of the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape. Women’s Studies International Forum, 50, 89–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mandhani, A. (2018, March 9). Alternate Law Forum Founder Lawrence Liang Found Guilty of Sexual Harassment by Ambedkar University Committee. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from http://www.livelaw.in/alternate-law-forum-founder-lawrence-liang-found-guilty-sexual-harassment-ambedkar-university-committee/.
  25. Menon, N. (1995). The Impossibility of Justice: Female Foeticide and Feminist Discourse on Abortion. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 29(1 & 2), 369–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Menon, N. (2017). Statement by Feminists on Facebook Campaign to “Name and Shame”. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://kafila.online/2017/10/24/statement-by-feminists-on-facebook-campaign-to-name-and-shame/.
  27. Raj, A., & McDougal, L. (2014). Sexual Violence and Rape in India. The Lancet, 383(9920), 865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Roy, S. (2017, November 1). Whose Feminism Is It Anyway? The Wire. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://thewire.in/gender/whose-feminism-anyway.
  29. Sarkar, R. (2018). Interview with the author over email, conducted on 28 April 2018.Google Scholar
  30. Shandilya, K. (2015). Nirbhaya’s Body: The Politics of Protest in the Aftermath of the 2012 Gangrape. Gender & History, 27(2), 465–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shah, N. (2017, November 5). Digital Native: Rebellion by Google Doc. Indian Express. Retrieved from http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/digital-native-rebellion-by-google-doc-4921956/.
  32. Shukla, M., & Kundu, A. (2017, October 28). Et tu ‘Feminists’?: A Response to the Kafila Signatories. Round Table India. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9216:et-tu-feminists-a-response-to-the-kafila-signatories&catid=119:feature&Itemid=132.
  33. Siapera, E. (2019). Online Misogyny as Witch Hunt: Primitive Accumulation in the Age of Techno-capitalism. Gender Hate Online. Cham, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Sollee, K. J. (2017). Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press.Google Scholar
  35. Subramanian, S. (2015). From the Streets to the Web: Looking at Feminist Activism on Social Media. Economic and Political Weekly, 50(17), 71–78.Google Scholar
  36. The Diplomat. (2016, May 19). India: Violence Against Dalits on the Rise. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://thediplomat.com/2016/05/india-violence-against-dalits-on-the-rise/.
  37. United Nations. (2013). Violence Against Women: Input to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in Connection with Her Visit to India Between 22 April – 1 May 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from http://idsn.org/wp-content/uploads/user_folder/pdf/New_files/India/2013/India_submission_on_Violence_against_Dalit_Women_-_SR_on_VAW_India_2013.pdf.
  38. Verso Report. (2018). Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #metoo. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  39. Visvanathan, S. (2018, May 7). The Chilly Justice of the Gulag. Outlook: The Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/the-chilly-justice-of-the-gulag/299993.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ireland India Institute, Dublin City UniversityDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations