Affective Resistance Against Online Misogyny and Homophobia on the RuNet
This chapter focuses on expressions of online misogyny and homophobia on the Russian internet and emergent forms of resistance against these expressions of hate online. I briefly discuss the Russian internet freedom and censorship context with a focus on gender and sexuality and provide an overview of the situation around the normalization of misogyny and homophobia on the Russian internet, as well as activist responses to these. In an environment where free speech is selectively restricted and where the application of legal sanctions and protections is often arbitrary, personalized expressions of affect and emotion in digital networks can act as forms of feminist resistance against the normalization of misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric online. The case of Deti-404 founder Elena Klimova and her public online project, “Beautiful People and What They Say to Me”, which combines the profile pictures of social media users with abusive messages they had sent her, is a striking example of such dissent. Both visual and highly affective, Klimova’s project emerges as a powerful form of personalized resistance to hateful speech online, as it seeks to contest the traditional definitions of what is “normal” and raises awareness of the power of words and discourse in digital networks.
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