Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Gender Studies and Sexuality
The Unprecedented Social Response to the Emergence of Femtwits in Thailand’s Waves of Pro-democratic Movement
Natanaree Posrithong and Peerada Kaewkerd
The paper aims to explore the digital prospects of feminist voices in the contemporary pro-democratic movement in Thailand. Since 2020, the unprecedented movement, led mainly by the youth, demanded for the removal of the 29th Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. From secondary schools to universities, students formed themselves under a coalition of youth groups while surging waves of hope that their voices would be heard. Even the movement was obstructed by the pandemic, the young activists made use of their mastery in social media to maintain active networking even during the time of strict Covid19 lockdown from April 2020. Hashtags of youth activism flooded Twitter, which has become a new popular platform for political disseminations and discussions. The young crowd in this wave of protests used the online space for several progressive agendas along with their expressions of political discontent. They took the opportunity to demand for equal gender rights including, the amendment of the abortion law, same-sex marriage, and the end of sexual harassment across Thai institutions. Although gender equality seemingly aligned with the movement’s progressive nature, many pro-democratic protestors find themselves against and are not in support with the feminist objectives. The term ‘femtwit’ was then created to paint a negative picture of gender activists that are active on Social Network Sites (SNS) such as, Twitter and Facebook. This paper collects data from the mentioned SNS in order to reveal prospects of feminist movement in this crucial period of Thailand’s political and social transition.
keywords: femtwit, hashtagivism, misogyny, activism, generation Z