Sarah Casey currently works at Griffith University, Queensland. Her research interests include media feminisms, celanthropy, social media and online campaigning. Sarah is a co-author of Media and Society (6th edition) with Michael O’Shaughnessy and Jane Stadler, and her forthcoming monograph on feminist campaigning in Australia will be released in 2017 by Peter Lang, Oxford.
Volume 34, May 2016
This paper uses the case study of a Twitter hashtag label #sackgavin to offer a self-reflexive analysis of an Australian feminist activist campaign. More broadly, it provides a critical interrogation of online feminist political interventions into discourses of silencing, exclusionary tactics and victim blaming. Although this case study offers some critique about the normalisation of violence against women, it primarily tests the efficacy of employing online petitions to intervene in entrenched gendered discourses which shift responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim. I both narrate and interrogate my practices as a creator/campaigner. The main campaign goal was to increase awareness and to motivate people to take action. The success of this type of campaign is not quantifiable; however, I judge its achievement in terms of the “noise” created through social, online and mainstream media around victim blaming. Additionally, I explore the costs in terms of time, trolling and emotions. This paper argues that, while not always consistent with initial activist goals, what can be considered successful in a campaign such as #sackgavin is diverse, much like activism itself.