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sex and social media: the girls changing the face of feminism on the web

Love hearts and smileys and #shares oh my! The women who rule the web, Petra Collins, Phoebe Collings-James, Karley Sciortino, Arvida Byström, and Alexandra Roxo are the riot grrrls of the digital generation. From their candy coloured blogs to their sugar coated selfies, we meet the girls who’ve wiped away the cobwebs of feminism-past to talk sex, social media, and why it’s so good to be a girl rn.

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Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Karley: Well, of course I consider myself a feminist in that I obviously believe men and women should be equal. But I’ve always said that I think that what I do is more a product of what feminism has achieved than an avid act of feminism itself. I just want to make great, meaningful work that resonates with a wider audience than simply a group of liberal women who already think like me.
Phoebe: Yes! Of course.  

How has the internet and social media changed how women are represented and how they represent themselves?
Arvida: With the internet loads of people who wouldn't have been able to represent themself and put creative things and thoughts out there now have the tools.
Alexandra: Women's bodies and appearances have always been a hot topic but now the gaze has turned on itself. Social media hasn't changed the way women are represented but it has provided a platform for that change.
Karley: I think social media and the internet has drastically changed the way women are represented, in that it allows women to represent themselves. It cuts out the middleman.
Phoebe: It has the potential to be extremely empowering in terms of women having a voice. Sharing ideas and information. I think it's for women themselves to get a handle on how they want to be represented and lead the way. 

Has it changed what we think of as 'feminism'?
Alexandra: Yes, slightly.  Now feminism can be expressed online.  Every post, photo, and subject you share has the opportunity to make a statement.  Feminism used to be more blatant and in your face.  Now a girl posting an image where she has a double chin or cellulite is showing could be considered feminist.
Karley: To me, feminism is not subjective. Feminism is one of the great liberation movements in human history; it's the moment to free democracy from patriarchy. And since, it's been far easier for women to speak out against patriarchy. 

Do you think it can have a negative impact on women?
Phoebe: It’s important for women not to get sucked into the boring ideas of beauty and intelligence that the internet can fuel. Diet pills, thigh gaps, surgery, gossip columns.
Arvida: Everything comes with bad sides. internet in general is sooo much of just content culture. That will have a negative impact on everyone.
Alexandra: Of course!  Instagram is a curated world. Sometimes even art directed!  People are showing the good parts in their lives and making everything look hip and beautiful when obviously life isn't always like that.  Young girls who scroll through celeb photos see something so unrealistic and there are few female celebrity role models out there.   

What’s the difference between using social media to sexualise women and using it to express your own female sexuality?
Alexandra: Well the male gaze comes into play there.  If a woman is making a blog that depicts her sexuality, say like Karley's blog Slutever, Karley can post photos of her boobs and discuss her sex life to express her sexuality but if some dude were writing a blog about Karley's boobs it would be sexualizing her.
Karley: Choosing to express one's sexuality is different from a woman being sexualized without consent or control.