Scraping the Web for Feminists


Lara Meacock


When scraping the web for data I wanted to keep my words fairly general so that I would really get a sense of what the world is saying about gender equality. I felt as though so much of my research was orientated towards my interests within the topic and wanted to gain a broader perspective on what the world is talking about and what people are happy to say about the topic publicly. Through google sheets I created this search rule for twitter:


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With 1125 hits there was a really broad spectrum of things that people were saying, with some common themes popping up. The very first tweet that was found was a personal favorite of mine:

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I really liked the simplicity of this post and I think it really encapsulates an honest way of achieving gender equality. Without emphasis on gender stereotypes will die, allowing people to really be seen for who they are. This tweet was re-tweeted several times with people adding their own comments, such as “true feminism is when men and women are equal,” and I had a realization that people are very protective of their genders. While most agree that equality is a must, some people believe that if there isn’t an emphasis on gender they may lose their manliness or womanly nature. It got me thinking that instead of viewing genders as a segregation of which sex you were born to; it would be great if society could view people amongst a spectrum of feminine to masculine – gender not deciphering where you sit along this spectrum. Some may argue that most men would sit on the masculine side and more women would sit on the feminine side, however its important for everyone to feel as though they can be themselves and have both feminine and masculine traits – whether they hold an F or an M on their birth certificate.


There were several re-tweets of this particular post:

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Many of the re-tweets were outlining that feminism isn’t a negative word and shouldn’t be given these negative connotations. This kind of response gave me ideas for going forward in questioning what it is that makes people believe that feminists are evil and have such negative connotations. I want to explore further on how it could be possible to unpin these negative connotations and allow everyone to perceive feminism for what it is.


Another movement which was brought to light was the Kung Fu Nuns:

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After spotting several re-tweets on the Kung Fu Nuns I really wanted to look more into the movement and see what it was about. After the earthquake in Nepal there was a “spike in human trafficking. A total of 725 individuals were smuggled after the natural disaster —up 15 percent from the year prior.” (MAKER 2016) Because of this “500 kung-fu-fighting Himalayan Buddhist nuns” (MAKER 2016) are trying to promote gender equality through cycling across the Himalayas. “”We are spreading these messages: girls also have power, they are not weak,” 27-year-old nun Yeshe Lhamo told Women in the World.” (MAKER 2016) I found this particularly moving and such a beautiful way to spread the word of gender equality – showing that no one is too small to make a difference. Most of the tweets I came across originated from the Western world and it encouraging to see posts about different parts of the world and that most places are trying to tackle this issue in some way or another.



Another commonly re-tweeted post was:


The sarcastic nature of this post made me laugh… Why? Because it seems so ridiculous that this could be a norm way of thinking. There was 15 re-tweets that popped up for this post, all of which were posted from females. Whilst I think it’s really important to try and get everyone to understand and get on board with feminism, I also think it’s really important to empower women and help them to understand why they should fight for equality and fair shared work with their partners. It shouldn’t be okay or expected for women to take on ALL the unpaid housework just because they “love” their partner and want them to have a good career. Women should have just as much opportunity to progress with their careers as men, and our society should allow for equal options for part-time work (and shared house work) and maternity/paternity leave. It is crucial to remove the stigma that it is the women’s role to stay home and the mans role to be a bread-winner at work, not only so that women can have full and rich career options, but also so that men have the opportunity to spend quality time with their family and have equal opportunities to parent.


Whilst keeping the search broad brought me to many different avenues and topics, the general consensus remained the same – we don’t have gender equality anywhere yet, but it is something that everyone seems to be striving for. For each of the different avenues discovered the most important part is changing societies perspective and influencing everyone to understand that gender equality is a universal issue. The topics it made me want to look deeper into was the stigma created around feminism and gender equality in the workforce.


MAKER 2016, 500 “Kung Fu Nuns” Are Spreading the Message of Gender Equality in the Best Way, viewed 4 September 2016, <>.