Digital Review: Public Sphere and the Exclusion of Women
Author: Karolina Kramplova
The creation of new forms of digital social media during the first decade of the 21st century has completely changed the way in which many people communicate and share information. When we think about social media as a space where the public can discuss current affairs and politics, it is interesting to consider it with the theory of public sphere. Ever since Habermas established this concept, it was criticised by scholars like Nancy Fraser. She argues that the theory was established based on a number of exclusions and discriminations. I focused on the exclusion of women from the political life. Andy Ruddock, an author of the book, Youth and Media, also talks about the lack of representation of women in subculture studies and how social media is not about democratisation and public debate but rather about people picking what they like. An activist, Hannah Knight, acknowledges the discrimination women face until this day. However, when it comes to public sphere and social media, even though Knight argues there is a space for public debates, she says people are not listening to everyone. Social media empowers movements such as the Women’s March, but does it contribute towards democratisation, or do we just want to believe it does? Therefore, both the scholar, Ruddock and the activist Knight, have persuaded me that the concept of public sphere is no longer relevant when it comes to social media.