Transnational feminist activism has come a long way since the popularization of activist movements in the 60s and 70s, but the concept dates back to the 1800s. During those times, the mode of spreading news and awareness was through street protests, print media such as books, magazines and newspapers, and radio / television broadcasts (Grady) that has a relatively less public reach and a slower rate of dissemination compared to the globalized and highly connected world of today. The Internet and social media have transformed activism by becoming one of the current preferred ways for most activities related to feminist activism because of high-speed communication, ease of use, and affordable access it provides. However, like a two-edged sword, it can also be an avenue for heightened transnational cycles of gendered vulnerability to some extent if the information sent out is not received properly. Educating the public is a responsibility that educators, in this case, feminist activists, have to keep in mind because once information is out on social media, how it is received, interpreted, and redistributed is no longer in the hands of those who created it in the first place.
In the article, the viral status that “Un violador en tu camino” has reached can be partly attributed to the connectedness of today’s society and also because undeniably violence against women is perpetrated on all corners of the world (Dávila & LeBrón). The catchiness of the song caught the ear of many which helped propel it into a global phenomenon. It became a vessel to carry the message that aims to shift the blame from victims of sexual violence to the perpetrators as it should be with the words, “¡Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba ni cómo vestía!” (Dávila & LeBrón). This kind of medium – catchy tune, viral music and videos depicting strength and momentum in the fight against violence while also seeing the massive support it gets, help educate people around the world in an effortless manner, from the palm of their hands. It can shape the way how the public receives sensitive issues like these. This is important especially for those who do not have access to formal education about social issues and gendered violence, for young women who may not know better, and for those who go through such abuse but are not aware that they need not suffer the fate.
Transnational feminism is promoted by advocates and supporters of the cause on a global scale, pointing out inequalities among women or groups of women. Taking advantage of Un violador en tu camino’s global popularity and the traction it gained from the support of social media users as a way of raising awareness of this global issue was a win for feminist advocates. It became a chant for solidarity and to voice out people’s general displeasure towards legislators, statesmen, law enforcers, etc. who are not doing enough to address the matter, by ensuring the safety of women and upholding their rights instead of violating them (Dávila & LeBrón). However, although violence against women happens all over the world, the concept of feminism is examined from various cultural perspectives which often differ from that of westerners (Valoy). Viral videos on social media cross borders without regard for cultural worldviews. Some information may be taken in a different context from what it was originally intended and may even evoke the opposite reaction. Despite this, it should not dampen the efforts of upholding women’s rights, but instead, this potential downside can be taken into consideration in order to further strengthen feminist actions.
Dávila, Verónica and LeBrón, Marisol. “Un Violador En Tu Camino” and the Virality of
Feminist Protest.” Nacla, 2019, https://nacla.org/news/2019/12/27/un-violador-en-tu-camino-virality-feminist-protest. Accessed August 2021.
Grady, Constance. “The waves of feminism, and why people keep fighting over them,
explained.” Vox, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/3/20/16955588/feminism-waves-explained-first-second-third-fourth. Accessed August 2021.
Valoy, Patricia. “Transnational Feminism: Why Feminist Activism Needs to Think
Globally.” Everyday Feminism, 2015, https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/why-we-need-transnational-feminism/. Accessed August 2021.