Meme This! [Tactical Activity]

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This activity is to get participants to respond to more general forms of online misogyny, transphobia and homophobia in a way that uses humour and wit. This is by no means intended to make light of online GBV but rather allow an outlet for participants to collectively deal with trolls on the internet.

Learning objectives this activity responds to

  • Ideas, strategies and actions about the ways in which online GBV, especially in their contexts, can be addressed.

Who is this activity for?

This activity can be carried out with participants with different levels of understanding and experience of online GBV

Resources needed for this activity

  • Post-its
  • Flip chart paper, card
  • Lots of markers

If you want to give the participant the option to create gifs: Internet connection and access to Giphy­

Time required

This activity will require about 2.5 hours.

Mechanics

This activity happens in three phases:

  • Confronting misogynistic / transphobic / homophobic messages
  • Counter-messaging (60 minutes)
  • Unpacking counter-messages (60 minutes)

With everyone in the same room, ask each participant to share up to three misogynistic /transphobic / homophobic messages they have seen online. Ask them to write down the messages on post-its, one message per post-it.

Note: The message does not have to be blatantly -phobic or sexist, they could be common points that come up all the time (i.e., "you want censorship", "you are limiting my freedom of expression", "if it´s not physical, it´s not real violence" or victim-blaming messages.)

Then on the wall, cluster similar messages. This can be an opportunity to unpack the messages and discuss ways in which they are harmful to women and queer people online.

Once the messages are clustered, group the participants.

Note: Alternatively, if the workshop is pressed for time, you can prepare the messages to create counter messaging against. But this will require you to know what messages the participants encounter most during their time online.

The goal of each group is to create counter messages to the harmful messages. They can use different ways to respond: write Tweets, create posters, create memes, create gifs (depending on the skills in the room), have a hash-tag campaign.

In creating responses, ask the groups to consider the following:

  • Who is this message addressed to?
  • Why will this message be effective to who is being addressed?
  • What values underpin your counter-message?
  • What form will it have? What kind of language?

After everyone is ready with their messages, everyone shares what they came up with. Just the messages they created. Collectively, discuss the effectivity of each counter-message based on the considerations above.

To synthesise, focus on the following:

  • What kind of messages work
  • Lessons learned about responding to trolls online

Facilitator preparation notes

While this activity is a bit more light-hearted than some of the activities in this module, the facilitator / trainer should also prepare for possible moments of stress for the participants.

Go back to this activity's main module (Online Gender-Based Violence)

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