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Abstract

Cyber-space presents many contradictions to those seeking to use it for activist ends in a transnational world. This paper explores some of these contradictions by examining various uses of the internet in efforts to raise awareness about the situation for women in Afghanistan during the period the Taliban came to power and controlled a majority of the country. I explore differences in approaches, images, and tone within examples of internet activism, emphasizing the Web work of the Feminist Majority Foundation, set in comparison with that of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Due to the prominence of the chadari in the images and campaigns of the Feminist Majority, a central part of the work is devoted to careful consideration of the image of veiling. As I note in the body of the paper, internet activism around the crisis for women living under the Taliban shows the potential for its usefulness as a tool in raising cross-global consciousness. At the same time this research reveals the need for caution, care and a critical eye when exploring and utilizing the internet and Web as a means of activist education and organization. In the end, I hope this critical reflection on these examples were feminists have utilized the tools of cyber-space will help in building, especially within the U.S., more careful and nuanced approaches as we seek international solidarity.

Note on the Author

Loretta Kensinger, Assistant Professor Women’s Studies Program, California State University

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