This article tackles the multiple facets of visibility, ranging from invisibility, a lack of recognition in society, to hypervisibility, when bodies are hyperexposed for commodification or criminalization purposes. We analyze the specific implications of achieving media visibility for one Black Brazilian woman in politics: Renata Souza, a Rio de Janeiro state legislator. Souza’s campaign and mandate have drawn inspiration from the legacy of Marielle Franco, a Black lesbian favela-born city councillor and human rights advocate who was murdered in March 2018. Our theoretical framework consists of three strands of research: visibility studies, intersectional feminism, and intersectional work on technologies and surveillance. We draw from autoethnographic approaches with the use of field notes, audio diaries, and interviews with members of Souza’s staff. We complement these with digital ethnographic observations of Souza’s and her allies’ social media profiles. We ask: If visibility is a goal for groups that are marginalized and silenced, what happens when they achieve it? When does visibility help to protect Black women? And when does visibility bring even greater vulnerability? In this article, we propose and define the concept of “link visibility” as a process led by women of color who need a high degree of social media publicness but are affected disproportionately by visibility-induced high levels of vulnerability. We argue that link visibility represents an intersectional feminist approach as well as a tool for solidarity building, and that both—intersectionality and link visibility—help bind oppressed realities in Brazil and elsewhere. Finally, we interrogate what can be done to protect women of color online, stopping the violence, threats, and fear.
Black Women in Parliament and on Social Media: Link Visibility as an Intersectional and Solidarity-Building Tool
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Andrea Medrado, Renata Souza, Monique Paulla; Black Women in Parliament and on Social Media: Link Visibility as an Intersectional and Solidarity-Building Tool. Global Perspectives 1 February 2021; 2 (1): 24503. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gp.2021.24503
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