Social media and sub-Saharan African feminism
: feminist cultures and strategies on Facebook

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Social media platforms, such as Facebook, function as arenas for socio-cultural interactions. These digital spaces facilitate the convergence of individuals dedicated to societal transformation, enabling them to engage in dialogues, strategize, disseminate information, and shape socio-political shifts. In Nigeria, women make use of Facebook to confront issues related to gender inequality and patriarchy, often using storytelling to do so. This thesis explores how Nigerian women articulate gender inequality issues and consciously engage with new media tools to address challenges within their cultural context. I argue that Nigerian women view Facebook as a digital platform with specific functionalities and affordances which they integrate with indigenous cultural practices of storytelling to amplify their voices, foster solidarity and connections within women communities, and challenge entrenched patriarchal paradigms prevalent in Nigerian society. Furthermore, I argue that their creative practices on Facebook reflect a phenomenon I refer to as "digital-cultural hybridity". This concept entails the blending of aspects embedded in Nigerian culture and digital modalities, which results in an alliance of African traditions and Western modernism to generate new possibilities in African feminism.

Through the lens of everyday politics – the idea that routine actions and decisions in daily life carry political implications – this study observes Facebook posts from six individual Nigerian women, who are not affiliated with the same NGO or feminist organization. Using non-participatory observation combined with in-depth interviews, the research explores how Nigerian women utilize Facebook features to express feminist perspectives within the framework of fourth-wave feminism, which accentuates the role of social media. Through an African postcolonial feminist perspective, the study finds that all participants utilize storytelling to discuss their personal experiences and the struggles faced by women in Nigeria concerning gender inequality. By skilful navigation of explicit and implicit feminist identity labels, which is typified by their support of equal rights for women’s empowerment, participants engage their Facebook audiences in a discourse on gender inequality using cultural strategies that are attuned to nuances in Nigerian women’s experiences of gender inequality and draw on affective storytelling practices, effectively producing a discourse of feminism that resonates with Nigerian women on the platform.

This study illustrates the inventive ways in which Facebook is employed for everyday politics within a cultural context and contributes to the discourse on decolonization of feminism in Nigeria and Africa more broadly. Moreover, it sheds light on the limitations that arise when using Facebook as a feminist space for articulating ideas and exploring possibilities from the perspective of Nigerian women such as issues of safety and exclusion. Consequently, while Facebook serves as a platform for Nigerian women to express their feminist perspectives, it is essential to recognize and address its inherent limitations to gain a more holistic view of the current (fourth-wave) feminist movement from an African perspective.
Date of AwardJan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorOlu Jenzen (Supervisor), Aristea Fotopoulou (Supervisor) & Maria Sourbati (Supervisor)


  • Gender
  • Gender inequality
  • patriarchy
  • social media
  • Facebook
  • Women
  • Feminism
  • Nigeria
  • Africa
  • Postcolonialism

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