Perspectives on Tahrir: Gender and Generation

Youth and Citizenship in the Digital Age: A View from Egypt by Linda Herrera

It had not occurred to me that a generational analysis of the activism in Egypt around the January 25th revolt would yield interesting results. Linda Herrera’s research of youth activism in Egypt against generational studies on the “Wired Generation” (one of many definitions of what we more commonly refer to as “Millennials”) provides powerful insight into the demise of Egypt’s revolution: leading research suggests that the wired generation excels in collaboration and horizontality and lacks in longevity and deep/critical thinking. Herrera suggests that the Egyptian revolution around January 25th mirrors these generational characteristics. Where the significance of January 25th arises in part from the communication and collaboration of the wired generation, it quickly lost steam from a lack of long-term planning or establishment of any political foundations beyond Mubarak’s resignation.

Feminist Insurrections and the Egyptian Revolution by Paul Amar

Amar’s arguments around combatting hypervisibility creates an interesting discourse when contrasted against last week’s reading from Distorting Digital Citizenship. Citizenship discusses how Khaled Said’s martyrdom flattened his character in the public eye; Amar argues that this is an issue of hypervisibility that must be combatted by the construction of one’s respectability in order to preserve the dynamic and ‘human’ elements of an activist or a movement. Adversely, Citizenship argues that Khaled Said’s martyrdom flattened down issues of youth revolving around Said from a spectrum down to police brutality; with its argument of gender issues in Egypt that have some claim in the January 25th revolution, Amar’s article reveals that the Tahir occupation was not affected by the flattening hypervisibility of Said’s martyrdom. The occupation may have polarized towards police brutality protests, but they did not dominate the academic sphere.

Project Pitch:

For my final project i want to make a film remake of a Portlandia skit from season five episode one (entitled Fourth of July BBQs). In the skit, Fred and Carrie find that they have way too many barbecues to attend on the 4th of July, so they create a schedule where they go to each barbecue for 15 minutes. Fred has issues leaving without saying goodbye, so Carrie goes alone to the barbecues as scheduled while Fred struggles to keep up. I want to shift it into a light that highlights the argument that an excess of social media platforms dilutes the efficiency of social media and could be a reason why the Egyptian revolution has faltered since 2011.

In my version, Fred and Carrie (I would change the names) would check all of their social media apps and see that they have too many social activist protests or demonstrations to attend, so they plan to spend fifteen minutes at each one. Fred would have difficulty leaving the first one after he feels like he hasn’t actually supported the demonstration’s cause, so Carrie leaves him behind in order to stay on schedule. By the end, Fred would stop caring about social activism, catch up to Carrie, and they would go home and do something recreational. The film would argue that an influx of social media platforms for social activist organization creates an effect of hypervisibility where citizens are dissuaded to make a social impact because they are constantly bombarded with calls for action via social media as well as invitations to new social media platforms with the incentive of activist connectivity.

Perspectives on Tahrir: Gender and Generation

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