Political Potential: The Women of Instagram Poetry
[Introduction]: The historical canon of poetry is predominantly male. The historical domain of policy making and politics is predominantly male. In the digital age, however, where the means to share or publish one’s thoughts and views is available to almost anyone, the strict gatekeeping of literature and political discourse is no longer upheld. The phenomenon of instapoetry, poetry published to Instagram, is an example of a social media platform being used by women to bring poetry into popular culture, and, by that means, address political issues surrounding womanhood. By addressing issues of female oppression, sexual assault, and race through poetry, female instapoets wield political power by raising awareness about these issues and influencing and mobilizing their young and female demographic to instigate social change. Rupi Kaur, a famous Canadian-Indian instapoet with 4 million Instagram followers, is an exemplar of the intersection of poetry, social media, and politics. Kaur’s female-centred content reaches millions of people and speaks to healing by way of self-help. Through her words and illustrations, readers are encouraged to think about the politics of being a woman today.