Donald Trump has more than 53 million Twitter followers. What does that mean for American diplomacy? And setting aside Trump’s idiosyncrasies for a moment, what does Twitter itself mean for the relationship between diplomats and the public?
Politics concerns itself with the distribution of resources, rights, and liberties as well as who controls their distribution. As such, politics is about power, as the ability of individuals to decide how things are governed is determined by their power to enforce decisions. To cultivate the necessary authority and power to enforce decisions political legitimacy is required. Political legitimacy shapes who has power and how they can use it, which in turn has a tangible impact on our lives via political power’s ability to dictate what we can do, who we can associate with, and how we view the world around us. The same applies in the opposite direction. For individuals to fight for their rights they must have a grasp of how to gain power and how to cultivate political legitimacy, leveraging their environments and contexts to gain the necessary momentum to secure their wellbeing. With that, this article seeks to explore how individuals have sought to foment political legitimacy through the use of gendered stereotypes to gain political power.
In the society we are in now , in which key social structures and activities are organised around electronically processed information networks, social media becomes, as journalist Walter Lippmann said, a “pseudo-environment” critical in shaping public opinion. The entire world is able to see the asymmetrical relationship predominant in modern conflicts throughout society- notably during key events such as the crisis in Myanmar, the beating of Catalonia voters by Spanish police and police brutalisation towards African Americans in America. The infamous photograph from 1972 of the “Napalm girl”, Phan Thị Kim Phúc OOnt, caused a massive outcry and led to protests globally against U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese War, and led to huge pressure on the American government to withdraw their troops. Similarly, the photo of a drowned Syrian child, Alan Kurdi, laying in the sea, caused widespread sympathy for refugees as well as a decrease in anti-refugee rhetoric in many Western countries. This shows a close relationship between the role of media in worldly affairs. As warfare continues to evolve, the camera has become an essential weapon to be examined- particularly in how it is used in conflicts and pressure for change, both by state and non-state actors.