I was curious about the meaning and origin of the iconic raised fist. What I’ve found so far has my head spinning. I’ll include some of the links I’ve visited at the end of this post for you to explore.
As for its beginning, a few sources have its first use dating back to ancient times in Assyria as a symbol against violence.
What’s most intriguing is that its been used as a symbol for many causes. It gets interesting when you start listing them out and see both sides of an issue represented. One example of this is its use as a salute for black power and well as being associated with white nationalism.
Also interesting, is when a raised fist gets covered in the news it usually triggers a story about the history of the gesture. This recent Buzzfeed article contrasts its timely use by Trump, Winona and the Women’s March (to name a few) and then goes into its history.
The raised fist is even an emoji ✊ but according to its definiton it takes on a more upbeat meaning. Emogipedia.org defines it as “celebratory gesture: the fist pump” or it can represent “zero items”. They also point out that they may have a different handedness based on provider.
The raised fist has been used as an icon for many political ideologies from socialists to communists. Politicians, have made the gesture–from the likes of our current President to Bernie Sanders. Raised fists have made the news due to celebrities, Olympic teams, tennis players, cadets…the list goes on and on. It’s even the name of a Swedish band. But for me, my raised fist is about equality for all. It’s about feminism. We need to be treated with respect. We need to be paid the same amount as men. We need to keep our freedom to make our own choices.
Some of my sources and additional readings about the iconic raised fist: