Misogynistic Hate Speech on Social Networks: a Critical Discourse Analysis

2018-02-22T00:50:48Z (GMT) by Beatrice Spallaccia
The present dissertation aims at recognising online misogyny as a form of hate speech, by providing a qualitative analysis of this discourse on Twitter and Facebook. While recent reports in media coverage have revealed that sexist harassment is the most pervasive social problem on Web 2.0, much scholarly research has mainly focused on other types of hate speech (e.g., racist and xenophobic vilification), overlooking the seriousness of misogynistic verbal abuse. The multilayered impact of misogynous discourse on women’s lives shows the urgent need to recognise gender-based prejudice as a form of hate speech, and to provide a more thorough and updated theorisation of this phenomenon. For this reason, the present dissertation suggests considering online misogyny as a harmful speech which employs different tactics and discursive strategies to harass and silence women who engage in online public conversation. Following the methodology of feminist Critical Discourse Analysis, it develops an extensive qualitative study of the abuse experienced online by six women who reside in three different countries (i.e., Australia, Italy, and the USA). By analysing the discursive strategies commonly employed in user-generated contents to reaffirm hegemonic patriarchal ideologies and fixed gender identities, this dissertation also examines the entanglement between gender prejudice and other types of discrimination (i.e., racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and ageism), and it identifies the articulation of online misogynistic hate speech through a series of tactics which harm women’s lives on multiple levels. Therefore, it presents a taxonomy of these impacts through a new model that was specifically developed for the research at issue, and that will hopefully guide future research on misogynistic hate speech. In conclusion, this study argues for the development of effective educational tools to tackle sexist hate speech online, to guarantee women’s digital citizenship, and to promote a more respectful conversation in cyberspace. <br> <br>