Feminist activism on Twitter
The discursive construction of sexual violence and victim-survivors in #WhyIDidntReport
The emergence of digital platforms has allowed feminists to employ new methods to fight gender inequality and break the silence which surrounds gender-based aggression. This paper aims to examine evaluative discourses employed by Twitter users to construct and denounce sexual violence in a corpus of tweets containing the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. This hashtag was created in 2018 as a response to Donald Trump’s tweets in which he questioned Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s decision not to report her case of sexual assault when it occurred. As a result, victim-survivors adopted the hashtag to explain why they did not report their own cases. The present study adopts a corpus-assisted discourse analysis approach and draws on Appraisal Theory to examine ideological discourses of (sexually) violent acts and victim-survivors. Results show the presence of discourses of violence and emotional suffering employed to bond around shared experiences and publicly denounce oppressive patriarchal practices and a lack of support from institutions and authorities.
Keywords: Twitter, hashtag feminism, sexual violence, corpus-assisted discourse analysis, Appraisal Theory
Published online: 03 December 2020
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