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Gender and Race in Rape Discourses on Twitter



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Honors Program presents a seminar in Gender and Race in Rape Discourses on Twitter by Professor Tania G. Levey, Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences.

This research examines the content of rape discourses on the social media platform Twitter. Social scientists recognize the importance of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for disseminating information and shaping social interactions. Using Social Media Management Software and the qualitative analysis software NVivo, this research tracks mentions of “rape” and analyzes the content of tweets for themes. Given the proliferation of misinformation on social media platforms and high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases, the content of social media discourses around rape is more important than ever. Preliminary analysis confirms that misinformation is being shared widely, relating predominantly to fabricated stories of false accusations and the rape of European women by Muslim immigrant and refugee men. I argue that the majority of social media posts on rape reflect and promote misogynist, white supremacist, and nationalist ideologies. This research calls for an intersectional feminist approach, contributing to our understanding of the interactions between gender, race, sexuality, nationality, and religion. Dr. Tania G. Levey is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Levey’s research interests include gender, sexuality, sex work, stigma, and social media. Recent publications include Sexual Harassment Online: Shaming and Silencing Women in the Digital Age (2018, Lynne Rienner Publishers) and articles on stigma and emotional labor in the dominatrix industry, published in the journals Deviant Behavior and Sexualities. Currently, Dr. Levey is working on projects that address the effects of social media on the #metoo movement and misinformation about sexual assault. Courses taught include Sociology of Gender and Sexuality, Major Ideas and Issues in Education, Research Methods, and Guided Field Research.