Gendered (in)visibility in digital media contexts
Keywords:gender, gender stereotypes, digital media, social media, social networks, (digital) visibility, invisibility, #MeToo
In digital media environments, gendered inequalities can be observed on the level of representation and participation in online discussions and digital communities as well as regarding the prevalence of gender norms in self-presentations, and power relations in social interactions. The #MeToo debate exemplifies how gendered inequalities become visible in social media but also reveals the increasing hostility against women online. Drawing on the concept of digital visibility and informed by theoretical perspectives on gendered digital visibility from gender and feminist research and media and communication studies, the article reviews current research and identifies three distinct processes that characterize gendered digital visibility: (1) replication, (2) reinforcement, and (3) resilience. In doing so, the article proposes a taxonomy of research on gendered digital visibility. Findings highlight the ambivalence of women’s participation in online discussions as well as the replication and reinforcement of gender norms through digital technology. Moreover, interrelatedness of these processes and implications for future research are discussed.
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