#HimToo and the networking of misogyny in the age of #MeToo

Boyle, Karen and Rathnayake, Chamil (2020) #HimToo and the networking of misogyny in the age of #MeToo. Feminist Media Studies, 20 (8). pp. 1259-1277. ISSN 1471-5902 (https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2019.1661868)

[thumbnail of Boyle-Rathnayake-FMS2019-HimToo-and-the-networking-of-misogyny-in-the-age-of-MeToo]
Text. Filename: Boyle_Rathnayake_FMS2019_HimToo_and_the_networking_of_misogyny_in_the_age_of_MeToo.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript

Download (615kB)| Preview


This article brings together a quantitative approach which seeks to map and understand actor centrality and connectivity in relation to Twitter using social network analysis, with a qualitative set of interdisciplinary concerns around media representations of men's sexual violence against women. Our focus is #HimToo, a short-lived Twitter-backlash to #MeToo concentrated around the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and confirmation. We explore how #HimToo flourished and floundered across two key periods: the first related to the broadcast confirmation hearings; the second a backlash triggered by a Kavanaugh-supporting mom. With a dataset of over 277,000 Tweets, we argue that the first period shows an actor-centric conservative engagement which is dominated by female commentators, but displays a male-orientation that Kate Manne (2018) has described as himpathy. The second period presents both a serious and satirical response to the first. Whilst there is a significant reorientation of both activity and actors in this second period, we identify persistent gendered and generational patterns which warrant a more cautious response from feminist critics. We thus connect our analysis to debates about social media connectedness, gendered patterns of social media ab/use, and the role of social media in a highly polarised political climate in the USA.