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

Boyle, Karen and Rathnayake, Chamil (2019) #HimToo and the networking of misogyny in the age of #MeToo. Feminist Media Studies. ISSN 1471-5902

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    Abstract

    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.