2017 Gender and Sexuality Lecture with Adrienne Massanari
This year's Annual Gender and Sexuality Lecture, co-sponsored by the UT Center for Women's and Gender Studies (CWGS) and Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA) program, will feature Adrienne Massanari, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago.
“SJWs [Social Justice Warriors] are Ruining Everything!” Anti-Feminist Activism and Toxicity Online.
Thursday, February 16
BMC 5.208 - 3:30-4:45 pm
Following the session, we will move on to the Hole in the Wall for happy hour.
In this talk, I discuss how spaces like Reddit and Twitter have become hotbeds for what I term “toxic technocultures.” Using examples from the celebrity photo hack of 2014, GamerGate, and the “manosphere," I explore how these platforms have been largely coopted by anti-feminists. I argue that these communities thrive in part because of specific platform design and governance choices which serve to support a notion of unrestricted “free speech,” and create a discursive environment where cisgendered, straight, white men are placed at the center of the conversation. I end with some reflection about the current political climate and how it reflects a move to “mainstream" anti-feminist sentiment outside of these online platforms.
Professor Massanari’s brings her background as a technology consultant in information architecture and user experience to bear on her digital ethnographies of contemporary social media platforms, exemplified in her 2015 book Participatory Culture, Community, and Play: Learning from Reddit. Massanari’s research explores how instances of digital misogyny and "toxic technocultures" are shaped by platforms, interfaces, and algorithms and how digital design shapes contemporary identity politics.