Copia di PHOTO-2019-03-07-16-38-32

GeS sarà presente con una relazione di

Elisa Giomi (Roma Tre University), Francesca Dragotto, (University of Roma ‘Tor Vergata’) and Sonia Melchiorre (University of Tuscia, Italy) su

Putting Women Back in their Place. Reflections around sexist hate speech and slut shaming on Italian social media.


Compared to racist and ethnicist discourses, literature on sexist discourses – both off and on-line – as hate speech is relatively underinvestigated (Lilian 2007). This is partly due to the tendency to minimize accusations of sexism (Worth et al. 2015) and to reframe misogyny as ‘acceptable’ by constructing it as a form of humor (Drakett, Rikett 2018). Such a tendency, although widespread, is strong  in Italy as it colludes with ‘anti-politically correctness’ rhetorics, which dismisses accusations of sexism as moralism or attempts to restrict freedom of speech.

We decided to focus on slut-shaming, one of the most virulent forms of hate speech, which has always existed but was boosted by social media, becoming an ingredient of today’s rape culture (Phipps et al. 2017). We propose to consider online slut-shaming as a form of ‘technology-facilitated sexual violence’, where digital technologies are used to facilitate both virtual and face-to-face sexually based harms (Henry, Powell 2016).

According to feminist analysis of sexual violence, this would be a matter of power rather than sex (Brownmiller 1975): sex would be the weapon, not the motive (Vachss 1993). The domination and the annihilation of women is the ultimate goal. We believe that such analysis applies to slut-shaming, a practice of sexual violence, an act of power, especially when performed on-line. We contend that slut-shaming pleasure consists of ‘putting women back to their place’: besides degrading women, slut shaming is meant to remind them they are women, whose primary function is sex.

We have tested this research hypothesis by focusing on the Italian reception of the MeToo campaign, triggered by Asia Argento’s denunciation. 830 tweets and retweets produced in five months were examined by means of a quanti-qualitative methodology and by web scraping, to individuate the most widespread interpretative keys and to reconstruct the underlying narratives.

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