Cyber-trolling as symbolic violence: Deconstructing gendered abuse online

2017-06-19T12:07:16Z (GMT) by Karen Lumsden Heather M. Morgan
Trolling is often enacted against women and minority groups on social media platforms, such as Twitter, as a means of limiting or undermining participation in virtual space(s). This chapter considers trolling as a form of gendered and symbolic violence. Drawing on an analysis of British national newspaper reports focusing on cases of trolling, we demonstrate that trolling can be viewed as a ‘silencing strategy’. Trolling leaves its victims in a powerless position as freedom of expression for perpetrators is defended via social media ideologies. The initial promise of social media – to provide democratizing spaces – in practice creates space for the percolation of misogynist, sexist, racist, and/or homophobic attitudes. The chapter focuses on trolling in the form of rape and death threats, women as doubly deviant when deemed to be entering men’s (online) domain(s), responses to trolling, and feminist activism.