#ToxicTwitter: The Symbolic Annihilation of Canadian Women Cabinet Ministers

  • Author / Creator
    Young, Tayler A
  • This study explores the relationship between online gender-based violence and symbolic annihilation. I ask the following questions: How extensively are Canadian cabinet ministers Catherine McKenna and Chrystia Freeland subjected to online gender-based violence on Twitter? What forms of online gender-based violence do the two women experience? And how does online gender-based violence on Twitter function as a form of symbolic annihilation? To answer these questions, I conducted a content and discourse analysis of the top 200 liked tweets sent to the two women in the thirteen days immediately prior to the 2019 federal election and one day after. I then used an inductive approach to explore the larger data set using the themes I found within the most liked tweets. Ultimately, I argue that both women were symbolically annihilated through online messages that trivialized and condemned their capabilities, appearances, and agency. This research makes visible the far-reaching impact of online gender-based violence faced by prominent women, which is a growing problem around the world. It also offers a new conceptual approach through the lens of symbolic annihilation to construct a more holistic understanding of harassment faced by women online.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.