Online Community Response to YouTube Abuse
Herling, Jessica Lauren
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This study draws on social problems literature about rhetoric in claims-making and social movement literature about credibility in framing to understand the construction of YouTube abuse and relationships between member role in the community and their frames/the reception of those frames. I also draw on feminist, non-feminist, and postfeminist literature to understand how YouTubers incorporate feminism into their claims about why YouTube abuse is wrong. Here feminism refers to understandings of sexual harassment as stemming from gender inequality, and non-feminist understandings of sexual harassment refer to individualized and degendered violations of rights and power imbalances. Postfeminist literature informs this study in understanding how a feminist issue has been disassociated with gender inequality and individualized. Drawing on this literature, I conducted a content analysis of YouTube videos and the comment sections on these YouTube video webpages to address how the community members responded to the sexual harassment problem. First, how do the YouTubers describe the problem? Second, what explanations for why the behavior is wrong, do the YouTubers use? Options include portraying the issue using a more feminist frame of "gender equality," a post-feminist frame of gender-neutral "consent," or a gender-neutral frame of "power imbalance." Lastly, are there relationships between the YouTubers' position in the community and/or gender, their responses, and positive and negative comments left on the videos? Analysis supports that YouTubers did not connect the issue to feminism and that YouTubers' positions in the community relate to how they politicized the abuse and how much commentator support they received.
- Masters Theses