Gendered COVID-19 discussions on Twitter: a Norwegian case
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has resurfaced challenges to gender equality and gender relations both worldwide and in Norway. There have been massive public discussions on social media platforms, highlighting the potential of analysing public discourses in a non-reactive manner (Rauchfleisch, Vogler, & Eisenegger, 2021). Further, discourses from social media may affect cultural representations and broad discourses in society (Rambukkana, 2015), such as that related to gender. In this article, by studying the Norwegian Twitter users’ discussion on gender as related to COVID-19 pandemic, we will examine the everyday gendered discourses. Design/methodology/approach: Data for this project was collected from the social media platform Twitter. We conducted the search on 16th November 2020, and it resulted in total of 485 results inclusive of both original tweets and replies. The data was analysed qualitatively using thematic analysis. Findings: The thematic analysis of the tweets revealed three main categories which were mirrored in recognizable and widespread discourses about gender: 1) Stereotypical gendered behaviours 2) Construction of masculinities, and 3) Othering. We argue that the stereotypes on gendered behaviour, traits and ideology together attribute to the maintenance of unequal gender structures. Originality: This article explored discourses on gender on twitter, the networked public sphere of Norway during COVID-19 pandemic. Given that discourses both reflect and shape social configurations, they have the power to shape gender realities. With the transcendence of social media across geographic boundaries, our findings are relevant both for Norway and globally.