Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Major

Journalism, Political Science

Advisor(s)

Jennie Woodard

Committee Members

Amy Fried, Robert Glover, Holly Schreiber, Amber Tierney

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020

Abstract

This thesis explores the hypothesis that the #MeToo Movement and Twitter have contributed to the changes in language used by individuals to describe sexual harassment and the survivors that come forward with their stories. To do so, this thesis identified common themes derived from language used in New York Times articles published during the Hill and Thomas hearings of 1991, as well as Tweets published between the dates surrounded the Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh hearings, September 25, 2018 and September 29, 2018, to create a comparable platform for language used in similar settings 27 years apart. It contains a literature review that discusses a brief history of sexual harassment, the history of the #MeToo Movement, and the role Twitter plays in the advancement of social justice movements. The goal of this thesis was to advance the understanding of how society talks about the #MeToo Movement and sexual violence. Using the Framework Method, this thesis analyzed words and phrases in over 200 tweets and 30 New York Times articles. The findings of this thesis suggest that the #MeToo Movement and Twitter have shifted society away from using language that immediately places the burden of proof and responsibility on the survivor of sexual violence. This research serves as an introductory baseline understanding that Twitter reflects some change in perception of sexual harassment in society, that can be used in future studies as a stepping off point.

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