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The gendered dimensions of the anti-mask and anti-lockdown movement on social media

Al-Rawi, Ahmed, Siddiqi, Maliha, Wenham, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5378-3203 and Smith, Julia (2022) The gendered dimensions of the anti-mask and anti-lockdown movement on social media. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 9 (1). ISSN 2662-9992

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Identification Number: 10.1057/s41599-022-01442-8


This paper examines the anti-mask and anti-lockdown online movement in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. To combat the spread of the coronavirus, health officials around the world urged and/or mandated citizens to wear facemasks and adopt physical distancing measures. These health policies and guidelines have become highly politicized in some parts of the world, often discussed in association with freedom of choice and independence. We downloaded references to the anti-mask and anti-lockdown social media posts using 24 search terms. From a total of 4209 social media posts, the researchers manually filtered the explicit visual and textual content that is related to discussions of different genders. We used multimodal discourse analysis (MDM) which analyzes diverse modes of communicative texts and images and focuses on appeals to emotions and reasoning. Using the MDM approach, we analysed posts taken from Facebook and Instagram from active anti-mask and anti-lockdown users, and we identified three main discourses around the gendered discussion of the anti-mask movement including hypermasculine, sexist and pejorative portrayals of “Karen”, and appropriating freedom and feminism discourses. A better understanding of how social media users evoke gendered discourses to spread anti-mask and anti-lockdown messages can help researchers identify differing reactions toward pandemic measures.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2022 17:21
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 06:39

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