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Movement or debate? How #MeToo is framed differently in English, Spanish and German Twitter discourse

Mario Bisiada

This article examines 1,353 tweets on #MeToo in English, Spanish and German from July and August 2019, revealing how #MeToo is most commonly referred to as a “movement” in English and Spanish but as a “debate” in German, a difference that echoes German-language press habits. Based on an analysis of semantic prosody, the study demonstrates that words indicating longevity such as “era” and “times” collocate with #MeToo in English and Spanish, but not in German. This points to a framing of #MeToo as influential and long-term in English and Spanish and as exaggerated and short-term in German. Reflecting this difference, #MeToo is talked about in more negative terms in German tweets compared to English and Spanish, as shown by a qualitative analysis of evaluative author stance. The study adds to existing knowledge of the power of hashtags for feminist social media activism by highlighting the importance of (cross-)linguistic corpus-assisted discourse studies of hashtags on social media, which helps understand the ways in which anti-feminist discourse taps into the channelling of emotions through hashtags to undermine cross-national women’s movements.

 

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