The Personal Is Political for Me(n)too: Online Discourse Surrounding Male Victims of Sexual Assault
As hashtag feminist campaigns such as #MeToo, #NotOkay, and #YesAllWomen have shown, social media are powerful discursive spaces for conversations on gender inequities and eventually generate discursive shifts. The current study asks whether social media play the same role for male victims of sexual assault, who challenge hegemonic conventions according to which “real” men cannot be raped/harassed by disclosing their experiences online. To answer this question, a thematic analysis was conducted, comprising 2,176 online comments to 40 self-disclosures of men published during the #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport campaigns in Israel. A vast majority of the comments contested traditional stereotypes of gender order and gender hegemony and suggested alternative notions of manhood. All in all, the findings lead to cautious optimism in regard to the role of social media in legitimizing male victimization and challenging male rape myths.