THE IMPACT OF CONFRONTING ONLINE SEXISM ON THIRD-PARTY BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOR

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Author:
Kim, Lizbeth Mingie
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 04, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Stephanie A. Shields, Thesis Advisor
  • Jose A. Soto, Committee Member
  • Karen Gasper, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • online sexism
  • confronting
  • social media
  • harassment
  • gender
  • anger
Abstract:
The internet is rife with harassing language, where women are targeted with severe forms of misogyny and sexism. Little is known about the effectiveness of internet users who confront these harmful comments on social media sites, although studies have examined the effects of sexism confrontations in real or imagined face-to-face situations. My Master’s research investigates how prevailing work on confrontation effectiveness and gendered emotion stereotypes apply to perceptions of online sexism confrontations. I conducted an experimental study that examined how an online confronter’s gender and displayed anger, when responding to a sexist post on a social media page, influences participants’ perceptions of the confronter, the sexist perpetrator, and motivation to post a response themselves. Findings showed that the female confronter was perceived as being angrier than the male confronter, and was less liked than the male confronter. In addition, participants viewed the sexist perpetrator as being more credible after seeing the female confronter’s response. Further, participants indicated low motivation to post a response to the conversation and held generally negative views about posting comments on the internet. Implications and future directions for mitigating online harassment and encouraging public intervention are discussed.