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#MeToo, popular feminism and the news: A content analysis of UK newspaper coverage

Rottenberg, Catherine; Orgad, Shani; De Benedictis, Sara

Authors

Shani Orgad

Sara De Benedictis



Abstract

This article examines the first 6 months of #MeToo’s coverage in the UK press, revealing how newspapers played an important role in heightening the campaign’s visibility. Using content analysis, our study demonstrates that the press contributed to expanding and reinforcing #MeToo’s visibility in important ways. In terms of reach, the UK press has expanded the movement’s visibility beyond social media, addressing potentially new and different readerships. This attests to the pivotal role that news media continue to play in disseminating global issues and debates for a national audience. Second, in terms of content, while the news coverage developed and consolidated stories that were originally revealed on social media, it also publicized new stories. However, our study also highlights how the press’ role in enabling and expanding the visibility of #MeToo has been characterized by a number of crucial and, we argue, problematic factors. First, while #MeToo was covered positively in all newspapers, there was significant variation within newspapers, which was largely consistent with their traditional ideological alignments. Second, the #MeToo coverage seems to have followed and reinforced familiar patterns with respect to news coverage of both sexual violence and feminism, namely, support of feminism alongside a concurrent de-politicization, an individualizing tendency through a focus on celebrity and the cultural industries, and the centring of the experiences of celebrity female subjects who are predominately White and wealthy.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2019-10
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies
Print ISSN 1367-5494
Electronic ISSN 1460-3551
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 5-6
Pages 718-738
APA6 Citation Rottenberg, C., Orgad, S., & De Benedictis, S. (2019). #MeToo, popular feminism and the news: A content analysis of UK newspaper coverage. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(5-6), 718-738. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549419856831
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549419856831
Publisher URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1367549419856831

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