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

Sara De Benedictis, Shani Orgad, Catherine Rottenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-738
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume22
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • #MeToo
  • UK news
  • content analysis
  • feminism
  • neoliberal feminism
  • popular feminism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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