Assessing online misogyny: Perspectives from sociology and feminist media studies

Mairead Eastin Moloney, Tony P. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Scholarly and lay publications have highlighted increasing online misogyny. We review the dominant, cross-disciplinary analyses and conceptualizations of cisnormative, heterosexist, misogynistic discourses. From feminist media scholarship, we highlight four terms intended to describe acts of online misogyny: online sexual harassment, gendertrolling, e-bile, and disciplinary rhetoric. We then review the nascent sociological concept of virtual manhood acts (VMA) and situate it within the broader context of critical gender theory. VMA use the tools of technologically facilitated misogyny; they occur in online social spaces and, using textual and visual cues to signal a masculine self, enforce hegemonic gender norms, oppress women, and keep men “in the box.” VMA align with the interactionist view of gender as action and emphasize that a physical body is not needed to signal manhood. The concept of virtual manhood acts acknowledges that women are the primary victims of online oppression without obscuring the problematic practices of men that are central to this subjugation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12577
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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