This chapter analyses the treatment of female Zimbabwean politicians on social media through an examination of posts on Twitter. Female politicians during the run-up to the July 2018 elections had to contend with diverse forms of sexist harassment online. Although social media offers female politicians a space of self-actualisation, this same space is used to harass them. Through an analysis of specifically selected tweets, this chapter contends that the entrance of women into the previously masculine realm of politics represents a symbolic challenging of masculine power and dominance. The verbal violence and harassment against female politicians online sets out to call them to submission to the patriarchal gatekeepers of political power. Drawing on representational theories particularly Goffman’s work on framing and Gramsci’s conceptualisation of hegemony in conjunction with feminist readings of Lara and Chigumadzi, the chapter concludes that notwithstanding the rampant sexism that female politicians in Zimbabwe have to deal with, both offline and online, they have been able to find and deploy their own agency.
- Female politicians
- Social media
- Sexual objectification
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Ncube, G., Yemurai, G. (2020). Discrimination Against Female Politicians on Social Media: An Analysis of Tweets in the Run-Up to the July 2018 Harmonised Elections in Zimbabwe. In: Ndlela, M., Mano, W. (eds) Social Media and Elections in Africa, Volume 2. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32682-1_4
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