How to Combat Sexism? Tweet about it
Collective action towards a common goal has psychological benefits such as improving well-being, by increasing social identify and improving the perceived effect of ones actions individuals feel better.
But less is known about gender specific collective action so researchers from the Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada aimed to examine how collective action, specifically tweeting about Sexism would effect women’s well-being:
This study therefore examined how Twitter use may benefit women’s well-being after tweeting about sexism. Given the relationship between confronting sexism and well-being varies longitudinally, it was expected that any effects would be apparent over time
The researchers recruited 93 women who responded to a poster advert at their local university, they participants were sent articles to read that portrayed sexism in the media:
In particular, they read how sexual innuendo was made about Condoleeza Rice’s clothing, how female justices are preferred if they are thin, and how the media reinforce stereotypes of power women, entitled, ‘The “Bitch” and the “Ditz”’, referring to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
The participants were then split into 4 groups and asked to tweet:
Those in the experimental (tweet) condition (n = 23) were instructed to ‘Please tweet about the information you received now’.
The remaining 3 groups were control groups whose tweets were not publicly seen. The participants were given no instruction regarding the content of the tweets.
The researchers then analysed all of the information that the participants had written or tweeted:
Consistent with the definition of collective action, both public and private tweets exhibited collective intent and attempts to mobilize consensus that sexism is wrong.
And while the participants in the control groups tweets which were not read by anyone showed no improvement in well-being, those who tweeted normally did:
consistent with work showing the benefits of public action, tweeting when their followers would read the tweets increased well-being and decreased negative affect.
Thus, although private expressive writing is beneficial for improving health after individual traumas
While more research may be needed in order to further confirm the findings of this study it certainly provides a good starting point that indicates tweeting about sexism (or other inequality issues) may be an effective and accessible method for reducing negativity associated with such discriminations.