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Gendered Stereotypes and Political Conflicts: The Use of Gender and Sexuality In Social Media To Racialized and Dehumanized The Other
Although attacks against gendered others have proliferated around the world, there remains a paucity of research examining the gender-biased climate that normalizes and condones racialization and dehumanization. In particular, there is scant empirical research investigating the role that gendered and sexualized discourses play in political conflicts and on social media platforms. This study aims to start the process of filling this gap by examining Facebook-based discourses in Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. The findings examine how political conflicts are gendered and sexualized in the digital arena and emphasize how these framings play a central role in demonizing, emasculating, commodifying, and constructing the other as unwanted and contaminated. The study reveals three ways in which political conflicts are gendered: gendering the other (Palestinian), the ingroup (Jewish-Israeli), and the war itself. The findings suggest that the interaction between these three illustrates the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, and racism, normalizes violence, penetrates both the body and land, and dehumanizes the other. This study also takes a closer look at changing usages of gendered discourses in social media among the ingroup, uncovering the ways in which these discourses serve not only to racialize the other, but also to preserve self-perceptions.