Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Manship School of Mass Communication

Document Type



This study analyzes how women navigate political discussions online. Social media breeds high-conflict spaces where threats and incivility are more likely to persist. To avoid ad hominem attacks or harassment from online, male users, women may be more likely to use “safe spaces” online, including stereotypically feminine conversations regarding “women’s issues.” The purpose of this study is to analyze how women discuss politics online and whether there are differences in the issues discussed by men and women on Twitter. Using three studies, I examined these differences and their relationship to the threats women face online and their political behavior offline. Study 1 used 2016 Twitter data to examine how women versus men speak about politics at the citizen level. Next, I looked at what issues members of the U.S. 117th Congress discussed on Twitter and how this correlated with the level of hate speech they received in response to their messaging. Lastly, a 2022 dataset of tweets examined how the issues citizens speak about predict the type of harassment they receive as well as their political behavior offline. Together, these studies analyze what issues are safer for women to express themselves online to better investigate the gendered dynamics and barriers to political discussion.



Committee Chair

Bauer, Nichole