Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Manship School of Mass Communications

Document Type



Online harassment towards female elected officials is a prevalent problem that threatens women’s parity in local and state government. It is used for the purpose of diminishing women’s efficacy in government by stifling their voices in public spaces through behaviors that aim to belittle, embarrass and abuse women for existing in traditional masculine spaces that reify a white patriarchal social hierarchy. Female elected officials at all levels of government are susceptible to harassment on- and offline. The aim of this study expands current understandings of how online harassment affects female elected officials by focusing on online harassment experiences of women in local and state elected office and considering social media as an ecosystem rather than individual platforms. This research explored how female elected officials at the local and state level experience, manage, and respond to online harassment, and how that online harassment shapes their political behavior and desire to remain in elected office. This research offers new insight into the experiences of female elected officials that could only emerge through a mixed-methods approach that explored the unique knowledge they have as a result of their intersectional identities.



Committee Chair

Harris, Tina M.

Available for download on Tuesday, July 09, 2024