Fluid sexism; it is rarely an isolated experience

Earlier this year, we finally published the results of our project on Everyday Sexism.

We used computational text mining techniques to analyse the content of some 80 thousands stories of everyday instances of sexism posted on the Everyday Sexism website.

Our results suggests that sexism is fluid; it’s not limited to a certain space, class, culture, or time. It takes different forms and shapes but these are connected. Sexism penetrates all aspects of our lives, it can be subtle and small, and it can be violent and traumatizing, but it is rarely an isolated experience.


Screenshot 2019-06-04 at 16.02.49
Network visualizations of the topics. The weight of the connections between pairs of the topics is based on the similarity of how the words are assigned to them.


The abstract of the paper reads:

The Everyday Sexism Project documents everyday examples of sexism reported by volunteer contributors from all around the world. It collected 100,000 entries in 13+ languages within the first 3 years of its existence. The content of reports in various languages submitted to Everyday Sexism is a valuable source of crowdsourced information with great potential for feminist and gender studies. In this paper, we take a computational approach to analyze the content of reports. We use topic-modeling techniques to extract emerging topics and concepts from the reports, and to map the semantic relations between those topics. The resulting picture closely resembles and adds to that arrived at through qualitative analysis, showing that this form of topic modeling could be useful for sifting through datasets that had not previously been subject to any analysis. More precisely, we come up with a map of topics for two different resolutions of our topic model and discuss the connection between the identified topics. In the low-resolution picture, for instance, we found Public space/Street, Online, Work related/Office, Transport, School, Media harassment, and Domestic abuse. Among these, the strongest connection is between Public space/Street harassment and Domestic abuse and sexism in personal relationships. The strength of the relationships between topics illustrates the fluid and ubiquitous nature of sexism, with no single experience being unrelated to another.

Published by Taha Yasseri

Associate Professor, School of Sociology, University College Dublin

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