Speaker: Dr Catherine Phipps, Southampton Solent University
Date: Wednesday 9 February 2022
Time: 1 – 2pm
Venue: Online event (a secure link will be distributed following registration)
|12:55||Session opens online for joining|
Dr Melanie Lang, Assistant Director of the Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport and ISR Fellow
|13:05||Instagram policies & the online abuse of elite women in strength sports|
Dr Catherine Phipps, Southampton Solent University
Dr Catherine Phipps
Instagram policies and the online abuse of elite women in strength sports
Social media is user-generated content that can be used by athletes as a positive platform for branding, promotion, and coverage of their sport (Litchfield et al., 2016). However, it is also a space that enables hate, abuse, public shaming, and discrimination (MacPherson & Kerr, 2021). In this presentation, gendered abuse towards elite, high-profile women in strength sports (i.e., powerlifting, CrossFit, strongman, Olympic lifting and bodybuilding) is explored, utilising semi-structured interviews with a number of athletes. Findings demonstrate various types of gendered abuse experienced by women, from appearance-related comments and unsolicited advice to the more extreme forms of abuse a such as death threats and threats of sexual violence. Self-surveillance and silencing strategies were also critiqued by the participants. Although these findings demonstrate deep-rooted problems surrounding sexism and misogyny that go further than social media, it is also argued that platforms such as Instagram have a responsibility to tackle these issues, and their policies currently do not do enough to prevent abuse towards women.
Catherine is a prize-winning researcher and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences at Solent University. Her research and teaching focuses gender, sexuality, specifically homophobia and LGBT+ inclusion in sport. Learn more about Catherine’s research here.