Professor Malin publishes new essay in Women’s Studies in Communication

Professor Malin’s new essay, “‘I Never Liked Him’: Ryan Adams and the Toxification of Masculinity in the Post-MeToo Digital Era,” was recently published online by the journal Women’s Studies in Communication. This essay uses data analysis to trace the Twitter conversation that developed around the musician Ryan Adams following accusations of sexual misconduct directed at him by a variety of women. Analyzing an archive of more than 130,000 tweets, this essay highlights how the ways that Adams was discussed illustrate some of the problems of online discussions of sexual harassment int he MeToo-era. While many twitter-users were critical of Adams’s behavior, much of the conversation served to protect normative notions of masculinity that the MeToo movement more generally was criticizing, especially in terms of insulating larger social structures against this kind critique. By suggesting that Adams’s behavior was unique to him or “men like him,” these conversations took up a problematic “toxic masculinity” framework that served to reinforce a normative, hegemonic understanding of “healthy” masculinity that masks the institutional forms of oppression that allow hegemonic masculinity to function.