Buzzfeed’s ‘celebrities reading thirst tweets’: examining the sexualization of men and women in the #MeToo era

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The following article examines how celebrities and viewers negotiate the sexualization of women and men on Buzzfeed’s ‘celebrities reading thirst tweets’ videos. In 2017, Buzzfeed, a well-known entertainment company, began a new YouTube video series in which celebrities, predominantly cishet, white men, read and react to thirst tweets (sexually explicit, sometimes humorous messages) posted about them. Because the emergence of the series overlapped with that of the #MeToo movement, the videos offer an insight into the ways in which celebrities and fans negotiate sex, sexualization, consent, and harassment during a transformative time. Through the scraping and thematic analysis of 90,963 comments from the Buzzfeed YouTube channel, this paper found differences between the ways in which male and female celebrities are expected to negotiate sexual advances where men are supposed to be flattered, and women–hesitant. Any breaches in such social scripts are met with ridicule, belittlement and critique. In particular, this article demonstrates how viewers use the discourse of ‘double standards’ against both men and women. The importance of this study lies in its call for attention to overlapping processes accruing in society, the sexualization of culture and #MeToo, and the ways in which they are negotiated through stardom.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Data scraping
  • double standards
  • gender differences
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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