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Humlab Talk: Who’s laughing now? Feminist tactics in social media

Time Thursday 16 February, 2023 at 15:00 - 17:00
Place Humlab / ZOOM

Jenny Sundén, professor of Gender Studies at Södertörns Högskola and Susanna Paasonen, professor of Media studies at Turku University will present their book "Who’s laughing now? Feminist tactics in social media".

This event is a collaboration between Humlab, Media and Communication Studies, and Sveriges Genusforskarförbund (SGF).

Online sexism, hate, and harassment aim to silence women through shaming and fear. In Who's Laughing Now? Jenny Sundén and Susanna Paasonen examine a somewhat counterintuitive form of resistance: humor. Sundén and Paasonen argue that feminist social media tactics that use humor, laughter, and a sense of the absurd to answer name-calling, offensive language, and unsolicited dick pics can rewire the affective circuits of sexual shame and acts of shaming.


Using laughter as both a theme and a methodological tool, Sundén and Paasonen explore examples of the subversive deployment of humor that range from @assholesonline to the Tumblr “Congrats, you have an all-male panel!” They consider the distribution and redistribution of shame, discuss Hannah Gadsby's Nanette, and describe tactical retweeting and commenting (as practiced by Stormy Daniels, among others). They explore the appropriation of terms meant to hurt and insult—for example, self-proclaimed Finnish “tolerance whores”—and what effect this rerouting of labels may have. They are interested not in lulz (amusement at another's expense)—not in what laughter pins down, limits, or suppresses but rather in what grows with and in it. The contagiousness of laughter drives the emergence of networked forms of feminism, bringing people together (although it may also create rifts). Sundén and Paasonen break new ground in exploring the intersection of networked feminism, humor, and affect, arguing for the political necessity of inappropriate laughter.


Participation and registration

This is a hybrid event. If you want to participate through ZOOM, you will need to register. Sign up using the link below and you will receive a link to the online meeting. 


Event type: Lecture
Christian Liliequist
Read about Christian Liliequist