‘Does she know how to read?’: an intersectional perspective to explore Twitter users’ portrayal of women Mapuche leaders

Ximena Orchard*, Magdalena Saldaña, Isabel Pavez, Claudia Lagos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Social media offer new opportunities for women in politics, but also new ground for the expression of bias and stereotypes. Drawing upon literature about mediated representations of women in politics, gendered digital violence, and intersectionality, this study explores how Twitter users portray indigenous women leaders who were elected as representatives for Chile’s Constitutional Convention. We use a mixed-methods approach based on a manual content analysis of tweets (N = 6,000), aimed at comparing the main attributes associated to indigenous and non-indigenous women Convention representatives in users’ tweets, as well as the valence of these tweets and the engagement of Twitter users, in two time points–the inaugural and the closing days of the Convention. This is complemented with a qualitative thematic analysis focused on tweets directed toward Mapuche women (N = 3,352). Our findings show that indigenous and non-indigenous women’s capacities were discussed by Twitter users, and although both groups experienced online hostility while serving for the Convention, indigenous leaders received negative messages notoriously based on their ethnic background: tweets were mostly positive at the beginning of the process, but became more negative by the end, suggesting a narrative arc that went from an ephemeral moment of symbolic reparation to the restoration of prejudices and stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2554-2574
Number of pages21
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Gender
  • Twitter
  • indigenous women
  • intersectionality
  • political communication


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