The knight and Brigitte Bardot against #najatvb and the “pregnant man”: Gender and sexual dimensions of affects and reassurance of the “Sexual Difference” in the debate on “gender theory” on Twitter

This communication outlines the way in which opponents of gender studies in France set out to reassert the “Sexual Difference” – understood as the natural complementarity between women and men – during the controversy over “gender theory” on Twitter (2014-2018). The semiotic analysis of a corpus of 107,209 tweets brings to light the existence of signs by which what conforms to this “difference” is constituted as a desirable object and what does not conform to it is set up as an object of repulsion, of hatred.

The notion of “grab” is particularly interesting in our field. First, it allows us to consider the circulation of images of non-binary bodies in its technical, social and semiotic dimensions. Then, it allows to consider this “creative” sharing – with regard to digital culture – as a

support for an emotional engagement in the debate. Finally, it allows us to grasp the gender and sexual dimension of disgust.
The paper will first present how opponents of gender studies produce trans people as objects of abjection while simultaneously invoking identifying and desirable figures. It will conclude on the way in which sexual domination is fantasized as a mean of reversing / restoring gender and racial power relations.

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