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Article Analyzes On-Line Discourse About Lara Logan’s Sexual Assault

March 4, 2014

People used blogs and other on-line spaces to critically contest news accounts of Lara Logan's rape, according to a new article in Feminist media Studies journal. Photo Credit: k-ideas via Compfight cc

People used blogs and other on-line spaces to critically contest news accounts of Lara Logan’s sexual assault, according to a new article in Feminist Media Studies journal. Photo Credit: k-ideas via Compfight cc

A new article in Feminist Media Studies analyzes the ways bloggers and on-line commenters have used these electronic spaces to contest “blame the victim” narratives used in constructing news reports about Lara Logan’s sexual assault in Tahrir Square in Egypt.

CBS correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted while reporting on the post-Mubarak celebrations in Tahrir Square  on 11 February 2011.

On May 1, 2011 CBS 60 Minutes (for which she is a correspondent) broadcast an interview with her about the incident. Logan said that she was speaking out to help end the code of silence surrounding sex assaults on female journalists. You can see the interview here.

I can’t read the article–there is an 18 month embargo for this journal at my library because Taylor and Carfax charges so damn much for access to their journals–but I’m curious about the claims.

Most of the articles about Logan’s terrible experience I’ve skimmed seemed to be quite sympathetic to Logan (as they should be), and the discourse in the comments below the articles tended to be racist rants against the Egyptian/Arab/Muslim “vermin” who did this to her–and, often, by extension, all Egyptians, or Arabs or Muslims.

See, for example, the comments below the May 2, 2011 LA Times article, “Lara Logan breaks her silence on ’60 Minutes:’ ‘They raped me with their hands’

Two of these on-line commenters support Ms. Logan, two blame her for her own rape, and six condemn all Egyptians or Arabs or Muslims for this act (sometimes with genocidal language). When an Egyptian apologizes on-line for this having happened, and blames the fallen regime, he is verbally assaulted, including being called a “douche bag.”

But this is just anecdotal. I’ll admit I have not conducted a concrete discourse analysis of 175 stories in news blogs, as the authors have, so I’ll suspend judgement for now.

Here’s the abstract for the article:

This discourse analysis explores traditional and feminist articulations of rape in online mediated discourse regarding the sexual attack on CBS journalist Lara Logan in Egypt in February 2011. Examination of 175 stories and links in the top ten news blogs in the United States showed that the blogosphere contested traditional rape narratives that blamed Logan for the attack and conceptualized rape through a more varied means. In doing so, bloggers engaged in a struggle for meaning, and mainstreamed feminist understandings of sexual violence within the online public space.


Harp, Dustin, Jaime Loke and Ingrid Bachmann. 2014. Spaces For Feminist (Re)Articulations: The blogosphere and the sexual attack on journalist Lara Logan. Feminist Media Studies 14(1): 5-21.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2014 6:43 pm

    My university apparently sprung for T&F’s un-embargoed archive–let me know if you want the article, I can email it to you. Haven’t read it yet, but interested to do so, and I share your interest in seeing how they dealt with questions of anti-Arab/anti-Islam rhetoric, alongside the questions of victim-blaming.

  2. April 5, 2014 3:33 am

    Reblogged this on The Harpys Guild:DOVE.

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