Analysis of Gender Discourse Bias and Gender Discrimination in Social Media: A Case Study of the TikTok Platform

Qingxia Yin (1), Karmilah Binti Binti Abdullah (2)
(1) Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science, University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu, Malaysia, China,
(2) Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science, University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu, Malaysia, Malaysia


In the contemporary landscape of new media, social media platforms, particularly exemplified by TikTok, offer female users accessible and cost-effective means for self-expression and communication. However, this study reveals that such platforms, despite their apparent openness and liberality, have not effectively challenged or changed the persistent and deep-rooted issue of gender discrimination that women face. This research adopts a qualitative content analysis and specifically focuses on the TikTok platform, where female users frequently encounter various forms of gender discourse bias and discrimination. The findings suggest that female users on TikTok often face stigmatization through the internet lexicon and the commodification of physical appearance, reflecting broader societal issues of gender inequality and objectification. Simultaneously, a segment of the female user base on TikTok is actively engaging in challenging and negotiating these entrenched stereotypes, striving to redefine their representation in the digital space. Furthermore, the research highlights how the anonymity of the internet, the media’s role in encoding and perpetuating gender stereotypes, and the consumerist traps set by capitalist market dynamics, collectively contribute to an illusory facade of gender equality. This facade obscures the underlying realities of discourse bias and gender discrimination that persist in the digital realm.

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Qingxia Yin (Primary Contact)
Karmilah Binti Binti Abdullah
Author Biographies

Qingxia Yin, Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science, University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu, Malaysia

Qingxia Yin is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Mass Communication at the University of Putra Malaysia, leveraging a rich background in media and education. Previously lectured at Sichuan Film and Television University's New Media College, educating students in new media communication and film production. Between 2016 and 2022, worked as a senior director for China Central Television, Channel One. Contributed to numerous special programs on a myriad of subjects, from humanities and ethnic culture to biographies and studio interviews. The research direction is focused on mass communication, emerging media, gender study, and ethnic-cultural diffusion.

Karmilah Binti Binti Abdullah, Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science, University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu, Malaysia

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Ph.D. graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Current research interests are corporate social responsibility (CSR), public relations, sustainability and environmental communication, corporate communication and digital media. Formerly a part-time lecturer at Penang International College Business School, director of research at the Faculty of Communication, University Sains Malaysia, and a reporter at the Strategic Communications Office (SCOMM). Conducted research through interviews, online questionnaires, and distributed questionnaires, led a series of fieldwork. Assist and participate in all projects of SCOMM and other USM organizations.

Yin, Q., & Binti Abdullah, K. B. (2024). Analysis of Gender Discourse Bias and Gender Discrimination in Social Media: A Case Study of the TikTok Platform. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 24(2), 93–102.

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