‘So they hit each other’: Gendered constructions of domestic abuse in the YouTube commentary of the Depp v Heard Trial

Kerry Reidy, Keeley Abbott, Sam Parker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This study presents a critical discourse analysis of YouTube comments below five videos of the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial, which was live streamed by the platform in April and May 2022. The analysis examines the discursive resources used by commenters to construct domestic abuse. Commenters draw on three interpretive repertoires: ‘Perfect Victim’, ‘Mutual Abuse’ and ‘Dangerous Women’. The analysis explores the way these repertoires are used to rebut Heard’s allegations of abuse by mobilising the perfect victim repertoire to refute any claim she has to this experience, and the mutual abuse repertoire to implicate Heard in the abuse and minimise blame for Depp. Through establishing gender-symmetry in domestic abuse and drawing on traditional gender norms for each party, commenters construct the dangerous women repertoire to depict Heard as crazy, pathological and violent. The key implication of this study is that public constructions of domestic abuse can directly impact the attitudes and treatment of both victims and perpetrators. In this instance, they serve to maintain the oppression and control of women within anti-feminist narratives of female dominance, currently led by men’s rights activists and conservative outlets.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCritical Discourse Studies
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 12 Dec 2023

    Keywords

    • Gender
    • domestic abuse
    • Heard
    • Depp
    • Discursive Psychology

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