The Construction of Masculinity Identities through Metaphors on the Kenyan Twitter Discourse: A Conceptual Metaphor Perspective


Stella Nyanjugu Gichohi
Deli Nirmala


Identities have been created in many ways. Identities such as masculinity have appeared in mainstream media such as newspapers, televisions, radio stations as well as magazines. With the global technological trend, social networking sites such as Twitter platforms have also allowed the construction of male and masculine identities. These identities on social networking sites have seen the rise of toxic masculinity in Kenya.  This paper studies how these toxic masculinities are constructed through metaphorical expressions on the Kenyan Twitter discourse. The study comes from the recent heightened calls for gender equality and the advancement of feminism waves in Kenya. This has led to a weekly discussion on the Kenyan Twitter platform about the role and position of men and masculinity in general in comparison to women. The terms boy child and girl child have also been used commonly to refer to males and females respectively. The study is premised upon the Conceptual Metaphor Theory by Lakoff and Johnson (2003) and Hegemonic Masculinity by Connell (2005) Data was collected from #Masculinity Saturday and #Man Day Tweets and replies from selected users. The study provides evidence of toxic masculinity on the Twitter platform. It revealed men as the target domain have been conceptualised as stoic, dominant, entities, managers, savages, self-victimizers, and scarce commodities. The Kenyan twitter discourse also was seen to have diversity in regards to gender and age. However, men seem to be dominating weekly tweets in an attempt to promote toxic masculinity.  This can only be seen as a way to regress to patriarchy and a world of male domination.