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Social punishment by the distribution of aggressive TikTok videos against women in a traditional society

Ben-Atar Ella (Sapir Academic College, Shderot, Israel)
Ben-Asher Smadar (Achva Academic College, Shikmim, Israel)
Druker Shitrit Shirley (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 25 January 2023

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023




Online violence has been rampant in the past decade, intensifying the victims’ suffering owing to its rapid dissemination to vast audiences. This study aims to focus on online gender-based violence directed against young Bedouin women who have left their male-dominated home territory for academic studies. This study examined how the backlash against these students, intended to stop changes in traditional gender roles, is reflected in offensive TikTok videos.


This research is based on a qualitative-thematic analysis of 77 questionnaires and 30 semistructured in-depth interviews with first-year female Bedouin students aged 18–21 years.


The backlash was widespread, with young Bedouin men using offensive videos as “proof” that women have violated codes of honor and morality. The videos exhibited four types of gender-based violence: claims of immoral behavior, aggressive captions that take the footage out of context, allegations of immodest clothing and digital photo editing that produced fabricated results. Examining participants' reactions to the videos, this study revealed two patterns of response: passive acceptance of the situation and an active approach that included reaching out to powerful Bedouin men for solutions.


This research enriches the literature on online gender-based violence, particularly against women in traditional societies, and suggests practical steps: developing online media literacy in traditional societies, adopting a proactive approach and nurturing social self-competence in women who have been victims of online gender-based violence.



Ella, B.-A., Smadar, B.-A. and Shirley , D.S. (2023), "Social punishment by the distribution of aggressive TikTok videos against women in a traditional society", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 129-142.



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