Virtual Matriarchy: Online Communities of Bulgarian Women

Eli Alexandrova


Abstract: The paper presents the results of a study on user-generated content in groups of Bulgarian mothers on the social media Facebook. Concepts of the characteristics of a hypothetical social system of matriarchy are examined in order to trace their applicability to the studied virtual environment. The transition from the BG-Mamma forum platform to Facebook groups as the preferred environment for interaction between mothers who dominate the Bulgarian online parental communities is analysed. The specifics of online communities are considered. The study identifies thematic categories of the publications in the studied groups and reaches its conclusions through the analysis of quantitative and qualitative indicators. It outlines the emerging trends in the contemporary social roles of Bulgarian women, without neglecting the limitation of the possible distinction between online identity and its offline characteristics. The theme of otherness is explored in the Bulgarian social and cultural context through an analysis of its manifestations in virtual space. The novelty in the study of otherness is also at the level of the role of Bulgarian mothers as parents and as participants in virtual groups, in which they present the topics of motherhood, fatherhood, health and upbringing of children. Otherness manifests itself at the verbal and visual level when presenting information and at the level of arguments when presenting positions and theses on these topics.

Keywords: matriarchy, social media, online communities, groups of mothers on social media, female social roles.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 50, January 2022

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