• YouTube Science Channel Video Presenters and Comments: Female Friendly or Vestiges of Sexism?

      Mas-Bleda, Amalia; Thelwall, Mike (Emerald, 2018-01-15)
      Purpose: This paper analyses popular YouTube science video channels for evidence of attractiveness to a female audience. Design/methodology/approach: The influence of presenter gender and commenter sentiment towards males and females is investigated for 50 YouTube science channels with a combined view-count approaching ten billion. This is cross-referenced with commenter gender as a proxy for audience gender. Findings: The ratio of male to female commenters varies between 1 and 39 to 1, but the low proportions of females seem to be due to the topic or presentation style rather than the gender of the presenter or the attitudes of the commenters. Although male commenters were more hostile to other males than to females, a few posted inappropriate sexual references that may alienate females. Research limitations: Comments reflect a tiny and biased sample of YouTube science channel viewers and so their analysis provides weak evidence. Practical implications: Sexist behaviour in YouTube commenting needs to be combatted but the data suggests that gender balance in online science presenters should not be the primary concern of channel owners. Originality/value: This is the largest scale analysis of gender in YouTube science communication.