Distant-Reading The New Freewoman – Jesse Haynes, Stacey Johnston, and Alex Wade

The reduction process of visualizing the New Freewoman did a number of things to aid the reader. For one, looking at the graphs that depict the frequency of term usage is a good tool to help with understanding how the different articles relate to one another. For example, we searched the term “beauty” and saw four spikes on the graph, and when following up with the placement of the spikes, we found the term “beauty” was most frequently used in articles written by women, and the term was often used in a derogative and critiquing fashion, especially within the spikes as opposed to the hits throughout the rest of the article. Another interesting discovery we made was when comparing the hits for the words “beauty” and “women.” We found when the word “beauty” was at its peak, “women” was at it’s lowest, and vice-versa. This can be interpreted to mean when women are writing about beauty, it is not related to other women, and instead used as more of an idea – and usually not a positive/uplifting one.

In comparison with the close reading and searching that we did on Tuesday during the lab, this method might not be as detailed as the first, but it is also a lot more efficient when you are seeking the “big ideas” of the article, the basic analysis of the text without much reading, and a way to relate the text and articles to each other. Today’s is a more interactive and manipulable interface, and it makes direct comparison accessible. Both are very good tools, but they fill different niches.


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