Gender (In)Equality on the Web

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Women have come a long way in the past century, that much is true, but we still have a stretch to go before we’re considered to be the equals of men. Women are still constantly looked down upon, especially in certain careers which are male-dominant such as politics, sports media and financing. Social media gives misogynist men the opportunity to attack women without any consequence. The internet is a place where expressions of hate towards women flourish.

Sites such as Twitter and Facebook provide a screen through which people may say whatever they want without feeling guilt or being caught out for it. Sites such as Tumblr go one step further as they give users the option to be anonymous, as do many blogs and forums. Anonymity allows people to have the power to say whatever they want without backlash. When given the opportunity to confront someone face-to-face people are often likely to opt out as they would have to deal with the result, social media allows someone to type something and then turn away without further thought.

Some female bloggers are calling out the people who verbally attack them in the comments section. One such blogger is Laurie Penny, who is anonymously and harshly criticised about her appearance and past, she wrote in a post that “The implication that a woman must be sexually appealing to be taken seriously as a thinker did not start with the internet…The net, however, makes it easier for boys in lonely bedrooms to become bullies.

Lewis (2011) discusses the objectification female writers get and the vicious hate they receive from anonymous males. She talks about a freelance writer, Eleanor O’Hangan, who says that in her opinion “misogynistic abuse is an attempt to silence women. Traditionally, men have been the ones who influence the direction of society: I think there is still a sense that it’s not women’s place to be involved in politics.

References:

Thorpe, V. and Rogers, R., 2011. Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling&gt; [Accessed 15 May. 2014].

Lewis, H., 2011. New Statesman | “You should have your tongue ripped out”: the reality of sexist abuse online. [online] Newstatesman.com. Available at: <http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/helen-lewis-hasteley/2011/11/comments-rape-abuse-women&gt; [Accessed 15 May. 2014].

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