The web has certainly created a world for new types of conversation to take place, conversations that sometimes have no boundaries. We can hardly be stopped from expressing our opinion somewhere online, we can comment and tweet and post about our strongest thoughts and opinions. Misogyny– the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women – is increasingly being voiced by men online. The implications of this activity are serious.
Many of these misogynistic statements would be shut down in a real-life conversation, the speaker overruled or put in their place. But online when we comment on a blog we can be taking part in a conversation of hundreds of people. Surely this gives a better chance of finding others who share the same views? Yes of course, and so men are taking this opportunity to gain the power to express their dislike for women.
The internet creates a new and sheltered platform for broadcasting nastiness. The term ‘keyboard warriors’ is well-known as a result of the recent discussions surrounding cyber-bullying. This cyber-bullying has dominantly involved high school students of both genders. Unfortunately, warriors are again rising and this time women are the target. In this case it is even more worrying, as the dominant perpetrators are not students. They are out in the real world, they are grown men who should know better but simply don’t.
Positive online action has been taken with #mencallmethings, the successful twitter campaign where victims speak out against abuse. A recent example of fighting back is the misogyny speech made by Julia Gillard, as the then Prime Minister stood up to offensive remarks from Tony Abbott. This was in response to offline misogyny, but the speech soon circulated through social media potentially reaching online offenders.
This is the only way to stop this violent behaviour, by making it known. We cannot allow women to continue to be intimidated and threatened, simply because misogyny is a big issue. We need to start breaking this issue down, naming and shaming one warrior at a time.