How the Internet Can be Used as a Weapon: The Role of Gender Online

Online-HarassmentEveryone uses social media in different ways. Our ethnicities and genders create a digital divide which will only become more prevalent as aspects of social media are integrated into the web. Have you ever been threatened online by someone you know or an anonymous person? In the article, How the Web Became a Sexists’ Paradise’ by Jessica Valenti, she addresses the ways in which women have to fear for their lives because of sexism online. Valenti, while she doesn’t deny that men have definitely experienced abuse online, points out that women have also been enduring abuse that cannot just be ignored. “Extreme instances of stalking, death threats and hate speech are now prevalent, as well as all the everyday harassment that women have traditionally faced in the outside world – cat-calls, for instance, or being “rated” on our looks.” (Valenti 2007) When harassment occurs online it is easier to ignore it and most of the time other peoples comments can encourage it. Both men and women are subject to virtual harassment but women seem to endure this more. A study conducted at the University of Maryland pointed out, “A recent study showed that when the gender of an online username appears female, they are 25 times more likely to experience harassment.” (Valenti 2007) Women shouldn’t have to act a certain way online just to “play it safe” in case something were to happen to them.

The cause of sexism online might be that since it is not necessarily acceptable in public places onlineharrassment(where we could get in serious trouble) people feel that doing it online gives them power and there will be no consequences to their actions. The role of genders in the real world and on the web is almost exact.

In the article, “It’s a N—r in here! Kill the N—r!”: User Generated Media Campaigns Against Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in Games” by Lisa Nakamura, she explains an interesting feature that gamers have created in order to decrease the amount of harassment females endure while in video games. “A user-generated website was created called fatuglyorslutty.com, which was named from the most common names females are called in video games. The website encourages users to submit messages they have received from other users and to report it to the game moderators. The article also linked this website to a movement called Hollaback! which, “encourages women to take pic­tures of sexual harassers and catcallers with their cellphones and to share them on their website.” (Nakamura pg. 6)

There are plenty of websites and movements out there that attempt to decrease the amount of harassment women and men receive online every day. These websites/movements/online communities are safe places for those who have experienced any type of harassment or threatening messages. An article in TIME Magazine explains the ways in which women are harassed in a much different way than men are. In your experience with the internet, who do you personally think is harassed online more? Have you had any experiences yourself or know anyone that has? What other possibilities could lower the amount of harassment experiences online?

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29 thoughts on “How the Internet Can be Used as a Weapon: The Role of Gender Online

  1. doniecew February 15, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    I personally believe that woman are harassed more. I came to this belief because from my experience women put themselves out there more than men. Women are more engaged in the Internet as well. People on my Timeline are always playing rating games. I’ve see nude pictures of females getting tons of likes and fully dressed women getting sickening emojis and totally being embarrassed. I don’t think that the the rates are even about looks any more. Although people decide to participate in these types of online games, it’s never okay to be harassed about it.

    Since every parent doesn’t sit over there child watching every move they make on the computer, it’s kind of hard to even keep track of harassment, which makes it more acceptable.

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    • Carly Hernandez February 16, 2015 / 3:30 pm

      I agree, I see a lot of harassment happening everywhere on the internet especially on social media sites. I know I’ve been on different sites such as Instagram looking at someone’s page who is famous and seeing all of the comments harassing them. I think that even celebrities feel the effects of it as well since they are only humans too. It is usually the women who are the main victims since they can be easier to target. It would be impossible to keep track of the amount of harassing that occurs every day.

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      • Ms.McCollum February 19, 2015 / 5:19 pm

        I also agree that women are harassed more and this could definitely be due to the fact that they put themselves out there more. Instagram seems to be where I see more of it; it makes sense since it’s all photos. I remember when Snookie became pregnant again and people were saying how they felt bad the kid, she’s an awful mom, etc. She came back and confronted those people and said how she’s changed so much and how dare they talk about her that way. Good for her. Celebrities definitely get the bunt of it.

        Byefelipe is an account on Instagram of screenshots women take of the harassment they receive from men. It’s really eye opening to see the awful things said to women. I think this account, as well as the gamer sites, are steps in the right direction to decrease harassment against women online.

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  2. Brandon Coulter February 19, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    We live within a patriarchal society. This isn’t a novel statement or startling concept. Because of this fact, it is necessary to understand the kind of harassment and segregation that the “outlier” communities have experienced as a result. Women have been constantly reduced and discredited to a much lower point then men have ever experienced. This concept has been a prevalent societal construct for literally hundreds upon hundreds of years, and, as a result, has excluded women from positions of rationality or political and sociological power. The internet is is only the newest iteration of this form of gendered oppression, serving as a freer and wider-spanning way of putting half of the world’s population down and in the place that western male-dominated society has created for women. When women attempt to question this framework of society, the initial response is backlash. It has been this way since the creation of the framework. When these women attempt to transition from the margins of constructed society into the central group using the tools and traits that have been generally accepted over time, they are met with intense criticism and harassment, more often than not in the form of verbal and psychological abuse. In order to combat this, it is crucial for women to use this oppression as a point of community togetherness and empowerment, creating a new and applicable way of making change that cannot be oppressed and ostracized by conventional means.

    “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” — Audre Lorde

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  3. bjuhasz10 February 19, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    I definitely agree that women are harassed more online. This is very visible on sports websites, where when I read the comments on an article about a men’s sport, most of the comments are discussing the game, but when I read an article about a women’s sport, most of the comments consist of making fun of women, saying they are not athletic, harassing them, etc.

    I think it is extremely difficult to do something about online harassment, whether it is sexism, racism, etc. Many, including myself, are suggesting that reducing anonymity is a good start, but that doesn’t solve everything. Even if you have to give your name, personal information, etc. to post on the internet, some people will always make up fake information about themselves, or find some way around the system.

    I think trying to eliminate sexism online is so difficult because if it would be done, someone would have figured out a way already. I think the only way to eliminate it is to evolve as a society, and begin teaching children early (elementary/middle/high school) what your words and actions (and as they get older, your messages on the internet) can be very harmful to others.

    I am interested to see what ideas others come up with for this blog post on how to eliminate sexism online, because honestly I really struggled coming up with a good plan.

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    • Carly Hernandez February 22, 2015 / 9:18 am

      It’s really interesting to see this harassment happening in places that I hadn’t really thought about or that people wouldn’t think about right away. In sports, women constantly are being harassed or discriminated against just because of their gender. On sports websites, usually men are the ones who use it the most and that means that they are the ones commenting on women and making fun of them. Anonymity almost makes it worse since you have no idea who the person is but they’re making fun of you and harassing you for no reason. I also agree that it would be difficult to completely eliminate sexism online. You’re idea to teach children at a young age is a great idea and I think schools should look more into this since technology is so relavent in even young kids lives.

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  4. nebior February 19, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    I have played online video games for over a decade and have seen a wide range of harassment on the internet. I absolutely agree that women are harassed more, but I know that men are harassed as well. I have firsthand experience of being harassed when I was younger and my voice had not yet dropped. I was hurt to the point that I would not even talk using in-game voice unless I was in a private chat room with good friends. People made fun of me for not having a deep voice and being 10 years old it stung because things like that still hurt. By now I have become desensitized to online insults. I would say 95% of the time that I am using voice chat and there is a high-pitched voice and people decide it is the voice of a woman, then the sexual and vulgar comments just start pouring out. Even if there are friends around women online gamers the inappropriate comments still slip in. I led a gaming community and one of my officers was a woman and even in our tight knit group, people would make some sexual comment once in a while and I’m sure even though it was not intentional harassment it was still harassment all the same. People online are far worse than in person and it makes being yourself a difficult thing regardless of race, sex, or age.

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  5. spgregor February 21, 2015 / 8:36 am

    While bullies will always find someone to harass online, I think women tend to be harassed more. I found it interesting to read in this weeks assigned readings about writers who wrote under both male and female pen names and noticed a difference on how the writings were received. I knew that years ago women wrote under male pseudonyms but I thought we had come farther than that. To realize some now have to do so to avoid harassment doesn’t say much about how our society has evolved. I can’t help but wonder though if it is completely because of sexism or the harassers feel women are less likely to stand up for themselves.

    What can be done to lower online harassment experiences? I honestly don’t know if anything can be done. If they remove anonymity users will begin to use pseudonyms and alternate email accounts. I believe the true answer lies in raising the upcoming generation with more awareness around gender equality and online issues. We are all aware of the issues; however how many really address them with our children? I know I do, but when talking to my children I receive feedback that their friends’ parents don’t do this. We will never make a change with these concerns if everyone doesn’t take an interest at home.

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  6. adrianhormsby February 21, 2015 / 10:33 am

    Hi Carly, you have done an excellent job summarizing a very complex and important subject, that of sexual harrassment online. In many respects, the harrassment directed against women is not unlike that directed against Blacks. As Dana Boyd comments in her article in this weeks readings, communication via the internet is a reflection of pre-existing divisions and biases. Moreover, if we want people to connect online we need to start understand these underlying divisions. As all women know, sexual discrimination and misogyny are nothing new. And not surprising the superiority complex by men toward women continues to persist with a vengeance online. As Boyd rightly points out, much of the reaction by both men and women is rooted in fear of the other. In studying and observing Hip Hop Culture the issue of misogyny is reflected again and again in Rap lyrics, Graffitti and online Hip Hop websites and blogs, crossing racial divides. Why would African American young males who have come from a traditional culture that values their mothers, sisters, daughters and the role of womanhood, make such a180 degree turn in the last few decades. Is a complex one that is truly disturbing. Literally there is no excuse for the blatant harassment and criticism of women and feminist values both on or offline. The blatancy of the comments online without apology, however, is truly astounding. As a man I am continually ashamed at such treatment of women online, it is totally inappropriate and should never be applauded. A wise person once said that the best way for a man to love his daughters is to love their mother. I would hope would that going forward as a society, we can reinforce the importance of womanhood and femininity and always stand up for the rights and values of women.

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    • Carly Hernandez February 22, 2015 / 9:23 am

      I like how you related the readings from Boyd and connected them to the subject of gender and harassment. I agree that what happens in the real would is brought online and the same type of discrimination only gets worse because millions of people can target you and they can be people you don’t even know. It starts when kids are young, so at that age maybe they should be getting well educated from their teachers/parents/etc, Almost all of us can say that we’ve either been harassed online before or know of someone who has. That’s how common it is and we all recognize it when we view popular websites. I’ve noticed it more prevalent on YouTube as well, reading all of the horrible comments on innocent users videos. It’s sad that this is how people spend time on the internet.

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  7. mvzang February 21, 2015 / 11:21 am

    Before reading the assigned articles, I think it’s safe to say that most would assume that woman would be the most harassed on the internet. I think there are a lot more sick perverted men out there than woman. We don’t see Chris Hansen doing a show where woman are showing up one after one to meet a young boy, do we? President Obama recently called the internet “the wild wild west”, due to the lack of accountability for people’s inappropriate conduct. I’ll be honest in that I had to put the Newstatesman article down a few times because the crude comments made toward these woman got under my skin.

    I can’t say they I have ever been sexually harassed online, mostly due to the part that I’m not on it very much and I’m male. There has been a few messages from old buddies with whom I didn’t get along with very well, but that’s to me is a part of growing up. Like President Obama said in his address to the nation regarding the bill he signed into law, there needs to be an easier way to hold people responsible for egregious behavior on the internet. The fact that these woman in this article cannot speak about politics, or any subject material without being sexually harassed has to stop.

    If there wasn’t such a high level of anonymity in the digital world, these sick individuals could be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately were also dealing with a free speech issue here. However deeply inappropriate some of these comments are, they aren’t necessarily illegal if made only once. What needs to be dealt with quickly is when comedienne Kate Smurthwaite from our Newstatesman article received a message with her home address in it, along with the message that she would be rapped. Whomever sent that message needs to be locked up and prosecuted. For those situations where prosecution isn’t a possibility, shaming people by posting their photo and what they said like the article Lisa Nakamura mentioned may be the only alternative.

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  8. eakoonter February 21, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    Before I saw your blog, I believed that women were harassed more. I love the chart in your blog that shows who is harassed more. Visually, women are but it shows that men aren’t too far behind. It’s practically 50/50. This opened my eyes. Yes, the harassment that we experience is different gender to gender just as race to race, but there shouldn’t be any harassment at all. I wish people would wake up and just stop the hate. People kill themselves from being bullied online. If you have something to say to someone, say it to them personally not hiding behind a computer.

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  9. rmpaulk February 21, 2015 / 11:45 pm

    I personally think that women are harassed more. I see it done much more frequently to woman than I do men, especially on fashion and celebrity sites. Women are judged for the way they dress or look and men aren’t on these sites. I also see it a lot more in terms of cyber bullying, stalking cases, and catcalling videos. I honestly don’t understand why men catcall. Do they think they are actually going to get somewhere with that? Nobody likes it and its degrading. I haven’t been harassed online, but I have known someone who was. She was called names on social media (anonymously), got random phone calls and texts from this person calling her names, and they even went as far as slashing her tires. It was insane. I have also seen and read countless news stories and books about the subject and think it is honestly just awful.
    I think the only way that these experiences online could be lowered or gotten rid of would be to have a better monitoring system with bigger consequences. Yes you can report them and yes they will be kicked off a site, but does that really effect the bully or make them change their ways? The answer is no. It is just an inconvenience and something that will slow them down. In their minds, getting kicked off of a site or being banned just means moving on to a different place and picking a new target. They don’t face any real consequences and nothing is being done to correct their behavior. There needs to be something that really effects them, like suspending their internet capabilities, facing real-life charges (even a fine). Something REAL has to be done to make them think about doing it again. If there was at least a fine you would think twice about it and you could only bully till you’re broke.

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  10. akuelbs February 22, 2015 / 12:18 am

    Throughout all my time with online gaming, i can say it is easily females that get abused, bullied, and harassed more in games. For an example, i have played a game of counter strike were it is a 5v5 game and there was no talking between the teams for the beginning part of the game, but once some people found out there was a woman in the game, there was constant bashing towards her if she messed up, and even sexual abuse would happen. It was as if once someone found out there was a woman in the game, they felt like they were superior and they felt the need to harass her. The mentality of some people online surprise and disgust me that they feel they are superior. Im not saying that this happens in every case that there is online, but i know a lot of woman who have experienced harassment in multiple forms and have almost stopped playing games because it has got so bad. I just wonder how the people who do this harassment would be like in real life, because i feel they hide behind their anonymity. I know people will say that people should stand up for them, but there is only so much others can do and i think the only real successful solution will happen when this stereotype of females dont play video games goes away and that everyone is on a level ground.

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  11. jaemillz411 February 22, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    Personally, I think women get the shorter end of the stick when it comes to being harassed. We are constantly being judged on our appearance, like that is the only thing we have offer. We are brilliant, bold, and badass individuals and it would be nice to be acknowledged for that rather than ogled over. I have not experienced any harassment online, but some of my friends have and I hate the power cowards’ posses behind a computer screen. It is sickening to see your friends cry or become depressed because of comments that people chose to write with little to no thought as to how this will affect someone’s life. It is sad and cruel. I think a way to lower the amount of harassment experienced is calling people out. Make them accountable for their actions. It is also important to make sure people understand when they are either being bullied or bullying someone. It could be possible that people do not know they are doing it. We should block and not respond to the messages that the bully is sending to us as well. And finally, act before threats get serious, to the point where actual stalking or violence comes into play, we should inform authorizes like the police.

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  12. galaradi February 22, 2015 / 5:55 pm

    Women are highly paid attention to because of their looks online. Some girls post provocative pictures of themselves just to receive that attention. I notice they have so many followers because of their provocative pictures. It’s also the responsibility of the user to be aware of their audience and who can access their pictures. I always thought, however, that women are more prone to being victims of harassment online. The information shared was a bit shocking to me.

    Harassment knows no gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. Everyone can get harassed if they are not liked, no matter what they look like. It’s the people who put themselves out there that receive tons of hate every day. As said before, people behind a screen think they can say whatever they want with no consequences. They don’t have the audacity to say one word of their foul sentences to victims of harassment to their face. Unfortunately, this is the sad reality we live in today with the Internet. However, with Internet or not, people will always find a way to harass each other. I wish we can learn to like our differences, but I don’t see that happening in the near future.

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  13. seananthony3 February 22, 2015 / 6:09 pm

    First of all, fantastic blog post! I enjoyed the data you put out and what you chose from the articles.

    I definitely feel like women are harassed more online, or at least the dark spots I’ve visited. (I’m going to warn you now, what I’m about to put in the comments are examples of sexist things I have read..) Occasionally, I browse the infamous image board known as “4Chan.” This is a prime example of a large base of sexism. The default poster is considered male and if anyone claims at all to be a girl (even mentioning someone has a boyfriend, or they do something with their boyfriend), the response from dozens of posters is “Tits or GTFO with Timestamp.” Meaning, you’re apparently not allowed to be a girl unless you’re pleasing them in some way.

    One day, I came across a thread discussing sexism. It comes to no surprise that the majority of the posters believed that it didn’t exist and when I brought up the “tits or gtfo” thing, I was treated with hostility. “We only do it to get away from attention seekers” they said. However, they say this to ANYONE that mentions being a girl. And they put down anyone that defends them by calling them a “White Knight.” It’s not just 4Chan, either. There are plenty of websites dedicated to being more for “men” and when you have a website, i.e: Tumblr, that has a large amount of members declaring themselves feminists, they are mocked and seen to be crazy. Or, the “bad guy.”

    But what is perhaps the scariest part of this is that none of these posters will ever admit that they are sexist or that even the gaming community is sexist. But all you need to do is ask Gamer Gate to see…

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    • Carly Hernandez February 22, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      Sean, this was very interesting to read and I had no idea that something like 4Chan even existed. It’s crazy that there even is such a thing and that even when you addressed the problem the other people on the site believed that sexism didn’t exist. I feel like there are a lot of uneducated people who make these remarks and it’s hard to understand where they are coming from. These users targeting just women and girls is a perfect example of how women are generally harassed more than men online. It can be seen in so many places on the internet that we can’t even keep track. Really enjoyed your comment!

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  14. mwiedmeyer February 22, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    The harassment faced by both genders is near equal, as we saw in the chart in this post, harassment in near equal. The difference, however, is the harassment towards women is gender-based; they’re being harassed simply because they’re women who go online. It creates a space that excludes women, alienating them, which coincides with public opinion; that technology being a “man thing.” And the worst part of that is, when a feminist dares to speak up about the inequality in gender representation online, they’re threatened or doxxed until they feel unsafe.
    Sexism in the gaming community works in a similar way. I’ve been sexually harassed while online gaming and it’s a large part of why I avoid playing online. The flip side of that harassment is when men come to the rescue of women online; this white knight behavior, while definitely more positive than the harassment, is still degrading and sexist. I definitely consider myself a feminist, and part of that is feeling safe in a public space, just as safe as a man would feel, and I don’t feel that at this point in my life.

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    • mwiedmeyer February 22, 2015 / 7:18 pm

      *edit: First sentence should be “The harassment faced by both genders is near equal, as we saw in the chart in this post.” Whoops.

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  15. smkiraco February 22, 2015 / 9:37 pm

    I think women are definitely harassed more. I have played many video games and have witnessed many bullied for their gender. I find this baffling. Yeah, video games used to be very male dominated, but currently it is approximately an even split. The mindset has not changed much disappointingly so. Websites documenting such despicable actions are a great way of archiving and taking action of such statistically outdated bias.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/17/women-video-games-iab

    Because of the stubborn mindset of people performing such actions despite statistics proving otherwise not much can be actively done against this. I think this maybe more of a problem solved by time as much as I hate to admit it, but I am not saying that reporting such problems will not help at least short-term.

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  16. kevinpayton1 February 22, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    I would without a doubt say that women are harassed more than men. I have not had any personal experiences with being harassed online. I do not frequent social media as much as my children, but both of my teenage daughters have ben harassed online. But with that being said the harassment my daughters receive was from other young teenage boys and also from girls. Both have had to block and unfriend users in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It does not surprise me that this type of harassment takes place online as some cowards have used computers and mobile devices as their personal soapbox to spew sexist, rude, and vulgar comments at women. The Internet has actually made it easier for this to occur because the men have no fear of embarrassment, or retaliation because they are safe in their cars, homes, or work cubicles. This also occurs with racism as these same cowards take to popular blog post to troll and say what they would not dare say in person. This is a difficult thing to stop. Due to the ability for users to provide false or anonymous information, there is no way for them to take ownership for their words and comments.

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  17. blcarr February 22, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    I don’t understand why some of you are so surprised about this topic. Yes women are harassed more than men but what about race. I get harassed by idiots of many nationalities. Over the last year, I was subjected to race on campus numerous times by professors as well as other students. I get judged by the color of my skin on a daily basis. And now more than ever, since I’m educated! Not all, but some women provoke others to harass them. All of these nude postings, twerk videos, sexy night wear ECT. Nothing is sacred anymore. Even in public, when women wear those yoga pants but get offended when a person approaches them. It’s easier to harass person throw software than it is in person but it’s even worse when you have to sit and take it from a person when you are already portrayed as angry, amped and overly hyped.

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  18. Jason Robinson February 22, 2015 / 10:08 pm

    I enjoyed this article. It was thought provoking, and empowering. I’m glad that women are able to find a way to redirect the negative and disrespectful attention.

    I must say that while I’m not a female, and I haven’t walked a mile in one’s shoes. I can only share my experience as a African American male in regards to hostilities.

    Most of the time, I’ve found that many of the problems I run into is due to the other person’s insecurities, and how they feel about themselves.

    What do you mean J?

    I mean that racism in America has been used as a way to divide folks, but it’s also been used as a way to ensure the economic security of some folks as well. That’s just how the system maintains itself. People maintain isolation of other people from system with a reward of a job, salary, or in some cases the American Dream.

    What happens when someones economic stability gets threaten?

    We call in the KKK, White Citizens Council, and in the most entertaining form we call Rush Limbaugh?

    What does this have to do with women?

    Well just like minorities fought for economic and social rights. Women are attempting to claim their economic social rights. For centuries a man has been hovered over a women telling her when she can reproduce, and how many she can reproduce, what her chores are, what she is allowed to do. etc.

    A white man was used to the old term “His home is his castle” what happens when the Queen starts bringing in the bigger paycheck, and she can dictate her reproductive rights?

    The little boy inside starts feeling a certain way about the concept of traditional values, and where he fits within the American Dream.

    Anyhow, I’ll stop there. I figured I’ve sparked enough thought controversy, but I will say that the only problem that I have with the Feminist movement. Is it’s alienation of women of color.

    Somehow women of color aren’t protected when media, or other forces distort their body images, or misrepresent them etc. This is one of the greatest tragedies, and contributes classic and racism.

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  19. mstor763 February 22, 2015 / 10:41 pm

    I feel that women are more subjected to online harassment. I feel the harassment is influenced on many other things though. The way magazines/newspapers/etc. photo-shop photos is just unrealistic and poor taste. When females are constantly scrutinized against these photos its just adding more issues females face when being harassed. I have to say though, the chart is rather shocking to me, I am surprised that the ratio is as close as it is. (57% women to 43% men of adults who are harassed) I would have thought, without a doubt, that ratio would have been closer to 70/30. I am not a frequent flyer of many websites like 4chan or anything similar of that nature, but I do have to say it is just crazy that there are websites to seek revenge on an ex.

    Michael Zang brought up a great point of how Obama classifies the internet as the Wild Wild West. People are not held accountable online and that trend needs to end. I am unsure if that has happened yet, but an individual who harasses someone to the point to where they take their own life (and yes this has happened) needs to have been held accountable and justice served to them. I feel without this happening, this whole topic will be just another page in the book and will always be alive and kicking.

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  20. lewenzel93 February 22, 2015 / 11:26 pm

    I think women are harassed online much more than men. I have been personally attacked online because of my gender. I am a female gamer, which often brings about sexist comments that insinuate I’m not a “real” gamer, or, even worse, I’ve been mocked that the only reason I’m interested in video games is to impress men. Video games are generally supposed to be a male dominated scene, but according to the Washington Post, about 48% of American gamers are female. And even 70% of female gamers, myself included, say they play as male characters online in hopes of escaping harassment. As if that isn’t bad enough, we all know about the Gamergate controversy, right? The harassment that came about from that included rape threats, death threats, the threat of a mass shooting at a university event, and doxing, which is a technique of tracing someone on the internet and gathering information to release including addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. It’s obvious this is all because of gender. I think the only way to decrease this kind of harassment is to lessen the amount of anonymity these people have and to hold them accountable for their actions.

    Sources: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/10/17/more-women-play-video-games-than-boys-and-other-surprising-facts-lost-in-the-mess-of-gamergate/

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  21. thegradytrain February 22, 2015 / 11:48 pm

    In my experience online, no one is really safe from harassment. In a sort of Murphy’s Law of the internet, if you leave an opening to some sort of negative/inflammatory comment, there will be such a comment. While pretty much everyone is vulnerable to harassment, I would say that some groups on the internet are way more likely to be targeted than others. I think the most obvious of targeted harassment is females and/or non-white users. Valenti’s article: ‘How the Web Became a Sexists’ Paradise’ mentioned a sort of group mentality with harassment on the internet, and this is of course a true trend that exists. Another unfortunate reality is that there is not really a group mentality for the defense of a victim. In my experience, if you defend the victim you essentially are painting a big target on yourself.

    Going back to the first part about leaving an opening, I think a good tactic to lower the amount of harassment is to not leave the opening, specifically not allowing comments if you are expecting them to be extremely negative, or allowing the content creator to turn off the comments if things get too bad. I think more moderators on possible harassment hot zones could also assist in toning down the harassment.

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  22. cseejay February 23, 2015 / 5:03 am

    The interesting part about the situation between women and man tend to be so drastically different. I think a clear solution to the problem is having companies take reasonability for responding to trolls or hateful people that use they’re services. Recently, it’s been more of a concern to the general public and companies now that there’s a hypersensitivity to online bullying. Summing up the main issue for why things are the way they are online has everything to do with there being no monitors of behavior. I’m not someone who believes people are typically positive or innately good, I think they’re usually pretty bad and the sense of responsibility and Law help keep the peace outside of social media. I think it’s too easy to take the filter off and say whatever comes to mind first. You don’t have to second guess yourself or think about what you want to say unless there’s some negative repercussions towards your actions. I think actions like this are prevalent in YouTube comments, and when the channel creator usually responds to the negative comments the tone tends to change. Websites where developers can respond to reports of abuse, is something I think more companies should participate in.

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  23. cseejay February 23, 2015 / 5:05 am

    Regarding the question about individuals being more racist, I think is somewhat misleading. Like stated, now that the policing system on the social spectrum isn’t similar to reality. The fact that you can say anything without punishment is a problem, and without rules the amount of bullying and racism is extremely prevalent. I don’t think the amount of racism on social media has anything to do with an emergence of racist individuals, I think most of the people you see online are the people that you cross in your daily lives. This sounds cynical, but I think do to the online space, you can be the worst of worst possible, just because you can be. I don’t think individuals are more divided online today compared to before, I just think it’s more apparent where individuals interest are online. Because we have such an unfiltered view on people online, it’s easier to track what people are interested in and how they behave. I think you have to carefully pick and choose where you read comments and engage yourself in discussions because certain sites tend to carry more trolls more than others. Ultimately the only way to fix many of these issues is by having companies patrol their sites closely.

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