Online Misogyny

There’s a slightly bizarre stat embedded in Demos’ recent research into “Misogyny on Twitter,” and it’s that over half of all the offenders accused of using the words “slut” and “whore” in an aggressive way are women. Another bizarre thing to come out of today’s breaking news is that a task-force set up to tackle the problem of misogyny online is to be headed by Yvette Cooper, one of the candidates being touted as a possible successor to JC, if the Labour Party ends up having another leadership battle.

Now, the report’s findings are bizarre because if you’re looking specifically at the hatred of women, how on earth are you supposed to tackle such a problem if women appear to be equally to blame, which in this case, according to the report, they are. Similarly, the appointment of Yvette Cooper to head the task-force is bizarre because of the current relationship the public has with its politicians, who are mostly viewed with distrust, and for very good reason, what with expense scandals and other stuff dating back a good way into the distant past. It would seem that if you want to end the practice of misogyny, a form of hate, the worst thing you could do is let a politician take control of finding a solution to the problem, and that means any politician, not just Yvette Cooper, because arguably they are hated figures at the moment.


And you also have to consider that many of the women using the terms “slut” and “whore” are doing so in an ironic way, according to the report, which is something the authors of the report call “casual misogyny.” These women are said to have reclaimed the terms from their detractors and are now using them as they see fit. Now, the question here is, who has the right to tell them that they can’t do so? A politician (who undoubtedly, because this is what politicians do, is using any form of media headline in order to further their career ambition)? Basically, it’s just a very messy area of the Internet to be dealing with because the circumstances surrounding the data draw no clear conclusions. Men are the problem, but women are also the problem. Some women are using the terms in an ironic way, but is that also the case for some of the men? The report doesn’t mention this.


So, how does Yvette Cooper plan to tackle the rise in online expressions of a seemingly misogynistic nature? Perhaps again, relating this issue to the issues raised in a previous post about masculinity and its origins, we really need to look at the very early stages of a child’s development, because, as stated in that last post via a piece of anecdotal evidence, such things begin to occur at a very young age. “I hate girls,” an expression heard by many a parent, I’m guessing, always has the potential to turn into “I hate women.”

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