The internet has provided a haven for those inclined to strike out at people in anonymity and usually without fear of repercussion.
The purpose of this blog post is not to propose solutions to this problem, but rather to take a step back and call for an objective, measured and truthful discussion of the relevant issues.
There’s no doubt that women are often targets of online abuse, although there does appear to be a tendency towards embellishment and exaggeration with regards to the nature and extent of such abuse. The author of this article, for example, would have us believe that life on the internet is unbearable for women due to the oppressive behaviour of male trolls.
What is generally absent from articles on this subject is an honest admission that a considerable amount of online abuse is directed at men, and that a substantial proportion of those perpetrating abuse are women/girls. Have a look at the information provided in the chart below, extracted from a 2014 paper by PEW Research. (see 2017 updated here)
Why do so many commentators and ‘experts’ fail to acknowledge these significant points?
Surely not the desire to support the feminist narrative of women as the perpetual victims of an unyielding male patriarchy?
The findings of a survey by Norton painted a different picture. Unfortunately however the results were compromised by poor methodology, a common problem with pro-feminist research. In this instance the researchers failed to include questions about male victimisation via online abuse.
So why has this issue garnered a large and increasing amount of attention in recent years? Are people becoming nastier? Is that nastiness becoming more gendered in nature?
There are a number of significant factors that need to be considered here.
Firstly there is the thorny issue as to what constitutes actual online abuse or harassment. One end of the spectrum is marked by behaviour that is criminal in nature and intent, for example clear threats to commit violence to the targeted individual.
Further along the scale one encounters behaviour that does not involve actual threats, but is so persistent and pervasive as to be genuinely threatening in nature.
At the other end are interactions that are little more than assertive dissent in relation to a particular idea or opinion being put forward.
More and more we are witnessing the definition of terms such as online abuse and ‘trolls’ expanded to include behaviour and people who seem undeserving of these pejoratives. Also troubling is the fact that the same types of behaviour decried as abuse or trollish when used by conservative/non-feminists, are seen as acceptable or even noble when used by feminists/leftists/SJW. This issue of finessing definitions to suit a narrative is discussed in another blog post.
Why do people, particularly in this case feminists/SJW, so readily misinterpret online communication in this way? I’d suggest that in part it is a deliberate strategy, whilst at other times simply a misunderstanding.
It has been suggested that feminists interpret relatively innocuous messages as hurtful because online communication is a forum where women are truly treated as equals. Men speak to women online as men would speak to other men in real life. It is said that many women are unaccustomed to this gloves-off banter, and interpret it as vindictive rather than as heartfelt and direct. I believe that there is an element of truth to this, although again it is but one of several factors in the mix.
One other reason for exaggerated claims of online hate and abuse is that it provides an excuse to instigate progressively harsher and more intrusive forms of censorship. Censorship is a recurring theme in real-world feminist tactics, and one which I address in another blog post.
Turning again to feminist research, let’s examine a project called the University of NSW ‘Cyberhate Project‘, which is being supported by the Australian Research Council (‘ARC’) with AUD$372,095 of public funding.
I was more than a little concerned to learn that this research project will only survey women. That looks an awful lot like a research project designed with a particular conclusion already firmly in mind. I immediately took this up with the ARC, who dismissed my complaint regarding this obvious ideological bias in the following manner:
“Proposals for ARC funding undergo a rigorous peer review process involving experts in their fields who assess the quality of projects and the capabilities and achievements of applicants. The planning and management of ARC-funded research projects is a matter for individual researchers and institutions (in accordance with ARC funding agreements).”
I’m left wondering just how many of those peers were likely either fellow feminists or sympathisers. Hands up who else thinks that this might not be the most effective vetting process in the case of a polarised issue such as this?
(As an aside, consider the suffocating anti-male gender bias evident in this article by another recipient of ARC funding. Is there a pattern here?)
The architect of the Cyberhate Project, Emma Jane, wrote an article entitled ‘Rape Threats and Cyberhate? Vote no to the new digital divide‘, published in a current affairs site called The Conversation.
As is virtually de rigeur at The Conversation, readers comments that were deemed unsupportive of the feminist author’s position were quickly excised. In this case that amounted to at least one in four comments. Of the many I read before they disappeared, none of these were in the least bit threatening or abusive.
I posted one of those comments removed by the moderator. It simply stated:
“Emma, Is it not a fact that men are subject to more online harassment than are women? Is it not a fact that many of the perpetrators of online abuse are women? … Might it therefore not be more accurate to say that the real online divide is one between trolls and the rest of us, rather than between men and women as your paper implies?”
Given that men are subject to a considerable amount of online harassment, they should not be excluded from research on this subject. The fact that the finger of blame is often pointed at men alone, when we know full well that many women perpetrate online harassment/abuse, does tend to stick in this writer’s craw. One might consider at this point the example of Australian radfem Clementine Ford.
As with domestic violence and various other topics, feminists persist in labelling issues as “gendered” when they are not, in order to create support for their global war-against-women conspiracy.
What now follows is a collection of links to articles that provide various perspectives on the issue of online harassment/abuse:
Woman charged over alleged Kotoni Staggs revenge porn leak (7 August 2020)
Many teens are victims of digital dating abuse; boys get the brunt of it (12 February 2020) USA
Revealed: Revenge porn mainly being carried out by women (1 March 2019)
Most victims of financial sextortion are men (6 February 2019)
Woman faces court accused of leaking lewd tape of ex-AFL star (4 February 2019)
Women allegedly bombarded online match with 159,00 texts after one date (1 February 2019)
The enormous $3.7 billion cost of Australia’s cyber-trolls (28 January 2019) The survey on which the article was based, apparently commissioned by feminist journalist Ginger Gorman, found that “women were much more likely to be harassed online”. But no mention in the article of the gender of most perpetrators. Gee I wonder why.
Caleb Bond: ‘We can’t disregard the viciousness of girls’ (11 September 2017)
Woman charged for posting revenge porn after break-up (27 July 2017)
Male Tory MP’s got most social media abuse (24 July 2017)
Men as Likely To Be Harassed Online as Women (18 July 2017)
Women online are getting used to cyber hate. They need to get used to reporting it (18 July 2017) Emma Jane is at it again, viz. men suffer no online abuse/men are the problem/men have no right to protest online abuse/etc
2017 update to Pew’s 2014 online harassment survey shows, again, that men receive more harassment online than women (12 July 2017) Reddit discussion thread
Constructing the cyber-troll: Psychopathy, sadism, and empathy (December 2017 edition of ‘Personality and Individual Differences’) This study asserts that most trolls are male, but I suspect that the findings may have been compromised by one or more of the following factors:
* small sample size with 2/3 of respondents being women, and who were possibly self-selected
* incorrect assumptions (by survey respondents) regarding the gender of trolls
* differing and possibly gender-based judgments as to what constitutes trolling
The media dangerously misuses the word ‘trolling’ (3 July 2017) This article conveniently neglects to mention that this ‘problem’ has been primarily brought about through misusing the term ‘trolling’ to describe reasonable dissent against the prevailing leftist/feminist narrative.
Reddit mensrights discussion thread related to the June 2015 article in The Conversation (as mentioned earlier)
Revenge porn now affects more than one in five Australians (7 May 2017) with further detail provided in this article in ‘The Conversation’. Note how they try so hard to keep pushing the ‘men are worse’ line, even when the figures don’t support it.
Survey finds men and women equal victims of revenge porn attacks (4 May 2017) Australia
Women troll on dating apps just as often as men (13 March 2017) Australia
Jealous ex-girlfriend who posted revenge porn online threatened former partner’s new lover in terrifying 18-month harassment campaign (8 February 2017) UK. No jail time despite it being her second offence.
Men and Women Are Equally Vulnerable to Online Domestic Abuse: Study (19 January 2017)
Scheming revenge porn mistress avoids jail (13 January 2017)
This one-click ‘rape threat generator’ aims to counter online misogyny (6 January 2017) Another unhelpful and biased offering from Emma Jane
Scorned woman uses cop database to harass lover (21 December 2016)
TV star sentenced for stalking market trader she ‘became obsessed with’ (19 December 2016)
Bryce Cartwright was the target of social media posts from an ex-partner (13 December 2016) More on this incident here
Australia tackles revenge porn with new eSafety Commission (23 November 2016) AFAIK this agency’s brief was initially gender-neutral but it quickly assumed a pro-feminist stance, making its focus the online harassment of women and girls.
Real estate agent, 46, ‘sent graphic nude photos of herself to her ex-boyfriend’s teen son (29 September 2016) USA
Playboy Playmate could face jail time for body-shaming Snapchat photo (8 September 2016) See 2017 follow-up article here
$150,000 Facebook post that destroyed a former deputy principal’s life (8 August 2016) Australia
What bit about the wrongs of sexual threats against women do courts and men not get? by Emma Jane (4 August 2016) Australian feminist academic rejects court ruling and bays for the blood of young male troll. If we reversed genders there would be silence or support for fair judgement. You know I’m right.
The top 20 Australian politicians, with respect to receiving online abuse, are all right wing males (1 July 2016) Australia. Typical feminist take on this issue, for e.g. mis-labels harassment as “online violence” and “sexual violence”, does not provide corresponding statistics for men/boys harassed online, nor divulge that much abuse is perpetrated by women/girls. The implication is, as always, men=bad & women=men’s hapless victims.
An investigation into the online stalking and harassment of female MHRA Jasmin Newman (June 2016) More about Jasmin’s situation in this article
Accused, 62, calls law heavy handed (14 June 2016) NZ
Why does this forum have a feminist icon in the top left? (27 May 2016) The ‘Reclaim the Internet’ campaign was established by British MP’s. One forum visitor questions the appropriateness of using a feminist symbol.
Teal Deer’s analysis of the “online misogyny” data (May 2016) Video presentation
Twitter abuse – ‘50% of misogynistic tweets from women’ from the BBC, and this article appeared in the Guardian on the same day (27 May 2016)
“It might be the best six months of your life.” Woman banned by judge from social media (11 May 2016) Australia
Virar man ends life as wife shows intimate pictures with lover (28 April 2016) India
Why outing senders of unsolicited dick pics is not the same as ‘revenge porn’ (27 April 2016) Plenty of feminist misrepresentation with nil sources cited to back up the usual women=innocent/men=guilty claims.
Teen pleads not guilty to charges over livestreaming friend’s rape (20 April 2016) USA
Teenage girls traumatised by revenge-porn network aimed at ‘teaching us a lesson’ (19 April 2016) Australia. Both males/females are targetted by online abuse, including revenge porn, but you won’t read that in this gender-biased MSM offering.
The top secret internet groups where men are forbidden (18 April 2016)
Candace Owens sought to create a hit-list of people whom she and others identified as trolls (15 April 2016) USA … but then read about how this ill-conceived project was subsequently sabotaged by feminists motivated by jealousy, at ‘How A Torpedoed Kickstarter Campaign Unintentionally Revealed An Unlikely Unit of Cyber-Terrorists‘. The story is continued and summed up nicely in this further article by David King.
The dark side of Guardian comments (12 April 2016) UK
Jilted saleswoman put her ex through revenge porn nightmare by posting explicit images of him online in first ever case of male partner being targeted (9 April 2016) UK. Related Reddit discussion thread here.
Girl gets Instagram revenge on cheating ex (25 March 2016) Reverse the genders in this story and “one poor lass” becomes ‘online harassment by abusive former boyfriend’
Spurned ex-girlfriend, 51, sent explicit revenge porn images of her former lover dressed as a woman to his friends and called him a ‘tranny c***’ on the Facebook page of his car washing business (19 March 2016) UK. See related Reddit discussion thread here
Feminist bullies don’t understand the Internet (13 March 2016) Video which focusses on the Gregory Elliot court case.
Is accepting abuse just part of joining Twitter? by Australian feminist writer Tara Moss (13 March 2016)
“A new survey by the Internet security company Norton (for which I’m an ambassador) shows that nearly half of all Australian women (47 per cent) experience online harassment. That rises to a staggering 76 per cent for women under 30. Unsurprisingly, 70 per cent of women believe online harassment is a significant problem and 60 per cent believe it has got worse in the past year.” And nowhere in this article will you find corresponding statistics in relation to men – the survey didn’t include questions about male victimisation. I wonder why not?
Online harassment of women at risk of becoming ‘established norm’, study finds (8 March 2016) Australia. Guardian article drawing on the Norton survey which air-brushed out male victimisation/female perpetration, and thus robbed the findings of social context. No doubt a good thing from a feminist perspective if that would have diminished the victim status on which their ideology is based.
Taking Steps Towards Online Safety This International Women’s Day (7 March 2016) Online vulnerability is not a gender issue, well not unless you are a high-profile tech company with a distinctly pro-feminist bias.
Social media trolling of female journalists is insidious, report shows (6 March 2016) Australia
Receiving online abuse has now become a badge of honour (2 March 2016) UK
Emily Sears and Laura Lux: Why we shame the trolls who send us inappropriate messages (31 January 2016) I don’t support the guys sending ‘dickpics’, but the fact that these particular women flood social media with salacious selfies adds a certain irony, yes? #FeministLogic #Facepalm
An anonymous response to dangerous FOSS Codes of Conduct (24 January 2016) USA
Playing Politics With Online Abuse, by Cathy Young (23 January 2016) USA
Online sexism is so out of control that we can no longer ignore it (17 December 2015) UK
More than 1,000 women in secret Facebook group name men who troll women online (4 December 2015) with related reddit discussion thread here
Sydney man fired after calling feminist writer Clementine Ford a ‘sl**’ (1 December 2015) And Clementine, just what consequences are there for women who “behave like this“? Absolutely none, right? (More on this issue in this blog post)
Domestic violence and Facebook: harassment takes new forms in the social media age (30 November 2015) Australia. And again, this article ignores female perpetration and male victimisation.
100 Women 2015: Social media ‘fuels gender violence’ (26 November 2015) The suggestion here that women are 27 times more likely to be “abused online” is absurd.
A Life Ruined By Feminists And The State: Only The Internet Can Save Canada’s Gregory Alan Elliott (19 November 2015) See also this article by Stephen Beard. See this video for how this saga ended (Greg won in court). An overview providing various linked sources is available here.
Education Department investigates report of students posting teacher’s nude photos on social media (18 November 2015) Australia
My doxxer knows how to use Google, has no idea how to “dox” (14 November 2015)
Were examples of specific rape threats made public? No. How about a formal complaint to police? Apparently not. “Oh look, another politician ginning up fake threats to boost her feminist cred. Never seen that before….” (Source)
Ashy Bines hits back at online trolls after they attacked her post baby body (27 October 2015) It’s laudable that the article makes clear that the trolls were female.
Fact-checking the UN: Is the Internet dangerous for women? (13 October 2015) Video
Women Who Write About Tech Are Still Being Abused Online (13 October 2015) Female author paints a misleading picture whereby only women online are attacked or criticised. Related reddit discussion thread here
Why Justin Bieber’s naked pictures highlight feminist double standards (12 October 2015)
How can we stem the tide of online harassment and abuse? (5 October 2015) Australia
The UN Wants To Censor The Entire Internet To Save Feminists’ Feelings (25 September 2015)
TIL that, despite popular belief, men get threatened to have their private photos exposed online more than women (12% vs. 8%) and have the threats carried out more often than women (63% vs. 50%) and related reddit discussion thread (21 August 2015)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Online Harassment (21 June 2015) with related reddit mensrights discussion thread. But when the target of abuse is male … well, that’s different (See related reddit discussion thread here)
Online harassment is a form of violence (8 April 2015)
#TeamHarpy: Another Ugly Story of ‘Progressive’ Vigilantism (27 March 2015)
Emma Watson: Trolls threatened to publish nude photos of me (8 March 2015) This article quotes Emma as saying most of those posting threats were other women, yet this article (in pro-feminist news.com.au) claims that men were to blame. As mentioned earlier, this represents an all-too typical bending of the facts to suit the narrative.
Fake Tinder account proves men aren’t so bad after all (12 February 2015)
Measures taken to combat girls bullying girls online (3 January 2015)
The Good (and the Bad) of Twitter’s New Bid to Stop Harassment (7 November 2014)
Online harassment affects men too (4 November 2014)
Men are harassed more than women online (4 September 2014)
Men get more than twice as much abuse as women on Twitter (24 August 2014)
#womenagainstfeminism receive hundreds of threats (Scroll down their Facebook timeline to 16 August 2014 for details) Somehow I don’t think it would be men issuing most of the threats … but surely not women?
This June 2014 reddit discussion thread, and linked newspaper article, is about female Twitter trolls
Elsewhere in this blog you might be interested in: