Online Barbarians

There is no disputing that sexism, racism and prejudice is present both on and offline in today’s world, however, just to what extent are these having on our society, and what can we do about it?

In week 10’s lecture of BCM112, titled “#Mencallmethings: Identity and Difference Online” guest lecturer Tanja Dreher pointed out the following facts:

85% of Wikipedia contributors are male, whereas only 15% are female
Dartitup has 88% of its users as male, whereas only 12% are female
However
Pininterest has 97% of its users as being female, whereas only 3% are male

Due to the relatively low percentage of female contributors to Wikipedia, feminist group has began a campaign called Wikistorming, where there objective is just that; to increase the amount of female scholarly contribution to Wikipedia and to have the “female authors” category disbanded, and thus placing any female contributions under the single heading of “Authors”.

This is a grand idea and move on the part of feminists, as there should not be, and for the life of me I simply can’t understand, why there would need to be a gender focused subsection of Wikipedia which divides contributors to female and just plain, old authors. On the 14th January 2014, British newspaper The Telegraph published an article titled “Man posing as woman on online dating site retreats after two hours following sexist abuse” . The article focused on the disturbing and sexist remarks that were directed at a male online dating site user, who was posing as a female online. Take for example the following extract, where the man details the experience:

One of the guys becomes super aggressive saying he is competitive and he will treat me right, the other is asking for my phone number telling me he is lying in bed and the conversation (without me steering it) is turning increasingly sexual in nature though I tell him I’m not comfortable with it.

It is worth remembering that these “guys” have no idea of who this “girl” is, what her interests are and in fact who she really is. She is merely a profile on a dating site, set up by a male to see what it’s like on the other side, however to the many guys who sent rude messages or implied sexist remarks, she is just someone and anyone that their hormones desire. Furthermore:

Guys would become hostile when I told them I wasn’t interested in   NoStringsAttached sex, or guys that had started normal and nice quickly turned the conversation into something explicitly sexual in nature,” he writes. “I would be lying if I said it didn’t get to me. I ended up deleting my profile at the end of two hours and kind of went about the rest of my night with a very bad taste in my mouth.

This is a prime example of the disturbing nature and commentary females are subjected to online. Sexism has been around since the dawn of time, one representative of one gender believes they are better than the other, and so sexism and misogyny are born.

There is no excuse nor reason for online sexism, it is merely a form of gender based bullying, and to this blogger, cowardly. No female should feel intimidated to nor coaxed into sexual antics or violence online- be it dating sites, social media or online gaming. As a male, I find it pathetic when gender is the main reason for discrimination and bullying, and sadly of which is prominently done by males. No female should be subjected to such insults and cowardice, for it is fundamentally wrong, and thus if it is wrong, stupid and pathetic in public, then it is no different online.

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd Steele

Bibliography

Dreher, T 2014, “BCM112 2014 W10 #MENCALLMETHINGS: IDENTITY AND DIFFERENCE ONLINE”, PowerPoint presentation BCM112 Lecture Ten at University of Wollongong on 13th May 2014

Sanghani, R 2014, “Man posing as woman on online dating site retreats after two hours following sexist abuse”, The Telegraph, 14th January 2014, accessed on the 14th May 2014
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10571012/Man-posing-as-woman-on-online-dating-site-retreats-after-two-hours-following-sexist-abuse.html

 

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