Categories:  'Gender Inequality'  

Sexist Trolling Shapes Women’s Experience of the Internet

In the Internet Age, women who enter public life have yet another form of sexism to contend with – the attacks of Internet 'trolls', or [...]

In the Internet Age, women who enter public life have yet another form of sexism to contend with – the attacks of Internet ‘trolls’, or online abusers.

As she began to make frequent TV appearances, historian and classicist Mary Beard found herself receiving online harassment, often related to the fact that she is a woman who looks her age. “She has no qualms about letting her long hair go naturally gray — nor about tackling the sexist underpinnings of anti-gray bias.”

Activists are often particularly targeted by Internet trolls, and many, including Beard herself, have pointed the similarities between the rhetoric of Trump and his supporters and that of online abusers. “You could make a powerful argument that the kind of tropes in Trump’s discourse overlap with the discourse you see in trolling: about women shutting up, about menstruation,” says Beard.

Of course, trolling comes in many forms and is not always defined by misogyny – public and semi-public figures of all marginalized identities face abuse on the Internet, from homophobia and transphobia to Islamophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism (and often several at once).

 

Image: Historian Mary Beard has traced sexism and misogyny from the Ancient Romans to modern-day Internet trolls. Credit: Alex Welsh for the New York Times

Articles

Publication Date: 16/04/2016
Source: The New York Times
Author: Matthew Schneier