On BBC today - "Is there a tech solution for hatred of women?"

(205 Posts)
NiceTabard Fri 24-Jan-14 20:05:24

here

In the wake of the convictions today of threats etc to 2 women on twitter. The article comes from a standpoint that women are targeted on the net in a certain way & possible reasons for it.

It is a much stronger article than I am used to reading on the BBC and quite enjoyed it! The later comments are also broadly interesting.

What strikes me is that the article included the bald statement from a US tech journalist:

"If it's a social problem and not a technological one, what is the root of it? Ms Norton, believes it is stark:

"The social problem is that men are raised to hate women and technology is not going to fix that. What's going to fix that is a societal conversation about why that is and why it shouldn't be, and why women aren't a threat to men. And the technology gives us the opportunity to have that conversation. It's not always a pleasant conversation, but we need to have it. Just shutting down the voices we don't like doesn't make the sentiments go away."

This of course has resulted in a lot of reaction (understandably TBH) from men saying well I don't hate women so that is wrong, men have mothers who they love so that is wrong...

It's an interesting point for discussion though, as TBH the language and attitudes about women in day to day life belie an attitude of, if not universal hatred, certainly plenty of other negative feelings. Even ones which are so common they go un-noticed.

I think that men in general are certainly raised to see women in a range of ways that are not good. Not all of that translates to "hatred". Just maybe being dismissive / patronising / only interested in women of they are sexually appealing. Maybe even tiny things like my dad will always draw attention to a "bloody woman" doing something wrong, whereas when a man does the same thing he doesn't mention the sex of the miscreant! In my own life there are just tiny things every day that all add up to, well yes, generally men are raised to view women negatively, in some ways. Even the ones they like smile

From the POV of Ms Norton, having spent a decade looking into this I can well imagine that it must feel like all men are raised to hate women!

Anyway.

Bit of a stream of consciousness there! What do you think?

NiceTabard Fri 24-Jan-14 20:05:41

Christ that's a bit long sorry!

Yep.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 24-Jan-14 21:36:02

Interesting to share block lists

can MNHQ share please

NiceTabard Fri 24-Jan-14 22:04:39

Heh grin

TeiTetua Fri 24-Jan-14 22:37:36

It's been talked about for years how people in Internet discussions seem to be much ruder, much more quickly, than they would in other places (though never here at Mumsnet, let's be clear about that). The similarity to online bullying might be someone feeling they have the right to break social rules because their target isn't close by and they're anonymous, but at the same time there are other people who are reading what everyone says, so to some extent the perpetrators are bullying someone for the benefit of an audience. That links up with men who harass women in public, which often takes place when men are trying to impress their male friends. Could the psychology be that doing something hurtful to a woman proves that a man has power over women, and that raises his status with other men? Of course on an Internet comments page, the record of what everyone has said remains for everyone to see, so to feel that he's doing well, a man might try to be at least as nasty, preferably a little worse, than everyone else.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 25-Jan-14 00:21:34

Interesting, Tei.

EBearhug Sat 25-Jan-14 01:44:08

I think it is primarily a social problem - but if there were a tech solution, I wonder how it would be affected by a lot of the tech industry being very male-dominated, despite people like Sheryl Sandberg and Marisa Meyer.

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Sat 25-Jan-14 10:39:09

If I was to classify the (mostly) men who do this trolling, it would be as misanthropes, not misogynists. I'd change my mind if someone could tell me how they know that these individuals reserve their vitriol only for women. As the conversation with the troll indicates, trolls know what pushes people's buttons. If they suspect that goading a woman about being a woman will get the desired reaction, then that is what they will do. If not, they move on.

As one of the commenters notes, happy people don't do this. Can we make people happier?

SinisterSal Sat 25-Jan-14 10:41:36

misogynist is as misogynist does. Lets not split hairs

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Sat 25-Jan-14 10:54:10

You want to class it as misogyny within a feminist context. Fine, I get that. But misogyny is a subset of misanthropy. If you fix misanthropy, misogyny and lots of other nasty stuff disappears. Wouldn't the world be a happier place then?

funnyvalentine Sat 25-Jan-14 11:10:44

I think the article is absolutely right that it's a societal problem, and that it's made worse by the nature of the internet (instantaneous, distance between people, almost-anonymous).

But, I do think that the technology we use today has been built by white middle class men for their needs. Not on purpose, just that's the way it evolved. I think if more women had been involved from the start, there'd be more mechanisms in place for handling some of the behaviour that is (almost) never directed at those middle class white men smile

scaevola Sat 25-Jan-14 11:28:14

I'm not sure that the problem with vile trolls is going to be assisted by narrowing it to misogyny. Stan Collymore is not a woman, nor is Tom Daley.

It is absolutely right that every avenue is explored in tacking the publication of hate speech. But this is an issue where the pressure needs to come from the unacceptability of letting it go unchallenged whenever it occurs regardless of the characteristics of the victim.

The societal question of why an abuser who shares the characteristics of the victim acts as they do (such as the woman convicted yesterday) is not going to be tackled by any technological fix.

Art would change her/his mind if someone could tell her/him how they know that these individuals reserve their vitriol only for women.

Why on earth should we have to prove that trolls target women exclusively, before you will deign to permit us to be concerned about misogynistic trolling? Why? Enough trolls do this.

Yes, there are other groups of people who are targeted. Tom Daly got homophobic abuse. Stan Collymore was abused racially. These things are abhorrent and should be tackled.

But why does the fact that there are deeply unpleasant people out there who target all sorts of things mean we can't identify and name the problem of particular violent misogynistic abuse? Seriously, what percentage of abuse needs to be targeted at women before you will allow us to consider it a problem? What confidence level is acceptable?

Grr, this is making me cross angry. You appear to be trying to shame us into shutting up about this problem via the medium of whataboutery. Why? Seriously, why? What's the point, other than to diminish the problem?

OK, not just Art. Apologies if I made you feel got at personally. Perhaps the others wanting us to broaden our concerns could also elaborate?

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Sat 25-Jan-14 14:48:06

Because to my mind, tackling misogyny instead of misanthropy is akin to preventing vomiting instead of tackling the underlying stomach cancer.

If your political philosophy means that you only want to look at the problem as it affects women, fine. But then I think it makes it more difficult to broaden the appeal of that philosophy beyond the group directly affected. And that, in turn, would make it easier for people outside that group to dismiss it as a narrow, self-interest group. Which feminism really shouldn't be. It should interest and engage everyone. That was my thinking, anyway.

Thanks for explaining.

I think of the misogyny as an important issue worthy of consideration just by itself. Not to the exclusion of the big causal factor (which is that powerful classes of people like to keep their power by attacking others) or to the exclusion of other symptoms like racism and homophobia. But simply important enough in itself to merit attention.

To use your analogy, the stomach cancer needs to be treated, but the vomiting is so unpleasant that it deserves treatment itself, even though it's 'merely' a symptom and even though others might experience different ones.

So for example you won't find me telling someone that they should not bother campaigning against actions that are homophobic on the basis that homophobia is just one manifestation of a bigger problem.

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Sat 25-Jan-14 14:59:36

Let me give an example - maybe it will explain my point better. There was a case in Texas last year. Two teen schoolgirls cyber-bullied a third girl, a former friend. This poor girl killed herself.

There are countless examples of this sort have behaviour which have nothing to do with misogyny. It can simply be stupid teens who give absolutely no thought to the effect that campaigns of hounding on the internet can have. Often they are tragic. The recent Criado-Perez case convicted a woman who appears to be an abusive alcoholic with 20-odd convictions. Cases like these, if they are simply chucked into a box labelled 'misogyny', might prevent us from getting to a different, root cause, and actually being able to fix it.

I will think about this some more, but on the face of it it seems as though you are saying that calling something misogyny prevents us from getting to the more serious issues?

Can you see how this makes me wonder why you don't think misogyny in itself is a serious enough issue to discuss and try and challenge? Even if it doesn't explain all cases all the time, it still happens and still deserves our concern. It's not just a lesser thing that should be dismissed as unimportant. It's a problem with our society. Yes, it has company, there are many other problems too. But it seems as though you want a hierarchy, with 'real' problems at the top and misogyny at the bottom.

SinisterSal Sat 25-Jan-14 15:06:48

I see your point Artestas but I think it's moot really.

Yes there are lots of motivations that make someone behave like an arsewipe. One of them is misogyny.

I think it's incredibly cheeky (and trite) to tell people concerned with a particular type of bigotry that it's only self interest. Christ. tell that to Stonewall or Civil Rights campaigners.

Environmentalists! Quit worrying about the Polar Ice Caps! And you- quit mithering on about the Amazon, or carbon emissions. It's Climate Change you should be concerned about.

Unless you think that we are mistakenly labelling things that have nothing to do with attacking women because they are women as misogyny?

I wouldn't say two teenagers bullying a third was misogynistic, without evidence that it was. From what you've said about it, I would say that it was not misogyny.

But in the case of CCP and Mary Beard, when loads of anonymous people pile in with abuse about their looks and threatening sexual violence, I'd label that misogynistic. Even if there are one or two people in that group who might jump on any bully train or have other problems, the overall flavour is woman-hating.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 25-Jan-14 16:18:50

Art, if in one tweet Graham Norton should be raped and in the next I say Harriet Harman should be raped, it's quite possible that I'm both a misogynist and a homophobe but don't hate people in general, which is surely what misanthropy would mean?

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Sat 25-Jan-14 16:49:00

Sorry - work getting in the way!

All good points, and maybe we are vigorously agreeing to some extent. I think I was driven to my initial point by the OP's article, and the statement 'The social problem is that men are raised to hate women...'. I fundamentally disagree. But on reflection I don't think anyone here is claiming this anyway, so I may have gone off in the wrong direction.

I am not saying that misogyny cannot, or does not exist. It must do, if only at the level of the individual. And I would never tell anyone not to pursue something deeper, to investigate why things may occur.

But I think it's okay to ask whether some factor is relevant in certain cases. To take the environmentalist example - I am entitled to ask for evidence of the root cause, to question whether there are alternatives to it all being down to carbon emissions. And re Doctrine's point - might you not just hate Norton and Harman? Why would either lead statement to the certain conclusion that all gay men or all women should suffer the same fate? If you hate someone you work with, do you by extension hate all office workers?

scallopsrgreat Sun 26-Jan-14 00:50:42

Artetas your observations don't bear up under scrutiny. If you look at the timelines of those who tweet abuse at women, it generally isn't the first time they've done it. Or they show other signs of misogyny.

In addition, even by some amazing fluke they has never said anything else misogynistic and truly just dislike the woman they are attacking, what they are saying is still misogynistic. It is still playing into the culture of misogyny that makes it OK to say these things to women. They are unlikely to threaten men with rape as rape is something that is done by men to women.

However, your posts on FWR seem hell bent on refusing to name any problem for what it is so I suspect you'll leap over tall mountains to declare it to be something other than misogyny. Because, after all if we can't name the problem for what it is then we can't sort it out.

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