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Sexism, Misogyny and the rise and rise and rise of the internet asshole....

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posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:11 PM
I'm going to set my stall out here - I'm a 44 year old guy with kids, who was - I believe - one of the first couple of thousand people in the UK to be a part of the modern/commercial internet when services were initally launched over here in the UK in 94/95 initially on 9600, then 14400 and 28800 kbps modems as time progressed and have stayed onboard through the early AOL dominance years and on to today's more commercialised big-business 'net.

And in that time the 'net has always been a haven for the unusual, a place where limits were pushed and just about every different angle has been explored. I would say through various jobs/involvement with online forums I've had the unfortunate "priviledge" of coming across most things you can see out here in "cyberspace".

But recently the net has been disturbing me more and more.

Now I know that there are far, far worse things on the net than what I'm about to discuss, but frankly those things are - in the overall scheme of things - relative to a minority

What I'm going to discuss is far, far more commonplace and has an big impact on society in general.

You see, I'd hate to be a woman on the internet right now.

Now some of you reading this will be female, and I'm interested in your stories and what you may have experienced, but for those of you who, like me, happen to be male, we have an issue on our hands.

I often see people condemn moderate muslims for not speaking out against terrorism (they do, BTW, it doesn't get reported) and I think its about time the decent guys out here actually started to try and take the 'net back from the assholes out there.

And yes, I'm a mod, and yes I used the term asshole and yes, get used to it, because the term is appropriate.

Women are treated like second class citizens on a lot of the 'net. Objectified, abused, cajoled and threatened. Not just in seedy places, or the dark web, but every single day on social media, in forums (but not on ATS, hopefully) and in comments sections across many sites, hell, even in response to product reviews.

The stuff that is put out there is vile. It is the kind of thing that - were I to hear someone say it to a womans face - I would do something about directly and personally, including either reporting to the Police or - possibly - respond with physical force.

Direct insults, sexual insults, attempted intimidation, threats of violence, threats of rape. Things that are not, have not and should not ever be socially acceptable, thrown at women (not necessarily by "anonymous cowards" either) simply because they choose to discuss a subject or express an opinion.

Its not a new thing, but it most certainly is getting worse. Not only that but the sheer volume of it overwhelms traditional law enforcement and - for some reason - a lot of sites/companies/content providers are very very slow to respond to it.

Some of it is peer related. Some of it is certainly influenced by other forms of media (lets face it, rap/hip-hop has been usurped by misogyny) but some of it is also force fed as "entertainment" as well in certain quarters - even here in the UK one of our TV channels has pulled a "comedy" show after receiving an unprecedented number of complaints about its content - how the hell it made it to air in the first place is beyond me.

Freedom of speech does not cover this stuff. It is - as I said before - vile. If there is anyone truly out there who thinks telling a woman she is "begging to be raped" is acceptable because she's expressed an opinion, or that threatening to kill her and her family simply because shes spoken out about an issue online (as per the recent "gamergate" scandal) is somehow justified then I personally have a baseball bat I would like to share with their head.

So why aren't these assholes rounded on/drowned out/stepped on? Why aren't the nomal guys - the decent ones - the thinkers, the responsible ones, why aren't we reporting this in droves? Why aren't we acting like a society should do?

And what's it going to take before that actually starts to happen, because it just seems to be getting worse?

I'm interested in your considerd opinions..


Note - I am board staff. The site T&C's on such issues are clear.

16) Behavior: You will not behave in an abusive, libelous, defamatory, hateful, intolerant, bigoted and/or racist manner, and will not harass, threaten, nor attack anyone.

I will not mod this thread, but other staff will do.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:20 PM
all i can say right now is it is a pretty brash type of guy but i would never say the things to ladies like you mention.
i think a major reason why it happens is because in people are in general, assholes.
theyre on the net so they are protected..there is nobody there to pop them in the face for saying that kind of #.
people get super duper tough from a distance.

from the safety of their mommy's basement, using their broadband, they can puff up and act like a big tough manly man....
they know in the real world if they did # like that they more than likely would get popped.

thats my opinion on it.....

they act all tough and hard on their computer but in real life they are a cupcake.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:31 PM
a reply to: neformore

I fully agree with your sentiments and think there's only one way you'll get half a chance to eliminate the internet a$$hole and that's bye bye internet anonymity.

Kind Regards

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:38 PM
a reply to: neformore

There are men and then there are gentlemen.

There really does seem sometimes that there are just not enough gentlemen or ladies around anymore.

I got interested in the computer communication back when it was just telephony over modem(fax) and BBS systems...just prior to c64. The problem was present at that time too, and just as bad.

There only so many kinds of folks out there with only a few core view points.

I think it is unfortunate that so few now a days Choose a better inner and outer approach to existence with others.

I decided a long time ago to try to be a real part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Bravo to you for bringing this up, and standing for truth. I like your version very much.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:39 PM
It has nothing to do with gender, that's what this whole feminazi movement wants you to believe. I'm not saying bad things happen to women over the internet, I'm saying bad things happen to ANYONE who uses the internet.

I was using AOL with a dial up around the same exact time, it hasn't gotten progressively worse, anonymity was just the best thing since sliced bread for everyone at the time and still is.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:40 PM
a reply to: myselfaswell

I'm not sure, in a war sometimes it's not so good the pop your head up lol.

Then again you could be right, wow ... but watch for the bullets.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:42 PM
I sometimes find it a chilling idea that all those harassers, bullies, assholes etc are not some basement-dwelling subspecies as some might say, but are the people I see walking down the street. It's an unpleasant discrepancy; the person you're talking with in a shop might say the most vile, sick and horrible things online: it's common, as OP stated.

I choose to not read abusive comments, at least, when the nature of such a comment etc becomes apparent to me as it usually gives me a nasty gut feeling. The problem I think with calling out such people on their behaviour is that it's simply overwhelming. On some pages where people comment AT LEAST 30%-ish of the comments is horrible (just a random example), and who'd argue with all these people?

Besides... they have their own little truth already. If you say ''don't say that, that's horrible'' (in a better worded manner...) they probably won't refrain from such language in a further comment, and even if they would on that specific site, they wouldn't on others. And well, if they have already such a low view of women in general that they deem it okay to threaten someone with all kinds of violence or objectify them etc there isn't much to be done as an anonymous commenter.

At least, I think that all matters as well. It's just too much. And for instance, the norm on many sites/the internet in general is already to constantly comment on and discuss the attractiveness of a women who for instance writes an article, made an educational vid, made music, whatever, with the contents of whatever they're responding to hardly mentioned. The worst insult men (at least here) seem to throw at each other is a reference to the other person being a woman. You know, let's say someone's named 'Evan' en everyone'll start calling him Eva, when they really find him low and despicable.

Many views and people's attitudes are fundamentally 'wrong'. You can call out violent verbal abuse, but the remaining ocean of misogyny etc etc remains. There's no beginning and there's no end.

I love the internet, but I do think it has made misogyny irl worse.(makes sense; there is no distinction between the people of the internet and those irl) Everywhere around me I'm starting to hear more and more nasty things...

Brave of you that you consider countering this trend, OP, or even actually do it. Really. We need to very actively tackle this problem as a community and a society, but the problem is of course that it's hard for a society to actively start correcting itself. Self-reflection etc.... who'd want that!

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:43 PM
a reply to: jheated5

''Feminazi''- charming terminology.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:43 PM

originally posted by: jheated5
It has nothing to do with gender, that's what this whole feminazi movement wants you to believe.

Standing up to people who tell women they "deserve to be raped" is "feminazism"?

Very real story from the UK right now...
Jessica Ennis-Hill receives rape threats over Ched Evans stance

Is that "feminazism" or are those tweets made by actual assholes who have no place in civilised society because they think like animals?

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:43 PM
I wouldn’t get your speedo’s in a real big twist, really.

Women have been experiencing ‘all that’ since the first time a man wanted something and didn’t 'get it'. (Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and sexually, etc)

In every culture and class women have been treated like second class citizens for eons - and the internet is no different.

Does that mean I endorse it? Of course not.

But as a strong woman? Well, you know that whole ‘sticks and stones’ thing...

Also - the difference now? We can turn off the internet if we want.


edit on 14-11-2014 by silo13 because: spacing

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:47 PM
a reply to: silo13


Now that's a refreshing point of view.

Lol I would star ya twice if I could.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:57 PM
a reply to: neformore

I am in the fortunate position of being a) male, and b) not particularly involved in the net, other than here at ATS, using email services, and using the net as an information gathering tool. Essentially, the internet, for me, is mostly an enormous encyclopaedia. I am not a social networker in the least.

Therefore, I have never witnessed these things that you speak of. But I do know that there is an issue, because at least one of my favourite YouTubers has been targeted by this sort of behaviour, a woman named Emily Graslie particularly. She is the host of The Brain Scoop, a youtube channel in which Emily, who formerly managed a collection of taxidermy items and animal remains at a small museum in the back end of no where, wound up with a job at The Field Museum, working with some awesome scientists and researchers to bring the natural world and the study of it, into homes and minds through YouTube! I highly recommend everyone watch her stuff, but further to that, check this video out...

This video is her response to some extremely negative, sexist and bigoted comments that she has received. Unfortunately, I would imagine that far more negative comments have been made since the video came out, and some of them perhaps a a direct response to it, given the nature of the hugely toxic bastards who comment in such poor taste in the first place.

Now, not only is Emily a lovely human being, but she is witty, fun, and gets stuck in. She pulls her weight, and often pulls the skins off of things, which I particularly like, since it allows one to understand the physical function of the bodies in question. She does not deserve to be criticised on things which have nothing to do with the main thrust of the channel she presents on. These are not matters which pertain to her worth as a contributor to scientific awareness, and further to that, some of the comments she has received make me angry, because there are things that a gentleman simply does not say. Frankly, there are some things that a gentleman just does not THINK, let alone say. These bastards go ahead and say them on the net, and that is just appalling.

I completely agree with your position on this matter. What I personally would love to do upon finding a comment on the net which comes out of the misogynist camp, is pick up a handy brick, or other discard piece of masonry, and bludgeon the issuers of these horrid statements into a fine paste, before sluicing their remains down the nearest storm drain with my liquid waste. That will obviously land me in an awful lot of trouble, so a more practical, and more legal solution needs to be found.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:59 PM
a reply to: Treespeaker

Well, the thing is... If we regulate the internet to 'keep women safe'? We're doing nothing but suppressing 'Her' yet again.

Regulate the internet? No... Doing so - we'd take away (again) a woman's voice. A whole new way she can express herself through HER words, HER art, HER mind, HER being set free, allowed to go anywhere and be anyone SHE wants. And though I am sensitive to young girls who read/hear/experience 'bad things' on the 'net' they shouldn't? That's for her parents to 'police'.
NOT the government.


posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 06:59 PM
As a female internet denizen, with a guy sounding username in some places and a female sounding name in others - the disparity in treatment/interaction/reception is *shocking *.

Same person....different reactions based on perceived gender.

WTF internet!?

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 07:07 PM
a reply to: neformore

I understand what you are saying. All of what I am about write is from the perspective of a female lesbian and my own experiences and opinions on this particular subject matter.

I have had some harassment online in regard to comments that were hateful, derogatory, vile, and abusive.

Where I think this stems from is the anonymous, or least disconnected nature of the internet. I think there are a lot of men out there who think that way and would behave that way if they could get away with it at any given moment, but don't except when in the arena of the internet because it's "Safe".

It is scary but I also think the internet has potential to help us overcome this sort of behavior and thinking as well.

There are some online users who do this more as a form of trolling and I think there is a disconnect in their mind between their behavior online and the fact that there are real people sitting behind the computer screen. Online manners is not something that currently exists due to the disconnected nature of the internet itself(also one of the great aspects of it in my opinion as you can be whatever you want or nothing at many ways bypassing things like gender in the right context).

There is also a group of online users who I honestly believe have this mindset in day to day life. I have had many conversations with men who will blame women for getting raped for things like wearing the wrong clothes(because we know that clothes cause rape, that's why the rape percentage is 100% in nudist colonies and 0% in countries that require women to cover their whole bodies).

I think that while those online users are scary it can be a good thing because it allows more women to be weary that some men do hold this toxic viewpoint(and behavior if you tie it to current incest/molestation/rape rates for women) in an environment where those men cannot physically harm them. It can also be good because there are many others out there who take a stand toward this type of violent and misogynistic behavior. Some of the people that stand up for women come as a surprise, while at other times you learn of negative viewpoints from types of people you would never expect.

I think as anonymous online posting starts to get blurred more and more you might see less of this kind of behavior, but I don't think it will go away completely. I think the best we can do is express the reasons why this type of behavior is inappropriate and hopefully in the midst a few minds might sway a bit away from the hateful leanings.


Posted on accident before finished. Also, there is different treatment of what is perceived to be "male" online users as opposed to female but again, the only thing as a female you can do is to be vigilant and don't let bullies sway you from participating. It also coincidentally forces you to become a better debater and some of that leaks over into the non-internet spots of real life. Remember that these are real people and it goes both ways. Real men are sitting behind screens spewing this nonsense. The best we can do is continue to stand up and speak out against ridiculous toxic comments. Use data, pull from real sources, and do whatever you can to fight the good fight...cyber fight.

edit on 14-11-2014 by OrphanApology because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 07:14 PM
a reply to: OrphanApology

I think the fact of the matter is that this sort of behaviour should not be present in global society, and it needs stamping out.

I accept the sense in what you say about the somewhat safer environs of the internet as a place to encounter this rubbish, but the problem with this sort of behaviour, is that if it falls neatly into a pattern of escalation, it may be that some individuals who engage with it, go on to do so in their physical lives on the street. Once at that stage, it is only a shuffling step or two, and then that individual may find themselves becoming what some might refer to as "a bit rapey" .

Not confronting this nonsense at its source, is about as bad of an idea for this reason, as it is possible to have!

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 07:21 PM
a reply to: neformore

So why aren't these assholes rounded on/drowned out/stepped on? Why aren't the normal guys - the decent ones - the thinkers, the responsible ones, why aren't we reporting this in droves? Why aren't we acting like a society should do?

Who do we report it to?

And why don't they report it themselves?

That's right...because no one listens.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 07:22 PM
a reply to: TrueBrit

I get what you're saying but throwing more people in jail or whatever isn't going to change thought processes and behavior.

I don't think that the behavior spills over into real life, I think that bad behavior in real life spills over onto the internet.

In that context there is opportunity to stay calm and engage these men in a way that stays true to your own moral standard. If there is a guy online that tells a female user that he will rape or kill her for her comments, that type of behavior needs to be called out and done so intelligently. He may be a troll, or he may be a man that was raised in such a way to honestly believe the stuff he is typing. In that case, there is great opportunity in my opinion to essentially have a glimpse into the sick mindset that unfortunately many men hold toward women. There also exists an opportunity to stand up for the good even if it does nothing to the user it is possible some young boy or teen will read it during a formative moment.

The internet and it's anonymous nature are a good thing in my opinion because you get glimpses into mindsets that are normally hidden in day to day life. It reminds of that reddit post(now deleted) that asked for viewpoints from men that have raped women.

You can't fix the problems in society and behavior without first figuring out where the basis of the mindset that causes said behavior. To me the internet is a gold mine of information in that regard.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 07:24 PM
a reply to: silo13

No where in my post did I talk about regulating the internet.

I talked about social responsibility.

posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 07:26 PM
I only have four things to say.

1. You can never really be sure who is a man and who is a woman out here on the internet.

2. I don't really see much of a difference in treatment on the internet or treatment in real life.

3. It's not a gender thing. Everyone can be more brash, rude, condescending, wicked online. I've seen some very evil (what I think were) women too.

4. If anything, it might even level the playing field.

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