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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Social Media as a Weapon to Harass Women Academics

George Veletsianos and Jaigris Hodson
Inside Higher Ed
Originally published May 29, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

Before beginning our inquiry, we assumed that the people who responded to our interview requests would be women who studied video games or gender issues, as prior literature had suggested they would be more likely to face harassment. But we quickly discovered that women are harassed when writing about a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: feminism, leadership, science, education, history, religion, race, politics, immigration, art, sociology and technology broadly conceived. The literature even identifies choice of research method as a topic that attracts misogynistic commentary.

So who exactly is at risk of harassment? They form a long list: women scholars who challenge the status quo; women who have an opinion that they are willing to express publicly; women who raise concerns about power; women of all body types and shapes. Put succinctly, people may be targeted for a range of reasons, but women in particular are harassed partly because they happen to be women who dare to be public online. Our respondents reported that they are harassed because they are women. Because they are women, they become targets.

At this point, if you are a woman reading this, you might be nodding your head, or you might feel frustrated that we are pointing out something so incredibly obvious. We might as well point out that rain is wet. But unfortunately, for many people who have not experienced the reality of being a woman online, this fact is still not obvious, is minimized, or is otherwise overlooked. To be clear, there is a gendered element to how both higher education institutions and technology companies handle this issue.

The article is here.
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