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50% of women are misogynists

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Offline kat

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TL:DR (long post ahead).

Q1: Is harassment/abuse on the Internet, Social Media in particular, a problem?
A1: Not especially.

Q2: Is harassment/abuse a "systemic" problem, one that "persist(s) throughout society"?
A2: Not especially.

Current law(s) in the North America and much of Europe have for decades establish a threshold, and context, within which certain behaviour can be considered 'criminal' harassment; classically this might be a call to action from one group to act against another, or an Individual persistently sending unwanted abusive messages to another. In most cases this threshold is typically crossed when conduct intentionally or inadvertently causes alarm, distress or fear for a persons safety or well-being, irrespective as to the medium through which that might be communicated. In other words, use of the Internet to engage in criminal harassment is not afforded any greater precedence than other forms of communication.

For advocacy groups, campaigners, and alleged victims of online harassment, this presents a particular problem, they argue the Judicial process is out of touch with instant communication, that it simply cannot handle the volume or speed with which online harassment complaints occur, nor match peoples general expectations for equally speedy or voluminous 'justice', so used are they to the frenetic pace of a modern connected life. Evidence gathering and due process is just too slow.

Their solution(s) to this is largely two-fold; 1) to essentially legalise "listen and believe" by changing the emphasis of prosecution so the Court system takes claims of harassment at face value, listening to, and believing claimants over and above the accused and any counter-claim(s) that might be made; and 2) Americanise[20] the British Legal system by instituting gendered or gynocentric legislation that's more in line with victim narratives, rather than improving the ostensibly agnostic system as it currently stands.

Both solutions are shortsighted; 'justice' is never served in an partial and biased setting, especially one that can be leveraged by vested interests or those Machiavellian enough to advocate for their own self, financial or political positioning based on faulty, sensationalised or misrepresented 'research'. In such an environment victims of abuse become nothing more than cheap tools to manipulate public discourse.

50% of women are misogynists...

At least according to Demos in an (as yet fully released) update to a previous 2014 advocacy report, "Misogyny on Twitter",  set to be published to coincide with the launch of "#ReclaimTheInternet" [www]*. Their latest findings? Fifty percent (50%) of women use "misogynistic" or abusive language on the Internet (across social media especially).

The study builds on Demos’ previous research in 2014, which found that "slut" and "****" dominate misogynistic language on Twitter, and that both male and female users are responsible for the abuse. In this 2016 research, 50 per cent of the propagators were found to be women[1].

Ordinarily this should be quite the revelation, but if the press release and accompanying blog post are taken as read, the discovery appears not to have given the authors much pause for thought, being afforded no greater meaning than simply words on a page/text on-screen, so confidently do Demos continue on to reiterate what must, by now, be common public knowledge of the settled[2] kind, that the Internet at large, Social Media in particular, is all too often too much of a "traumatic experience for women"[3].

Anywho, just a few of the thoughts on the information[4], in no particular order of importance;

- 1) the research (methodology of data capture/inquisition) is highly gendered in that only words typically associated with the abuse of women and girls were investigated (cf. quote above), instances of use were ignored if the authors intent fell outside their being gender specific slurs, or otherwise could not be determined. As was the case with the "Acting like a Tough Guy: Violent-**** Video Games, Identification with Game Characters, Masculine Beliefs, & Empathy for Female Violence Victims" study (and others), this gender bias predisposes the conclusion to be favorable to the hypothesis (instead of a conclusion that arises from attempting to refuting it); that women suffer greater levels of abuse online despite the opposite being the case (as found by their own investigations as well as others, many, many of them).

- 2) the report frames harassment as "misogyny"[5] in the plural sense; abuse directed at an individual women or girl is perpetrated against the entire gender. In doing so it does not acknowledge the individuals culpability in the act which, devoid of context, further affords the luxury of labelling those accused of alleged abuse "misogynists".

- 3) use of the term "misogyny" can only be described generously as fast and loose, and to mean anything that makes a women or girl feel hurt, disparaged, upset, marginalised in some way, rather than exclusively harassed in the much stricter legal sense of being fearful of, or subject to threats to life or limb, harm or hatred, as the word implies ("hatred of women"[4]). This grants significant generosity of interpretation to the reports authors, affording them the additional luxury of being able to conflate meanings and actions that would otherwise be completely separate issues, e.g. "you suck" being framed as 'online violence' in the same breath as the threats of actual harm[6]. This loose application is further reinforced by the non-British English definition of "misogynist" that includes words of entirely different meaning and intent[4] such that any comment on, or opposition to, any issue facing women and girls today can have the person labelled and shamed for doing so.

- 4) of the 6,500 individuals "targeted", each received an average of 1.5 Tweets[7] over the 23 day monitoring period in question, or 0.065 Tweets per day (0.065:1). For greater context;

The number of Tweets;
- an estimated 300,000,000 tweets are published to Twitter each day,
- or 6,900,000,000 over the same 23 day monitoring period.
- of that Demos collected 1,500,000 Tweets representing 0.021% of the 23 day total.
- the harassing Tweets, of which there were 213,000 (c. 9,000/day), represents 0.003% of the 23 day total.

The number of Users;
- an estimated 320,000,000 monthly active Users.
- or 10,700,000 daily active Users.
- Demos was capturing data from an estimated pool of 250,000,000 active users over 23 days[8].
- in 23 days each User averaged 27.6 Tweets.
- Users average 1.2 Tweets per day[9].

The report states in the aggregate that;
- 450,000 Users were responsible for 650,000 earmarked tweets over the period.
- that's an average of 1.4 Tweets per User over 23 days.
- or a daily average of 0.06 Tweets per User.

- of the 650,000 earmarked Tweets, 33%, or 435,500, were flagged as "aggressive"[10].
- which potentially came from 311,000 Users[11].
- which again averaged 1.4 Tweets per User over 23 days.
- or again a daily average of 0.06 per User.

However the reported data then states in the aggregate that;
- over the 23 day capture period 213,000 Tweets were specifically qualified as "aggressive"[12].
- that were sent, over the same period, from a pool of potentially 152,000 active Users.
- or 9,260 Tweets per day.
- from a pool of 6,608 Users a day.
- or 1.4 specifically qualified 'aggressive' Tweets per User, per 23 days.
- or a daily average of 0.06 specifically qualified 'aggressive' messages per User.

All this content was sent, in the aggregate, to;
- 80,000 "targets" over the 23 day period.
- or 3,478 "targets" per day.
- that's 1 Target for every 1.9 alleged aggressive Users[13].

This essentially means the 80,000 individuals targeted over the 23 day capture period represented;
- 0.00032% of active Users over the same period.
- or 1 in every 3125 Users (1:3125) over 23 days.
- or 0.043 for every 135 Users daily (averaged).

And of the 213,000 qualified Tweets sent to 80,000 targets over 23 days;
- or 9,260 tweets sent to 3,478 targets per day[15].
- each received an average 2.66 qualified tweets over the capture period[14],
- or an averaged 0.11 tweets per day[16].
- which represents 0.0030% of Twitters daily published tweets.
- sent to 0.032% Targets from a pool of 0.061% of Twitters total daily active User count[17].

Making the chance of getting a single qualified 'aggressive' tweet;
- 1 in 32,393 over the 23 days period[18].
- or 1 in 32,397 on any given day.

- 5) the Demos report represents itself as being an investigation into Internet harassment but gathers data relevance to words negatively associated with insults or gendered abuse targeted at women and girls - "slut", "****" and "****". The is necessarily exclusive of abuse directed at men and boys in such a way that use of female gendered slurs directed at men and boys still counts towards women and girls because the slurs themselves are gendered.

- 6) the report conflates "harassment", i.e. pestering, annoying behaviour, with "criminal harassment", i.e. actions that might cause a reasonable person distress, fear or harm. One is not the other, and for the UK at least, significant protections against very specific forms of criminal harassment are afforded to individuals though a number of long standing laws, each of which criminalise specific types of behaviours[6]. This speaks to two additional points; the report essentially, a) advocates for an (further?) 'Americanisation' of the British Legal system, and b) for the criminalisation of words rather than actions, potentially legalising "listen and believe".

- 7) The broader problem addressing harassment on the Internet is largely three-fold; 1) sensationalism and misrepresentations by media and advocacy groups, 2) speed, and 3) volume [20].; such that Demos and other groups are often intentionally remiss to make a clear enough argumentative distinction between criminal conduct, behaviour that necessitates legal intervention, from what is otherwise considered merely 'nuisance' or 'annoying' behaviour, a problem perhaps better addressed at the Service Provider with tools and options that facilitate greater personal control over the Individuals experiences and interactions with others Online.

- 8) Many Service Providers already go to great lengths in providing Users the tools and options they need for greater personal control over the their individual experiences online. Coercively Obligating they then be culpable for Users ignorance of these mechanisms is not the answer (a horse can be led to water but cannot be forced to drink). Nor is lobbying Government for broad-sweeping powers, or for such authority to be granted to non-accountable, Non-Governmental Institutions, especially where doing so carries greater risks of 'political' or 'agenda' driven leverage.

* links are provided for convenience only and do not indicate support or endorsement. On this point, about the Reclaim the Internet initiative, although the following does not appear to be clarified in their literature or public facing elements, the logo used by Reclaim The Internet, the 'Woman-Power' image - the raised fist combined with the Venus symbol (typically) in pink on white (or reversed) - has significant historical links to militant feminist organisations, who themselves co-opted elements of militant Black Supremacists (the 'Black Power' logo), Anti-War (Vietnam), Pro-Communist, Revolutionary and Subversive organisations in 1960's. Is Reclaim the Internet then, a Feminist initiative (in part or whole) obfuscating otherwise gynocentric motives behind a common public cause of finding a solution to Internet bullying and abuse.

[1] language is everything and the use of "propagate" in this context rather than "perpetrate" is interesting; the former means to "spread" or "promote", the latter to "carry out" or "commit". In other words, the reports authors intentionally use a word that explicitly removes agency from the equation, that although Demos admit 50% of women engaged in some form of abuse, they're only culpable in spreading, not instigating, it. With the use of a single word, the Demos deify women, affording them a universal 'get out of jail free' card simply for being female, one that emphatically says "women are not capable of abuse" in spite of Demos' own findings.

[2] "settled" and "undisputed" in the same sense as global warning rhetoric calls for the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of 'deniers'.

[3] in omitting a qualifier, i.e. saying "traumatic experience for women" rather than "traumatic experience for some women", the statement is intended to apply to the entire gender, that ALL women and girls are affected, not just [insert qualifier] ("some" in the example given). So as is common to advocacy studies into online abuse and harassment, Demos' gynocentrism assumes from the outset that women are the only gender to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous aggravation, that it happens simply because the recipient is female, despite their own findings and that of others.

[4] almost without exception, studies into online abuse suffer the same flaws, that of being highly gynocentric, i.e. gender biased, gender presupposed and gender predetermined. This does not speak to commonalities that might be evident in the data or found addressing online harassment, but instead to the methodologies used during investigation; they all start with the same aforementioned predisposition, evidencing towards that outcome; that only women and girls are affected by online abuse and harassment.

[5] the dictionary definition(s) of "misogyny" are as follows;
- "the hatred of women" [Oxford English Dictionary. Clarendon Press 1990 (print)]
- "[d]islike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women". [Oxford English Dictionary].
- "hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women". [Dictionary.com America English].
- "hatred of women" [Dictionary.com British English].
- "[h]atred or mistrust of women". [American Heritage® Dictionary].
- "hatred of women". [Collins English Dictionary].
- "hatred of women, esp. by a man" [Collins American English].
- "a hatred of women". [Merriam-Webster Dictionary].
Legal definition of "misogyny";
- (no legal definition available - cf. [6] below).

Note that British English sources ostensibly remain faithful to the traditional definition of the word, where "HATRED" is operand. Whereas American English (and other non-British English) seeks to establish much broader and loose-fitting definitions through inclusion of words with wholly different meanings in their own respective rights. This change in principle appears to be a common trend amongst some Institutions who choose to forsake traditionalism for more progressive, contemporary interpretations that intentionally shift the words substance to be in-line with current, and broad-sweeping, political usage; as a catchall to mean any criticism, comment, objection, non-agreement, indifference towards, or against, women. In other words, simply disagreeing with women online, absent or aside from malicious intent to harm or harass, in contemporary society can result in accusations of career ruining misogyny (on social media especially).

[6] there is a distinction between "harassment" and "criminal harassment", at least in UK law. Whilst the former may be considered "harassment" by the recipient, it is not in any shape or form "violence", which otherwise require exigent criteria to qualify. The distinction is important. In UK Law, the "Protection from Harassment Act 1997" essentially makes it a Criminal Offense to cause others to fear for their lives, and/or be caused undue distress; "harassment" is defined in the legislation as actions "the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to [F3 or involves] harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other" (the Jury being the "reasonable person" in the determination). In other words, whilst being "set upon" by "anonymous internet mobs" could be considered "harassment" in the aggregate because of the constant influx of content, it is not criminal harassment, which obligates a response from authorities. The 'test' is the likelihood of a reasonable person being distressed or in fear for their, or others, safety or well-being. If true, and likely, the authorities are more inclined to act - which is why police rarely respond to online mobs, or seem to help their targets, but will to individualised, or directed, threats.

Additional protections against other forms harassment considered criminal: Public Order Act 1986 (racial/religious harassment); Equal Pay Act 1970 (employment/pay/work); **** Discrimination Act 1975 (& 1986) (****/gender/marital/parental status); Employment Act 1989 (equal opportunities in the workplace); Race Relations Act 1976 (racial hatred); Equality Act 2010 (poverty/disability). In the UK 'harassment' can in fact be prosecuted under one or more current governing Laws.

The dictionary definitions of "harassment" are as follows;
- "Aggressive pressure or intimidation" [Oxford Dictionaries].
- "the act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly; persecution" [Dictionary.com].
- "to trouble, torment, or confuse by continual persistent attacks, questions, etc" [Collins English].
- "to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way" [Merriam-Webster].
- "To subject (another) to hostile or prejudicial remarks or actions; pressure or intimidate." [American Heritage].

UK Legal definition of "harassment";
- "Under amendments made in 1994 to the Public Order Act 1986, an offence is committed when harassment, alarm, or distress is caused to the victim. Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, harassment constitutes a criminal offence and victims of harassment may obtain restraining orders and damages where appropriate" [Oxford Dictionary of Law 7 ed.].

US Legal definition of "harassment";
- "Harassment is a form of [...] discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, [the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Education Amendments of 1972, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)*,] the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA). Harassment becomes unlawful where [...] conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a[n] ... environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive." [U.S. Equal EmploymentOpportunity Commission]

In both instances of UK, US and most 'Western' or 'European-ised' legal traditions, this requires "harassment" to be contextualised and 'severe' to a reasonable person before such conduct becomes 'Criminal'. In other words its common to all jurisdictions that "[p]etty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality." [U.S. Equal EmploymentOpportunity Commission].

[7] to be included in the final tally individuals had to have received at least one 'aggressive' Tweet else the incident was filtered out.

[8] Daily Users is calculated as Monthly Users * 12 = User per Year / 356 (Days) = Daily Users * 23 = Capture Period Total.

[9] The average number of Tweets is determined simply by dividing the number of Tweets by Users, the result by the number of days in the monitoring period, i.e. Tweets / Users = period / 23 = daily.

[10] "aggressive" is defined as any message containing one or more 'trigger' word - "slut", "****" - plus other undefined 'obscenities'.

[11] The number of users potentially sending earmarked tweets is calculated by working out the average number of messages per user, i.e. Count / User = Average per User, then Earmarked / Average = Period User Count.

[12] Tweet + Trigger + Aggressive Intent = fully qualified "aggressive" message. At time of writing Demos has released no exacting information on how many Users the 'qualifying' tweets were associated with. Figures provided in the above are speculated averages.

[13] Qualified Users* / Targets = Qualified Users per Target. * Users qualified by means of being associated with a fully qualified Tweet.

[14] Aggressive Tweets / Target = Average per User.

[15] Qualified Tweets / Capture Period = Average Tweets per Day.

[16] Qualified Tweets per Day / Qualified Users per Day = Average Qualified Tweets per User.

[17] Percent of tweets calculated as Total Daily Tweets / 100 = [%value], then Qualified Daily Tweets / [%value] = % of Total Daily Tweets. Percent of daily Users calculated as Total Daily Users / 100 = [%value] then Qualified Daily Users / [%value] = % of Total Daily Users.

[18] Total # Published Tweets / Qualified Tweets = Period Change. Total Daily Tweets / Qualified Daily = Daily Chance.

[19] The UK Government recently included a new clause in the Public Grant System (public funding) whereby organisation can no longer use funds received to lobby the legislative process " The Institute of Economic Affairs has undertaken extensive research on so-called ‘sock puppets’, exposing the practice of taxpayers’ money given to pressure groups being diverted to fund lobbying rather than the good causes or public services".

[20] In the UK although certain laws against discrimination can be interpreted through a gendered filter, legislation is typically agnostic in principle. In contrast the United States has enacted a number of laws that espouse specifically gynocentric principles that make certain behaviours criminal when perpetrated solely against women or girls, e.g. the "Violence Against Women Act 1994 (Reauthorization 2014)".

Offline kat

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The updated report (for 2016) "THE USE OF MISOGYNISTIC TERMS ON TWITTER" is now available (or see below);

The caveats explained in the opening pages are troubling in the broader context of the political debate because, despite Demos openly acknowledging the studies limitations, they are still being used to push for changes to UK (EU?) Law. This being the case further emphasises the disingenuous nature of the political rhetoric surrounding the Recl@im project. The "investigation" is an astonishing example of ideologically biased rationalisation, for Demos to excuse their results as "Internalized misogyny"[1] is a dangerous fetishisation of female victim-hood, almost to the point of philogyny or deification[2] - the fact that 50% of misogynist Tweets are by women and 53% of women engage in "aggressive" conduct, is explained not as an anomaly, but as a harmless category of 'pop-star' abuse. This 'absolution' helps no-one but those pushing that narrative.

This isn't about reclaiming the internet (how does one reclaim something over which one had no prior ownership?) or making it a "safe space" for everyone. Rather those involved with the Recl@im initiative are simply using an emotional and highly charged topic, that of online bullying and how we should deal with it, as a smoke-screen to push legal and policy change to be (more) inline with Feminist gynocentric ideological principles rather than agnostic practice.

At first glance this might seem much ado about nothing until consideration is given to the wording of the recently released "CODE OF CONDUCT ON COUNTERING ILLEGAL HATE SPEECH ONLINE" by the European Commission that obligates Service Providers act with expediency on reports of abuse, which is largely defined as anything deemed offensive by persons with one or more "protected characteristics", or espousing one or more "protected political or theological beliefs"[3].

[1]  the argument is rationalised by suggesting women are not capable of bad behaviour, or able to act out of bad faith. Those that do are acting upon subconscious or otherwise unacknowledged internalised urges, they're simply involuntarily acting on societal conditioning, hence their 'misogyny' being 'internalised'.

[2] "philogyny (or "philogynist") - a person who is fond of, admires, women" is not quite the correct word to describe the willful act of absolving women and girls consequential accountability for their agency or actions. This isn't an "infantilsation" as might be suggested in some quarters because women and girls are not being reduced to children (doing so still presents the possibilities of consequence). Instead it is perhaps better to suggest Recl@im and other gynocentric Interest Groups are essentially putting forth the "Deification" of women and girls; they are being turned into untouchable Goddesses, a protected class that can do no wrong; that can have others sacrificially blame, lay blame, or excuse, their acts; that willfully offer themselves up to be slaughtered at the alter of the cause.

[3] Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law: "Certain forms of conduct as outlined below, are punishable as criminal offences:

- public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined on the basis of race, colour, descent, religion or belief, or national or ethnic origin;

- the above-mentioned offence when carried out by the public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material;

- publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (Articles 6, 7 and 8) and crimes defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, when the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group.
" [source]