For some reason we needed a study to demonstrate something most people already knew:
Women are responsible for half of all misogynistic Tweets using the words “slut and whore”, a new study has found.
The study, performed by respected UK think tank Demos, monitored UK Twitter over three weeks and found that found 6,500 unique users were targeted by 10,000 misogynistic and aggressive Tweets.
50 per cent of the aggressors were women.
Internationally, over 200,000 Tweets using these terms were sent to 80,000 people in the same three weeks.
The research monitored use of the words “slut” and “whore” used in an explicitly aggressive way.
Special natural language-filtering algorithms were able to separate out Tweets using these terms as obvious abuse, from instances of “self-identification, and those that were more conversational in tone or commenting on issues related to misogyny (ie. referring to ‘slut shaming’, ‘slut walks’),” Demos’ study said.
Again, this is not surprising. Women use social media more than men, so it is likely that if harassment occurs one would see women committing it. This also makes sense considering that this is the same type of behavior women engage in offline with other women.
What is interesting is that when one looks at the break down of the data most of the comments are not specifically sexist. Most of the comments are used in non-threatening ways. According to the study, 60% of the tweets containing ‘rape’, ‘slut’, and ‘whore’ were either in reference to media reports or used casually or ironically. Only 38% of the uses of ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ and 12% of the uses of ‘rape’ fell into the abusive or threatening categories.
If this information holds true, rape threats are nowhere near as common as feminists claim and the “rampant” misogyny is largely jokes or casual usage.
[…] Australia’s RMIT research fellow specialising in feminist theory and gender inequality Meagan Tyler […] says because Twitter users are a minimum age of 13, the figure included the high amount of online abuse slung between teenage girls.
“In other studies that have focused specifically on people under 18, they have found a similar breakdown with girls and boys. Online abuse among teenage girls is quite high,” she told the ABC.
“[Also] because there has been this focus in this study to focus on ‘slut’ and ‘whore’, we know they are often terms used by teenage girls.”
That makes perfect sense. A large portion of Twitter users are teenage girls, many of whom use slurs as part of their daily banter, therefore they should be excluded.
Another feminist offered a different response:
Feminist and writer Clementine Ford, known to receive a copious amount of abuse on social media, said the research may be flawed because the account verification process had not been explained.
“It would be interesting to know how many of these accounts were verified to belong to actual women,” she told the ABC.
“I’m well aware that women employ the language of patriarchy against each other in order to negotiate some form of nominal power, but there is also a rising practice of men creating ‘sock accounts’ in which they pose as women in order to make it seem like this isn’t a gendered problem.”
That makes sense as well. The Patriarchy is tricky. It knows how to weasel its way around people’s defenses, such as causing men to create egg accounts (that is the proper term) to troll women for no apparent reason.
In all seriousness, did anyone expect feminists to support the results? Again, we all knew this was the case. We all knew that much of the “harassment” women receive online is benign at best and a good deal it comes from other women.
The internet brings out the worst in people, or as a friend mine says it makes people show their true colors. Twitter is incredibly adept at this. If you want to see people as they are, limit them to 150 characters and watch what happens. It comes as no surprise that people behave poorly when they face little repercussion for their actions.
Yet that is not what appears to occur. According to the Demos study, what we see is essentially casual banter. There are cruel remarks and random threats, yet those appear to be less common than people using the words in benign ways. The study shows that the feminist narrative about online harassment of women, like many of their claims, lacks substance.
One would think that at some point people would stop listening to a group that gets proven wrong far more often than they are proven right.