On the Internet, women are victims of a masculinist “backlash.”

In the latest report, the High Council for Equality between Women and Men denounces the phenomenon of “backlash” from the masculinist counter-offensive that is organized on social networks.

High Council for Equality between Women and Men (KHB) published the latest report January 23. Beyond the “alarming finding,” to use the words of the HCE note, it points out that all forms of harassment against women continue, especially in relation to cyberbullying.

KLSH denounces the phenomenon of opposite reaction meaning “retaliation”. This term was initiated in 1991 by the American writer Susan Faludi and aims at the anti-feminist and reactionary discourses that have emerged as a result of feminist movements and advances since the 1970s. Thus, violent reactions appear in the face of the advancement of women’s rights and give rise to terms like “neo-feminism”, “wokism”, “feminazi”… Reactions that are also expressed through social networks.

An entire section of the report examines cyberattacks and claims that “masculinist ‘raids’ are on the rise online to silence or discredit women.”

The authors of these raids organize themselves in forums and ask, for example, to close accounts that bother them. They then assign accounts to report in bulk. “They have been very well organized for several years now,” notes Tech&Co Elvire Duvelles-Charles, author of the book. Feminism and social media, a love and hate story (out of reach publications) and creator of the Clit Revolution Instagram account.

Targeted because of their gender

Some studies show that these actions continue. Amnesty International was particularly interested in 2018 for public figures such as politicians or journalists. In a given sample, an artificial intelligence identified one million abusive tweets over the course of a year, or one hateful post every thirty seconds directed at them.

On the Internet, other public figures such as broadcasters are also the target of these insults, such as Nat’Ali, a video game broadcaster on Twitch for almost six years, who suffers daily cyberbullying, or Maghla, one of the most followed broadcasters in France with 700,000 subscribers. on Twitch. On October 24, 2022, the videographer published a series of messages in which she exposes the hateful content she faces every day online. The broadcaster of Ultia has announced that it has denounced the wave of cyberbullying that it suffered at the end of October.

Beyond public figures, many women are victims of cyberbullying. In this way, a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2021 reports that 47% of women surveyed have experienced online harassment because of their gender. According to a UN report73% of women have experienced misogynistic hate online for all the wrong reasons.

The HCE report takes the media example of the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard “which for several weeks has been the subject of extraordinary attention on social networks”, the report analysed. For the author Rose Lamy, quoted in the report, this affair is symptomatic of a “crisis of sleeping masculinity”.

Cyberbullying and responding

And HCE to warn: “the serious threats of the decline of women’s rights and the fear of a opposite reaction The anti-feminist movement requires greater intervention from public authorities commensurate with the challenges.”

A finding shared by Elvire Duvelle-Charles, herself a victim of cyberbullying. Without talking about an increase in cases of cyberbullying, she points out that cyberbullying actions are increasingly targeted, that their perpetrators are very well organized upstream and that the mass phenomenon is pronounced: the same people gathered to aim at the same target in the same. the time.

The author particularly notes the insufficient criminal response. “The perpetrators see that they will not be punished, so they continue their cyberbullying.” Elvire Duvelle-Charles wants “justice to punish more, for social networks to facilitate the missions of investigators and do a real job of moderation”.

Demonstration in Paris to defend the right to abortion, in Paris on July 2, 2022
Demonstration in Paris to defend the right to abortion, in Paris on July 2, 2022 © Christophe ARCHAMBAULT © 2019 AFP

When she read the report, the finding unfortunately “didn’t surprise her.” She notes that in the wake of MeToo, “as women’s rights are poised to gain ground and politicians take up the issue, violent backlash abounds.” She takes as an example the decline of the debate on the right to abortion in Europe, a sign of “a opposite reaction well placed,” she continued.

Cyberbullying follows violence in real life. According to a study of the association Feminism against cyberbullying, 72% of victims state that cyberbullying has continued personally.

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