Trolling and misogyny

Trolling is an Internet slang word used to describe any Internet behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate somebody. Named after the wicked creatures from children’s stories, these people write offensive posts or messages online with their only intention being to provoke a response. Trolls like a big audience, so they frequent popular blogs, pages or sites where they know they well get the most attention. But why? Why do people feel the need to make other people’s lives hell? Well, according to an article on BBC.co.uk “trolling is usually carried out by young adult males for amusement, boredom and revenge”, and “young people’s determination to create an online identity makes them vulnerable to trolling”.

Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist in the U.S believes “the cloak of anonymity can encourage people to react in extreme ways”. I agree with this completely, some people think that just because their posts are anonymous, they don’t need to be held responsible, or feel guilty of their words hurt someone. Then there are others such as nimrod severn who don’t post anonymously and don’t care what people think. Either way, this is bullying. There are no blurred lines, and it can have disastrous consequences.

Misogyny is a term I had never even heard of until this week but it is actually a form of bullying defined by dictionary.com as the “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women”. Thanks to a 15 minute speech on the topic by Julia Gillard the definition is now going to be broadened to “entrenched prejudice against women”. This declaration to change the definition cause much outrage in the public media. Some are saying that changing the definition is “ludicrous”, while others believe the decision is sensible, and it is about time the definition was changed.

But really how do we expect societies views on women and misogyny to change when the media promotes it like the magazine cover below.

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These women are seen as a piece of meat, to look pretty, dress skimpy and “go back to the kitchen” when the men are done with them. If that’s how some men see women, can we not expect women to start questioning themselves.

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