Against the prevalent belief that misogyny is being perpetrated by dominant men, researchers found that such is not the case. In fact, women tend to dominate when it comes to online misogyny. In other words, the hatred that women face is more likely to come from other women.
The Misogyny Experiment by CASM
Center for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) by Demons found out in extensive research that more than half of the aggressive tweets containing abuses targeting women indeed came from female users.
They used the words like ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ to identify abusive language and the context before analyzing it further. (These words were chosen because an earlier study by Demos found that these are the most common words used in misogynistic posts)
Demos used a pre-existing standard Algorithm for both Gender Annotators to analyze the tweets.
In this experiment from 23rd April to 15th May 2016, in three weeks more than 1.46 million posts on a social media platform were analyzed
All of these 1.46 million tweets were filtered for pornographic content to segregate them from misogyny so as to establish the correct context. They came up with 645,000 tweets sent by 450,000 people which then were classified into different categories.
213,000(about 33%) were tagged as Aggressive, 57,000(9%) were sent as self Identification, and about 58% were under the ‘other’ category. That included people using the internet for the discussion of how to counter this slut-shaming behavior, so they do not constitute misogyny.
They further investigated the gender of those 213,000 who posted aggressive misogynistic content. Apparently, 48% were female, 42 % were Male, and the remaining 10% were Institution.
As per Alex Krasodomski-Jones, an official from Demos, the algorithm used is 85% accurate to split these posts three ways: men, women, and an organization.
If we consider only human users; 53%, which is more than half are women and 47% are male.
*Institutional users are not considered
They also did an additional exercise where they took up random 250 accounts and tasked a human analyst to identify misogynistic content. This was to weigh out machine error.
Results are as following
*38 Institutional users are not considered
As the table shows, here also female users dominated the crime of misogyny.
“Looking at this data set of thousands of pieces of misogynistic abuse, and looking at the people the perpetrators of this abuse were following, gave us a good indication of who they were. The algorithm suggested 50% were women, and a cursory look at who they were following – Beyoncé, One Direction and Justin Bieber – indicated they were ordinary women and girls, not a cabal of angry white men following rightwing activists.”Alex Krasodomski
Other Data and Expert opinion
Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray from the center of gender equality in the media, and an assistant professor from Durham University explained that it is not surprising that the misogynistic language which has been normalized in society is being used by young girls.
“There is very little space where these representations of women are being challenged, we know that young girls are being exposed to more and more pornography where these descriptions are used, and it makes sense to me that they are starting to believe that what it means to be a girl or woman is to be judged in this kind of way.”Dr Fiona Vera-Gray
NASUWT, the biggest teaching union of Britain in a study of teacher’s experience of online abuse also found some interesting results. The evidence from their experiment suggests that girls who indulge in abusing teachers quite often use misogynistic language.
This study found that girls as young as 15 tend to call each other “fat lang” and “skinny slut” while actively engaging in body shaming.
With all this, it is more than clear that the stereotype which claims that hatred directed at women is the consequence of male dominance is utterly baseless. The reality is quite the opposite. Most of the problems, and criticism that females face comes from femininity. Masculinity on the other hand is just a tool to shelter these hard facts.
Have a look at full research here.