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Online Misogyny, Harassment and Hate Crimes

  • Anastasia Powell
  • Nicola Henry
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)

Abstract

Online sexual harassment is a persistent and pervasive problem that inhibits online equality and freedom. It includes offensive, humiliating or intimidating conduct that is unwanted or unwelcome and of a sexual nature. Given the more recent growth in digital technologies and the ways in which motivated individuals use those technologies as a tool of oppression and abuse, increasing media and scholarly attention has been given more recently to online sexual harassment, including unwanted sexual attention, gender-based hate speech, cyberstalking, image-based harassment and rape threats. This chapter explores the nature, extent and scope of online sexual harassment. We argue that the sheer nature and scope of online sexual harassment is strongly indicative of a broader pattern of gender inequality, misogyny and sex discrimination, and the persistent acceptance and tolerance of rape-supportive attitudes and beliefs. These behaviours are embedded in problematic gendered stereotypes that are in turn enacted and performed in online spaces. We thus argue that online sexual harassment is a manifestation of gender power relations and hegemonic masculine entitlement, constituting a form of social control and regulation that inhibits the exercise of digital citizenship, equality and freedom, and in turn serves to reinforce heterosexual and patriarchal norms.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anastasia Powell
    • 1
  • Nicola Henry
    • 2
  1. 1.Justice and Legal StudiesRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Global ResearchRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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