The Breakthrough Voice 8th April, 2016

How Anonymity on the Internet is Fuelling Rampant Sexism.

If you’ve been on the internet long enough, chances are you’ve come across at least one raging debate between the old world – the idea that men and women are different, and serve specific roles in the Indian society, and the new order – gender equality in India.

The construct is the same – one person (often a man) will ignite the debate with an irresponsible comment, “I’m sorry, but I can’t work under a woman boss.” or some such drivel. A few people will laugh, a few will ignore, and a large number will be enraged. There will be name-calling, abusing, insults, and some loss of hope over India itself for encouraging such thoughts and comments in the 21st century. Everyday, there are millions of sexist threads on the internet, from across the globe, that descend into mayhem with no clear winners. These fights are so popular, that people now intentionally make inciting comments just to start a fight; they’ve been given the charming name – “Trolls”.

So at this point, it’s difficult to say if people genuinely discriminate against women, or just think it’s cool to do so on the internet. Irrespective, the internet is degrading the status of women in India and abroad. From popular news sites carrying sexist articles about female stars, to women gamers facing one of the worst recorded cases of abuse (google #gamergate if you’d like to read more about it), to blaming a victim of rape and assault, the internet is chock full of opinions made possible by the veil of anonymity.

Today I do not know the solution to this problem. The internet is a wonderful place for ideas, people and cultures to collide. It is unfortunate that often times, women are not invited. And because we arrive anyway, and in style, some people feel that their only weapon against us is our gender.

Have you faced or witnessed any cases of sexism on the internet? Leave us a comment!

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