A leading women’s rights activist explores online misogynistic communities and how they are increasingly infiltrating the real world.
For nearly a decade since founding the Everyday Sexism Project, an online platform where individuals can share their experiences with sexism and inequality, Bates has endured daily messages from men “outlining their hatred of me, fantasizing about my brutal rape and murder, detailing which weapons they would use to slice my body open and disembowel me, describing me as a dripping poison.” In order to better understand this violent hate, Bates infiltrated the “manosphere” under the guise of “Alex” for more than a year. Here, the author exposes the disgusting online world of incels, pickup artists, and other hate-filled groups that have become misogynistic training grounds for young, vulnerable males. Although each group is slightly different in its approach, Bates rightly contends that they all share a basic ideology: that “a feminist conspiracy has created a world stacked against men” and that “men are the true victims of inequality and abuse.” At first, her claims may seem exaggerated, but as she reveals her research and often uncomfortable evidence, the true extent and ramifications of this disturbing behavior become apparent. In addition to psychological damage, individuals adhering to these principles are causing career disruptions, contributing misinformation that influences public policy, and creating barriers to free speech for both women and men. In response to these threats, Bates advocates for better education of children by parents and teachers, including challenging gender stereotypes and discussing the potential dangers and misinformation presented by online communities; increased moderation of social media outlets; continued public support from feminist males; and “the adoption of misogyny as a hate crime category.” However, she warns, “none of these interventions will work unless we see the problem for what it really is and take it seriously.”
An astute, shocking exposé that also offers practical solutions.