Toxic Trolls: Poll revealed trolls target women more than men on social media and it is not cool at all!
Today, the internet has given us the power to express our thoughts and voice our opinions. It has made this world a small place where you can connect with as many people as you can. Over the years, the internet has popped as a saviour for many. Be it raising funds for someone to give shout out to flourishing business, we have seen many beautiful stories where the internet has changed someone’s life. But as they say, everything in this world has pros and cons. Well, there might be a plethora of internet success stories, the internet has also made people prone to harassment. Trolling has become common these days and according to a survey trolls target women more than men on social media.
Toxic trolls target people on the internet who tend to think differently from the prevailing typical mindset. Women are often more prone to online trolling. As per experts, trolling happens when women choose to speak on certain issues. As per the article on The Citizen, pointed out that female activists in India are often targeted by online bullies for speaking their minds on social media. Notably, such trolling in India has increased in the past few years. The poll revealed that trolls fear opinionated women.
Celebs, Politicians, or a common woman -Online trolling is the extension of harassment they face every day
Women from all backgrounds face online abuse and in extreme cases, they also get rape and death threats as well. However, the public figure always remains at top of the list of trollers. In India, there are a number of incidents to be recalled when women were trolled mercilessly. Be it targeting Anushka Sharma when India lost the match in 2015 and it continues even today. Celebs like Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha, and many more were mercilessly trolled post-Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Deepika Padukone was threatened while she was shooting for Padmavaat, and there are many such cases. Often politicians and journalists face backlash for putting out their opinion in the public space. Notably, online abuse is an extension of offline abuse as it targets their sexuality, reduces them to sexual objects, and reinforces gender stereotypes.
In a survey conducted by Amnesty International in 2017, women who faced any sort of online trolling revealed that it has changed the way they use Social media. In fact, some revealed that they no longer post their opinion on social media.
So why do trolls love women and are all trolls misogynists?
According to a study, not all trolls are misogynists. In fact, they are like School Yard bullies. They seek out people who are weaker than them. Trolls often look for someone who is submissive and maybe they feel deserves to be degraded and that’s why they target women.
It is important to take it seriously
Women are often trolled for their work choices, clothes and strong opinions. But it is important to take them seriously. One needs to stay alert when it comes to online trolling. On Social Media platforms often the report of abuse are not taken seriously despite the fact that they have strict guidelines for any kind of abuse. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has a dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org
According to NCRB, cases of cyberbullying against women or children increased by 36 percent from 542 in 2017 to 739 in 2018. The more recent India Internet 2019 suggested that in India 1 in 3 internet users are between ages 12 -29 and are often targeted by trollers.
We spoke to a few women and they shared their experiences:
A 16 –year- old girl revealed that her classmate from the previous school collected her photos and then started blackmailing her. After several complaints as well, the account wasn’t reported. Finally, she deleted her account.
A 24- year –old Journalist working for an Independent website revealed that once she shared an article on Virginity on her social media account and she was called characterless.
Sharing my own experience, I also faced bullying several times. Once I did a story on loopholes of the current government and I was called “Chindi Journalist” by a set of people. Finally, I decided to delete the post.
I was mercilessly trolled for the choice of content I used to put on my Instagram account. From my looks to the body, they mocked me for everything. Initially, it did affect me. Now, I am okay and comfortable in my skin, said a Body positive influencer
What can be done?
At this hour all we can do is – Campaigns should be created to increase awareness about cyberbullying among young girls and women. Conducting sessions for children where internet safety can be taught. Apart from it, existing cyber laws should be revised.