As much as we credit freedom of expression to the cyberspace in the modern world, it has also brought a lot of negativity into people’s lives. A dominant form of cyberbullying is through trolling. Women, especially, receive a more sexualized version of trolling than men do. And let’s face it, trolling that men face is also largely directed towards the women they are related to.
“Being called a variety of filthy things like slut, whore and threats of gang-rape. I absolutely reject the word presstitute."
The online platforms give immense space for everyone to put out their opinion on issues of national interest and since micro-blogging websites like Twitter and Facebook are virtual public spaces, they attract a lot of flak from people who don’t agree with a certain viewpoint. Women in media who put their opinions out there are also at the helm of online trolling more often than not.
Read other stories in #TryTrollHer here
On backlash and trolling, Women in Media Brave
On backlash and trolling, Journalist and author, Sagarika Ghose told Shethepeople.TV, “Being called a variety of filthy things like slut, whore and threats of gang-rape. I absolutely reject the word presstitute and what social media has done is that it has really revealed the misogyny that is latent in Indian society. The manner in which they target and abuse women in the public eye".
“And why only men, there are women who also abuse other women. I think there is a huge backlash and the kind of labels like feminazi, crazy feminist, etc are tossed around to anyone arguing from the women’s point of view. It is something you have to deal with, fight and get your point across because unless we do it, our future generation of women won’t be safe,” she added.
Recently, the Nil Battey Sannata actor Swara Bhasker wrote a strongly-opinionated open letter on Padmaavat and the flak that she received from people targeting her and everything related to her is enormous.
Women from the film industry receive more trolling than women from media.
For them, scrutiny starts not just with their views on Twitter but also with what they say during the various interviews. Then trolls turn their opinions into vicious tweets and posts on social media. Recently, Nil Battey Sannata actor Swara Bhasker wrote a strongly-opinionated open letter on Padmaavat and the flak that she received from people targeting her and everything related to her is enormous. So trolling goes beyond Twitter and Facebook and reaches all platforms and harm the celebrity’s public image.
"So long as they criticize you for what you write or your story on television, it doesn't matter whether you are a woman or you are a man. But when they troll you personally and not the basis of your work then that reeks of sexism and a gender bias"
Today, trolling has also taken various forms of discrimination like caste-based and gender-based trolling. And a Muslim woman has to go through all of it. In an earlier interview with ex-TV anchor, Suhasini Haider said, “trolls target men for the things they do in their workplace while they target women for different reasons.”
“They get targeted for being women, their voices, their faces, the way they look, the way they spoke instead and that actually is the core of the problem. So long as they criticize you for what you write or your story on television, it doesn't matter whether you are a woman or you are a man. But when they target you personally and not the basis of your work then that reeks of sexism and a gender bias,” stated Haidar on trolling and sexism.
Recently, Twitter has etched out a new policy to deal with trolls as it is the largest hub of trolls. Today, it promises to take quick note of any reported trolling and blocks the account after re checking. It also sends an email saying, “We have reviewed the account you reported and have locked it because we found it to be in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
The microblogging site also announced that it has started to reprimand accounts that display “hateful comments and imagery”. The social media platform will also lock the profiles of those who use “username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior.”
So some sort of review and correction is happening to check the amount of trolling in the online space. More than anything it affects the mental health of the person getting trolled.