IGF 2018 WS #360 How toxic masculinity evolves in online spaces

Subtheme(s): 

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Shmyla Khan, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Jan Moolman, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Soudeh Rad, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Ankhi Das, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Anja Kovacs, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 6: Gemma Barrett, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online spaces are increasingly becoming spaces where people are expressing their themselves in interesting as well as destructive ways. Often missing from discussions around online harassment and bullying is the perpetrators and the culture of toxic masculinity that enables such behaviour. This panel aims to bring together experts on gender, online harassment and social media to discuss the particular ways in which masculinities manifest themselves online, especially in times of important events like Women’s day or elections or just about any event where women and gender minorities are involved, and the ways in which this understanding can help structure safer online spaces.

Format: 

Panel - 60 Min

Interventions: 

The panel will bring together a diverse set of individuals, including lawyers, activists, advocates, from global south and north working towards right to privacy in digital age to discuss how government surveillance affect people’s right to privacy and what can and should be done to ensure the said right.

Diversity: 

Digital Rights Foundation strives to highlight diversity in all its work. For these panels, we intend to bring experts and representative from communities that deserve to be heard. Our sessions focus on the issues of people of colour, and most of our work explores the gendered implications of technology. Our sessions at IGF will also be reflective of the principles of diversity that DRF stands for.

In discourse around online harassment, while men are identified as perpetrators of violence, their role is not discussed in a nuanced manner. Toxic masculinities online are often indicative of a continuum of what goes on in offline spaces, and manifest themselves in interesting and sometimes different ways online. Mass trolling, revenge porn and defamation are, more often that not, perpetuated by men; however, men can be victims of online violence as well.

This display of toxic masculinity is often seen during the events where women and gender minorities are involved. For example, extensive online harassment was seen in the aftermath of women’s day march in Pakistan; during election campaigns where women are often very conveniently used as a weapon to demonise opponents; and also when a female writer and activist was forcefully abducted on June 5 and online spaces were filled with personal attacks on her in attempts to harass her.

These behaviors are deeply rooted within patriarchy, and the modern-day culture of the internet.

This panel hopes to start a discussion around masculinities online, placing them within traditional discourses around patriarchy, and exploring what makes online spaces different. Panelists will be expected to map out masculinities in online spaces, the reasons for it taking particular forms, and the solutions to make the internet a more inclusive space while overcoming these challenges.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The discussion will be open by the onsite moderator with the introduction of panelists, moving on to asking questions and facilitating discussion, all the while taking questions from the audience - both online and onsite - during the interventions to promote participant engagement throughout the session.

Online Participation: 

To accommodate online participation, the onsite moderator will be taking questions from the remote attendees, directed to them by the online moderator. These questions and comments will be collected throughout the session, and will be shared with the room as and when feasible.