The Sexist Coverage of the Pew Online Harassment Poll

The Pew Research Center has released a poll showing that men are more likely to be harassed or threatened with physical violence than women on the Internet. So why are Pew, Quartz, The Washington Post, CNN, and other outlets making this about women?

Here is a video I published about it, or you can read the transcript complete with links to the source material below.

The study showed that 40% of respondents personally experience some form of online harassment. 73% said they had either witnessed it or experienced it themselves. The most common form of harassment was being called offensive names, followed by attempts to purposely embarrass the victim, then threats of physical violence. In all the top three categories of online harassment, including threats of violence, men are more frequently harassed than women.

Women, according to the poll, are more likely to be harassed for a sustained period of time, to be stalked, or to be sexually harassed. However, in the category of sustained harassment, the difference between men and women was within the margin of error for the survey. Additionally, the terms “stalking” and “sexual harassment” have become rather blurry lately.

If somebody were to call a woman “cunt” for example, this is now commonly deemed as sexual harassment. To call a man a “dick” is just considered an offensive name, if even that. Even “bossy” has been deemed a form of sexual harassment by many throughout the world, yet, telling a man to “man up” or “take it like a man” is socially acceptable.

When women ask men to send them obscene photographs, there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll just send the photo, while women are far more likely to consider this sexual harassment, as studies show males are more likely to send sexually explicit material than females. Likewise, men who receive sexually explicit material online are far less likely to consider this harassment than women are.

Are sexual advances more severe than threats of violence?
Are sexual advances more severe than threats of violence?

Despite these blurry lines, and statistical insignificancies, Pew insists women “experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels”. CNN insists “The harshest forms of abuse — physical threats, stalking and sexual harassment — are often reserved for women.” USA Today says “However, young women (age 18-24) seem to experience more of the severe types of harassment (stalking, physical threats) or sustained, long-term harassment compared to other groups.”

Apparently CNN and USA Today, never even looked at the pictures in the poll they are citing, much less bothered to read it, since physical threats are far more often aimed at men than women.

The headline in the Washington Post reads “Men experience slightly more online harassment — but young women are hit with the most severe forms.”

How unwanted sexual advances or gender based name calling is more severe than being threatened with violence, escapes me. I am regularly called a “dick” if something I do displeases someone, or told to “man up” if I show the slightest bit of emotion. I have received sexually explicit material from unattractive women on the Internet. I’ve also been threatened with physical violence. Care to guess which bothers me more?

A sexually explicit message can be deleted. An unwanted advance can be rejected. A gender specific insult can be shrugged off. A “stalker” can be blocked.

A threat of violence is a threat to take the conflict off of the internet and into a person’s real life. It cannot be blocked or reported out of existence with the click of a button. Especially for those unfortunate enough to live in places with strict gun control laws, it can be a life altering experience. Perpetually looking over one’s shoulder wondering when some real or imagined threat will jump out of the shadows to assault or even kill you, is not an experience any decent human being should have to suffer through. But many people do, especially men, and that’s before we take into consideration violence done to men through the legal system.

If we want to solve the problems of modern society, I respectfully suggest we start trying to address violence in the world instead of pandering to feminists for web traffic. Saying that “sexual harassment” is “more severe” than physical threatening, just because women are reporting it at a higher rate is nothing short of misandry. Apparently Pew, CNN, The Washington Post, and USA Today all think that men are just supposed to put up with threats to their safety, but the world must be called to action to stop women from being offended on the Internet.

When women are legitimately harassed, stalked, or threatened, I take that very seriously. It’s unfortunate that feminists have done so much to dilute those words into meaningless fluff, rendering survey data on the subject useless. We all know what “physical threatening” is. It doesn’t stop at the screen of a computer or smartphone. It actually results in injury and death in the real world, and while men are more frequently subjected to it, this effects women too. It would seem to me that feminists, men’s rights advocates, and everybody in between should be able to agree that this is a serious problem worthy of attention. So I find it repulsive that so many outlets would rather distort the data and make online harassment a women’s issue, than call attention to actual crimes with actual victims, just because most of those victims, are men.

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Chris

Christopher Cantwell comedian, writer, voice artist, and Patriot.