The internet is fueling new forms of misogyny that have sent society backward in their treatment of women, according to new research.
Although far more women’s rights are now enshrined in law, they still face online abuse such as rape threats which deter them from public positions.
It suggests that prejudice, discrimination and abuse should not be regarded as yesterday’s problems and they have evolved in ways that reflect today’s conditions.
The book, called Language, Sexism and Misogyny, analyses the way sexism and misogyny are expressed today in advertising and media.
It mentions the trending issues of Andrew Tate, Donald Trump, the rise of the ‘tradwife’ and the ‘manosphere’.
Professor Deborah Cameron from Oxford University said: “The return of overt misogyny is visible both in politics and in popular culture.
“Though the misogyny of the twenty-first century is politically backward-looking, its style and mode of expression belong to the present.”
The book, published by Taylor & Francis Group, discusses how social media platforms such as TikTok have allowed a space for promotion of misogynistic ideas which has caused a rise in online threats and abuse against women.
It is believed that these threats may be causing women to step down from important roles such as those in politics, enhanced by other factors such as being granted less speaking time than men.
Professor Cameron added: “Surveys consistently find that most women who use the internet have some experience of online abuse, just as most have some experience of being harassed offline, on the street or on public transport.
“For some women—those who have a high public profile, for instance in politics, political activism or the media—it has become a more serious problem.
“There’s growing concern about the effect this is having on women’s participation in politics and public life.
“Though they are no longer excluded in the ways they were a hundred years ago, the reality or the fear of being bombarded with rape and death threats is leading many to exclude or remove themselves.”
However, Professor Cameron does believe that women have begun to use language to fight back by inventing new terms, ‘reclaiming’ old slurs, and campaigning for changes in media reporting, dictionary entries or the language used in job advertisements.
She continued: “Sexist and misogynist language is everywhere, it’s insidious, and in an age when we’re often told it’s no longer a problem the forms it takes can be subtle.
“To fight it we need to be able to see it and understand how it works, and that’s really what this book is for.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker