If social media had a gender what would it be? If you think about it, it is perfectly formulated for a woman, if you abide by the stereotypical belief that women are all about relationships, cooperation and communication. With this is mind one would think the virtual world to be overflowing with women, which in some circumstances is true, ie, 97% of Pinterest users are female. So how is it that there are still questions about there being a gender gap online?
For one second STOP. And think. Off the top of your head name as many online influential male’s as you can. You’ve probably got names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin popping into your mind. Now, name as many online influential female’s as you can. Mind blank? Me too. Feminists would define this as an online gender gap, but I beg to differ. I’d define this as a case of men indulging in what they have greater interest in than what women do. More men are interested in computer science and engineering than women. There are no gender gaps about it. Stereotypical as it may be, it’s just like saying there are more successful female hairdressers, news presenters and fashion designers then there are men. Perhaps this is sticking to gender guidelines, but with the coming of time is the fading of these guidelines and an acceptance.
Even with this movement in place, there are still problems with online mysogyny, where pro-feminists and female media personalities are being attacked by virtual hate mail. These mysoginists seem to believe that women are worthless, with their goal being to silence women through their threats which are quite often sexual and violent.
A big problem with an internet world is the use of anonymity. Giving people the option to freely express themselves. This leaves a window open for mysogynous and other cruel comments to take place. This is not accepted in the real world and nor should it be in the cyber sphere. Due to fear many bloggers are disabling the ise of comments, filtering comments and some even deleting accounts! Surely this can’t be acceptable!
Obviously something has to be done about this, but is tighter regulations the right approach? I think people themselves need to take a different approach to the way they criticise things; like my mum always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.