29 February, 2016

EXERCISE: Understanding sexist hate speech

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Category: gender equality, sexist hate speech
Community Manager
10 pm

This is a recommended exercise to be implemented with young people within the Action Day countering hate speech on the 8th March. This exercise and other useful information about the Campaign and hate speech can be found in the manual Bookmarks.

Participants look at examples of  sexist hate speech and discuss its possible consequences for individuals and society.

Group size 10-25

Time 60 minutes

Objectives

  • • To understand different forms of hate speech online and their consequences for victims and society
  • • To explore possible responses to hate speech online

Materials

  • • Photocopies of the examples of hate speech
  • • Papers and pens
  • • Flipchart paper

Preparation

  • • Make copies of the examples of hate speech.
  • • Prepare two flipchart papers, with the titles ‘Consequences for victims’ and ‘Consequences for society’.

Instructions

1. Ask participants what they understand by sexist hate speech online. Ask whether anyone has ever seen hate sexist speech online,  and if they saw differences between women with different identities (for example, LGBT, black women, Muslim women, etc.) What do participants feel when they comeacross it? How do they think the victims must feel?

Explain that the term ‘ sexist hate speech’ is used to cover a wide range of content:

– Firstly, it covers more than ‘speech’ in the common sense and can be used in relation to other forms of communication such as videos, images, music, and so on.

– Secondly, the term can be used to describe very abusive and even threatening behaviour, as well as comments which are ‘merely’ offensive.

– Sexist hate speech is a particular form of hate speech. It usually addresses the sexuality of women and includes rape threats

2. Explain to participants that they will analyse some real examples of sexist hate speech online, looking particularly at the impact on the victims themselves and on society

3. Divide participants into groups and give each group one example of sexist hate speech online from the case studies

4. Ask them to discuss their case and answer the questions. Tell them they have 15 minutes for the task.

Debriefing

Go through each of the examples asking for the groups’ responses. Make a note of responses to the questions on a flipchart. If groups give similar answers, indicate this by underlining the first instance, or put a number next to it to indicate that more than one group arrived at the same answer. After all the groups have presented their results, review the two flipchart sheets, and use the following questions to reflect on the activity with the whole group:

  • What did you think about the activity? What were your feelings about the example you analysed?
  • What were the most common ‘consequences’ of sexist hate speech listed by groups?
  • Were there any similarities in the consequences, regardless of the target group of hate speech (white women, Muslim women)?
  • What might some of the consequences be if this behaviour spreads online, and no-one does anything to address the problem?
  • What tools or methods can you think of for addressing  sexist hate speech online?
  • What can we do if we come across examples like these online?

Ideas for action

Invite participants to discover the No Hate Speech Movement and join the movement in order to showthey are against hate speech online. They can use the campaign website to share statements regarding the consequences of sexist hate speech and the importance to stand against it in solidarity with the victims.

If participants have encountered examples of hate speech online, report them to Hate Speech Watch onthe campaign website and discuss these examples with other users. You can also browse together with participants Hate Speech Watch and discuss the examples posted by other users. Participants could develop a ‘Charter’ against sexist hate speech online for their school or youth centre. They could also organise a school day against hate speech and use the existing human rights celebrations to raise awareness about the problem. They could use 8th March, the International Day of Women, to organise events against hate speech online.

Handouts:

Example 1:

A young man posts pro-rape content on his Facebook fan page and gets support from a lot of followers. Comments include how to rape women who do not cover themselves enough.

  • Who are the victims of hate speech in this example? What consequences does hate speech have on them?
  • What consequences can this example of hate speech have on the people identifying with the communities where this happens, and society in general?

 Example 2:

A. writes a publication in which he describes that uneducated and minority women give birth to too many children for gaining social benefits and promotes their sterilization. A lot of people know and support this author.

  • Who are the victims of hate speech in this example? What consequences does hate speech have on them?
  • What consequences can this example of hate speech have on the people identifying with the communities where this happens, and society in general?

Example 3

An advertisement for blue jeans has been circulating on the Internet for some time. It shows a scene where a woman is surrounded by men. The scene has sexual implications but the overall impression given is one of sexual violence and rape. In one country, several organisations complain. The news about the case on the Internet attracts a lot of comments, many of them reinforcing the idea that women are things men can play with and be violent with.

  • Who are the victims of hate speech in this example? What consequences does hate speech have on them?
  • What consequences can this example of hate speech have on the people identifying with the communities where this happens, and society in general?

For potential follow-up and other interesting content please check out the useful links, or other relevant campaigns, or other educational resources, or articles and videos.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Counter sexist hate speech | Women's Views on News

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