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(AUSTRALIA) #Time4Change Misogynistic (Radicalisation) Report: More and more boys are being radicalised & more and more girls are being harassed or abuse online as social media companies continue to allow groups to be set-up to air their views openly with total scant disgregard for the consequences #AceNewsDesk

#AceNewsReport – Apr.04: At the more serious end of the spectrum, these experts say, are operators that must be seen and named as “extremist” or “terrorist” groups – particularly if anything is to be done to stop them:

Misogynistic ‘radicalisation’ of boys online has these experts calling for change: In Australia, 65 per cent of girls and young women have reported being harassed or abused online:

But some experts are arguing that in a “manosphere” of online anti-women groups, methods of communication and organisation are becoming more sophisticated

Posted Yesterday at 9:00pm

Close-up shot of two hands with dark-ish hair on them on the keyboard of a silver laptop.
Young men are being ‘groomed’ into misogynistic groups online,  argues UK author Laura Bates.(Unsplash: Courtney Corlew)

For many, misogyny on the internet is depressingly familiar.

A ‘grooming’ of young men online

UK author Laura Bates has spent most of the last decade educating school children about sexism.

She says in the last few years she’s noted an increasing sense of hostility, aggression and anger in boys’ attitudes towards women, and argues online hate groups are to blame.

“There [is] a kind of radicalisation, a kind of grooming happening online,” Ms Bates tells RN’s Life Matters.

She describes “a very gradual, slippery process” whereby young men’s problems and insecurities are co-opted by organised online extremist groups.

The side of a man's face in a darkened room. He wears headphones and looks at a computer screen.
Anti-women groups’ communication is becoming increasingly targeted, argues Ms Bates.(Unsplash: Usman Yousaf)

In order to connect to young men, the groups cite real-world problems men are dealing with, such as workplace injuries, cancer, mental health and suicide.

But instead of tackling those issues, the groups reinforce “the stereotypes that are actually causing them”, Ms Bates says.

“So they double down on the idea that men have to be tough and manly, that they have to be strong, not vulnerable, that they shouldn’t share emotions, that exerting power and control over women and over societies is what it means to be a real man.”

A woman with long fair hair and blue jacket stands smiling, turning side-on.
Laura Gates has witnessed an increase in aggression among young men speaking about women. (Getty: Roberto Ricciuti)

Ms Bates says anti-women rhetoric is so pervasive online that it’s normalised.

In this climate, groups have emerged spouting dangerous ideologies, including “women being evil and about men needing to rise up and crush them, to rape women to force them into sexual servitude, and to murder them”.

She believes they should be classified as terrorist groups.

“In any other case, where somebody goes out and attacks a specific demographic group with the intent of causing enormous harm and fear in that group because of radicalisation, because of the fact that they’ve been explicitly groomed to hate that group, we would describe it as a form of terrorism,” Ms Bates says.

A ‘push to mobilise masculinity’

Joshua Roose, a senior research fellow at Deakin University who specialises in masculinities and extremism, echoes Ms Bates’ call for a change of language.

He says there’s a strong “normative anti-women attitude in society” that feeds into online activities and behaviour.

His research, for example, has looked at the proposition that women deserve equal rights to men, and found that only one in 17 men disagree.

But among men under the age of 35, that figure grows substantially to one in three men disagreeing.

Against a blurred background of bookshelves, a man with brown hair and dark jacket stands with neutral facial expression.
Dr Joshua Roose would like to see some communities in the ‘manosphere’ labelled as violent extremists.(Supplied)

Dr Roose says “particularly problematic” attitudes like these are fostered in groups such as pick-up artists, incel communities and hard-line, anti-women hate groups.

“[These] groups argue that women need to be subjugated, need to return to the domestic sphere, and really need to be put back in their historical place,” he says.

Dr Roose says over the last decade there’s been an interesting development of groups in the manosphere mimicking techniques of recruitment similar to those employed by far-right violent extremist groups.

“There’s a strong push to mobilise masculinity, when they’re recruiting. To say, ‘you’re a man, you should be doing something, you should be fighting for something. What do you believe in? There’s a reason that you’re not achieving what you want to achieve. Society is fundamentally skewed against you. Join us’,” Dr Roose says.

“And the basic premise is that in joining them, not only can you become a warrior and a hero, and really stand up and fight for something, but you’re assuming your place as a man and you should be rewarded with women for doing so.”

Reaching those hiding behind anonymity

Ms Bates is clear about not wanting to demonise young men.

“It’s important to say that this is not about maligning or accusing teenage boys. Many of these boys are very, very vulnerable. And these online communities are extremely adept and clever at preying on them,” she says.

Rather, she argues that when boys are exposed from a young age to misogynistic messages and ideologies online, without other information being provided to them, “you end up with a very real sense of confusion amongst young people”.

Both Bates and Dr Roose argue that misogynistic attitudes, behaviour and communities online can’t be stamped out without broader societal change.

In the immediate term, however, they say we need to change the language we use to describe that behaviour.

Dr Roose would like to see a “reclassifying” of the worst of the online behaviour that exists, in groups that target women online, and actively advocate harassment and violence towards women.

When the behaviour involves promoting, advocating or threatening violence or sexual violence to control women, “it needs to be actually considered a form of violent extremism,” Dr Roose says.

“By doing so, you’re actually sending a really loud message that this will be taken seriously, and the resources of the state are going to be applied against people running these websites and hiding behind anonymity to make these comments online.”

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Apr.04: 2021:

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