INTERVIEW-Boys being groomed online to hate women, British author warns
LONDON, Sept 3- Young men and boys are being radicalised into hating women, the British author behind the Everyday Sexism Project has warned, saying online groups are targeting boys as young as 11.. Laura Bates, an author and campaigner best known for setting up an open archive that allowed women to report their everyday experiences of sexism, said she had become…
By Amber Milne
LONDON, Sept 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Young men andboys are being radicalised into hating women, the British authorbehind the Everyday Sexism Project has warned, saying onlinegroups are targeting boys as young as 11.
Laura Bates, an author and campaigner best known for settingup an open archive that allowed women to report their everydayexperiences of sexism, said she had become aware of the scale ofthe problem while visiting schools to talk about women’s rights.
Over the last couple of years, she said, she noticed a majorincrease in school-age British boys expressing ideas and usinglanguage she had seen on radical online hate groups.
“They were parroting verbatim the same myths andmisconceptions in schools across the country,” Bates, whose newbook, “Men who Hate Women”, was published on Thursday, told theThomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
“They were quoting the same figures, they were giving thesame false statistics.”
Bates said her research showed teenage boys were being “verydeliberately groomed and targeted by these groups” using memes,jokes and clickbait videos, with one group’s manifesto sayingboys as young as 11 should be targeted.
“They use the term ‘adding cherry flavour to children’smedicine’,” she added.
Some mass killings by young men in recent years have beenlinked to anger against women, something some analysts say isbeing fuelled by social media.
In 2018 a man accused of using a rented van as a weapon inCanada’s deadliest mass murder in decades declared himself to bea soldier in the “incel” rebellion, a term referring to a loosemovement of men who blame women for their celibacy.
Alek Minassian expressed his support for the incel movement,short for “involuntary celibate”, on a Facebook account believedto be his.
In 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people inCalifornia after posting a video to YouTube detailing his rageagainst women.
A study of young British people’s attitudes published inJuly by the charity Hope not Hate found that while most heldmore progressive views than older people, 50% of young menbelieve feminism has “gone too far”.
It said anti-feminist views were becoming a “slip road tothe far right, appealing to young men feeling emasculated in anage of changing social norms”.
Bates founded the Everyday Sexism Project in 2012 as asimple way for women in Britain to call out unfair treatment,saying even low-level sexism affected women’s lives.
The initiative proved hugely popular, attracting posts fromaround the world as women rushed to speak out about their ownexperiences, and helping to expose the scale of the problem.
One woman detailed her experience of being refused implantcontraception because the doctor thought her too irresponsible,while another described how a male customer in her workplacelifted her skirt up as she walked past.
Since then Bates has become a prominent campaigner forwomen’s rights and has written several non-fiction books on theissue as well as a young adult novel.
(Reporting by Amber Milne; Editing by Claire Cozens. Pleasecredit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm ofThomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around theworld who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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