The Andrew Tate effect: The internet is fuelling a new wave of MISOGYNY, scientist claims
Society has gone backwards in its treatment of women, as the internet fuels a new wave of misogyny, a scholar claims.
Deborah Cameron, professor of language and communication at Oxford University, says the Internet has allowed sexism to develop into a new modern form.
Rather than becoming a thing of the past, Professor Cameron says figures such as Andrew Tate and Donald Trump have promoted new forms of misogyny.
TikTok and other online forums have created spaces where sexual ideas can be freely promoted, leading to a rise in verbal threats and abuse against women.
Professor Cameron says sexism is now part of “normal and unremarkable” advertising, comedy and news reports.
Andrew Tate was the beneficiary of algorithms promoting controversial and harmful content according to Professor Cameron
In her book Language, Sexism and Misogyny, Professor Cameron argues that sexism has evolved into a form that reflects today’s conditions and digital culture.
Part of this change has been the emergence of a new, particularly extreme version of masculinity that has spread through highly active online communities.
Professor Cameron told MailOnline: ‘The internet has enabled the most extreme, obsessive and dangerous misogynists to find each other and interact more intensely.’
In the past, Professor Cameron says these individuals “may have only shared their violent views or fantasies with a few trusted confidants in the pub or dressing room”.
“This is the effect of the so-called ‘manosphere’, a group of forums that host subcultures such as incels, pick-up artists, and male racists who are often also active in other types of extreme politics such as white nationalism or neo-Nazism.” He added.
Professor Cameron says figures such as Andrew Tate have been particularly influential in spreading this new extreme form of misogyny online.
Tate, who is currently awaiting trial on charges of human trafficking and creating a criminal ring to exploit women, has amassed millions of followers and is particularly popular among young men and boys.
Professor Cameron says Tate was the beneficiary of social media algorithms promoting controversial and harmful content.
Mainstream political figures such as Donald Trump have brought sexist language into the mainstream according to Professor Cameron
“It has billions of followers because it knows how to work the algorithms that determine what users of platforms like TikTok and YouTube will be invited to watch,” Professor Cameron says.
“The Tate effect is partly about the content he produces, if it wasn’t attractive to anyone it wouldn’t be the phenomenon it is now, but it’s also about the way technology expands the scope of things.
“The Victorian misogynist communicating through church sermons or printed letters may have reached a very large number of people, but not billions worldwide.”
Recently, MPs urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to tackle extremism and the “brainwashing” of school children through Andrew Tate content.
However, she also claims that Tate is only part of a broader normalized acceptance of sexism and misogynistic language in everyday life.
Professor Cameron says this new wave of sexism in society has led to women facing more abuse both online and offline.
Professor Cameron told MailOnline: ‘Digital interactive media makes it very easy to harass people anonymously with abusive and threatening messages.’
Prominent women like Vice President Kamala Harris have been the target of torrents of sexist and racist abuse online.
“We know that since the beginning of the digital age, there has been a very significant increase in online abuse targeting women specifically – particularly women with a public profile.”
Professor Cameron says influential public figures, such as Vice President Kamala Harris and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, have been particularly exposed to a rise in sexual assaults.
While Professor Cameron says threats and harassment have always posed a risk to women in public life, the ease of online communication has “drastically increased the scale of the problem”.
She adds that there is growing concern that “severe rape and death threats” are making it difficult for women to participate in politics and public life.
Meanwhile, online groups such as the “Tradwife” movement are actively calling for a return to a time when women did not participate in public life at all.
Women craftswomen promote a lifestyle in which the woman in the relationship is completely subservient to her husband and makes maintaining the home and raising the family her primary concern.
Estee Williams, a self-described activist, advocates a lifestyle in which women stay at home and out of the workforce, putting the care of their husbands and children before other goals.
Professor Cameron also told MailOnline that AI tools like ChatGPT amplify sexism reflecting the biases of the data they are trained on.
Because large language models require massive amounts of data obtained online, they include sexism encoded in that data.
For example, Professor Cameron suggests that if most images of doctors online were of men, AI would only generate images of male doctors.
“The bias that already exists is not only being reproduced, it is being exaggerated,” Professor Cameron says.
However, Ms Cameron adds, “AI systems don’t know that: they don’t know anything about the world, only the way it is represented in the texts and images they can process.”
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