Women + opinion + internet= abuse?

I have heard, watched, listened, read and experienced forms of oppression because I am women. I never realized or took time to think that harassment and abuse lives on the internet also. Aubrey Watters shed light on this situation and shared her experiences /thoughts on gender technology and education. She spoke about how the Internet was designed by privileged men and is geared towards this audience  as well.  The cyber world has put a big target on women and other groups that are marginalized; an easy target for abuse, criticism, harassment and threats.

There were parts of the presentation that didn’t surprise me at all. Hearing the facts that women are not equally represented in the technology/scientific/mathematics world and how Aubrey has been treated via internet are just a few examples. Is this a “bad” thing that I am not shocked or surprised. Maybe it is the fact that I am a women or is it because I feel that I relate to Aubrey’s story?

It has been  a few days from the presentation but I am still finding it difficult to write a post for my blog and what direction I want to go with this topic that has been around for ages.

Here is some inspiration from my fellow classmates blog:

Clayton Murray, spoke about the about the work force. There are a large number of men working in the fields of science, mathematics, big internet cooperation and low numbers in the education work force. However, both fields have very few women in high level of power positions. He poses the question of why is this? Maybe it is because of the stereotypes that women take care of the children and men wear business suits and play with numbers and computers. Or maybe it is the glass ceiling still in full force.

Jeremy Black posted a Youtube video on celebrities reading mean tweets. Which indicates how easy it is for people to send harassing, threatening and disgusting messages with ease and hide behind the walls of the internet.

Carmen Holota spoke about the side chat that was going on as Aubrey spoke.

“The aspect that really jumped out to me was that the female voices really shut down for quite a while, while the male voices cried out about the inequity. Girls – where did we go??  Boys – why did you feel the need to interject?  I’m not saying anyone was right or wrong, but the dynamic just needed noting, in my opinion.”

I was one of those women who did not interject or take part in the side conversation as like many other times I tend not speak up or offer my opinion when it comes to a topic like this.  Maybe I am afraid of the back lash. I don’t want to be labeled as “Feminist” “man hater” or “B*tch”.

Writing your opinnion can result in name calling and back lash as Aubrey Watters pointed out.

Writing your opinion can result in name calling and back lash as Aubrey Watters pointed out.

Photo Credit: hellomeghunt via Compfight cc

I think I now know which direction I want my post to go. It is time for me to speak out, give my opinion and be brave like Aubrey and Carmen. I hate the idea that just because someone who is marginalized silences their voice.

Boys are expected to play with computers are girls also?

Boys are expected to play with computers are girls also?

I read a fantastic blog titled When Women Stop Coding. It suggested that maybe the reason why women are not represented in the computer science field. When the personal computer was introduced into the home all of the games were geared towards men and boys. It was then thought that video games and computers should only be played by boys. Even movie’s with a science or technology feel always has a leading male character after a young lady in distress. Typical!

Photo Credit: Birmingham Public Library (AL) via Compfight cc

After reading the entire blog I did the worse thing possible. Read the comments below. Wow there are some terrible people who feel like they can say something on the internet. It seemed if a women spoke out on her opinion their were twice as many comments to disregard their opinion. I was going to post one gentleman comments on my blog to show how ignorant someone can be, but then I thought why give him the power?

I would love for my daughter to live in a world where she can choose any job she would like and have equal and fair opportunities. She would be able to express her opinion to others and the online world and not get a negative back lash.

My question that I kept asking myself is what can I do to make sure of this? As an educator I feel that it is my job to teach girls that they can be what every they want but also equally as important I need to teach boys  that they can also. I need to show boys and girls how they should treat each other with respect and as equals.  My students need to be taught how they should use the internet for learning, communication and collaboration instead of using it as a playground for bullies and tormentors.

This was the hardest post I had to write to date. I think that my biggest issue is that women have come a far way in society and have gained many rights in this world. However, it almost feels like we have taken a step back in the technology world. Why is this? It bothers me that so many individuals can give their opinion and put others down for having one. My question to you is do you speak out and stand up to these online bullies? Or do you just shake your head in disgust? How do we control these issues?

I am hoping hat new curriculum will to be developed around technology and safety on the internet, as it seems to be an issue that is growing instead of shrinking.




About tarasmith311

Hello my name is Tara. I am an educator and a new mom to a beautiful girl Adalee. I am staying at home for the year to raise my little one but miss being in the classroom every day. I have been teaching middle year students for five years. I have decided to continue my education by taking my Masters in Educational Psychology through the University of Regina. My dream would to one day be a guidance counselor. In my free time I love to be around the pool. I have played competitive water polo for many years and have been coaching the sport for over ten years. I look forward to my journey as a new mom and life long learner.
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2 Responses to Women + opinion + internet= abuse?

  1. tammy says:

    You touch on something near and dear to me, as the mother of both sons and a daughter; there is a need to teach both girls and boys that they can be anything. Add to that the need to teach our kids (no matter their gender) the need to be decent human beings who take care of one another and support one another. I worry about my daughter growing up in a world that can keep her down, sure, but I also worry about what kind of men my boys will grow up to be. I don’t want any of my children growing up thinking it is okay to suppress others in order to elevate themselves.

    I hear you saying that we may have taken a step back in the technology world. Is there a chance that we never made the great strides that we thought we did? That people just got good at hiding their true opinions because they believed they weren’t socially acceptable and then WHAM, along came the internet and they felt like they could say whatever they want because they don’t have to look people in the eye to do it?

    I’m with you on the what to do next. On one hand, I would be reluctant to speak up against bullies and make myself an even bigger target and possibly give them more of a public platform but on the other I wouldn’t want to say nothing either. I think there is strength in numbers and that’s where creating an online society that doesn’t accept oppression in any form becomes hugely important.


  2. tarasmith311 says:

    I still strongly believe that we need to teach our future (students) how to conduct themselves in person and online. There has been media coverage on the effects of online harassment and its consequences. Which Is helps students realize they need to make good choices, but you don’t see much on how to be a good digital citizen. Just some food for thought.


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