- 1 in 3 discussions about masculinity on Twitter reference violence
- Women are the largest perpetrators of misogyny on Twitter
A major new report called ‘Masculinity and Misogyny in the Digital Age’ has been published by international anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.
Ditch the Label has partnered with leading social intelligence company Brandwatch, evaluating 19 million tweets from the US and the UK over the span of four years in order to better understand the current climate of misogyny and what it means to be a man, as expressed across social media.
The research is a response to key findings from Ditch the Label’s Annual Bullying Survey 2016, the first major study to look at why young people bully others. The survey found that those who identify as being male or having grown up in a male-dominated household were more likely to bully than those who identify as female or who have greater female influences at home.
The report found that 1 in 3 of all discussions associated with masculine behaviour on Twitter referenced violence with the types of violence discussed ranging from physical aggression, gun violence and domestic violence to war.
Females were found to be the largest perpetrators of misogyny on Twitter with over half (52%) of all misogynistic tweets written by women. Nearly 3 million misogynistic insults were sent on Twitter over a four year period.
Masculinity on Twitter: The research analyzed discussions on masculinity in four key areas: how an individual behaves, how they look, their personality and lifestyle preferences.
- 1 in 3 of all discussions associated with masculinity on Twitter referred to violence. The types of violence discussed included physical aggression, gun violence, domestic violence and war.
- Crying was the second most mentioned subject associated with masculinity (1 in 3 conversations) and seen very much as a non-masculine behaviour.
- Lack of emotional response and stoicism were also associated as being masculine.
- Heterosexuality was the third most mentioned subject associated with masculine behavior. 2 in 5 conversations mentioned heterosexuality, and homosexuality was a key theme. Homosexuality was often used in a negative sense to criticize behavior seen as non-conformist.
- Prince provoked debate: The largest peak in conversation surrounding masculinity occurred on April 21 with 15,385 mentions. 82% of the day’s mentions were discussing Prince, who passed away the same day. Authors discussed how Prince’s masculinity wasn’t fragile and how he was able to show the world how “diverse and complex” masculinity could be. This discussion insinuated that masculinity is usually seen as a static construct; Prince’s fluid masculinity was more a defiance than the norm.
- The most prominent UK counties for sending tweets reinforcing ideas of masculinity were East Renfrewshire and Neath Port Talbot.
- Facial Hair was the most frequently mentioned physical attribute associated with masculinity, followed by Muscular Physique, with words such as jacked, brawny, sturdy, and rugged used to describe masculine appearance.
- Drinking Espresso and Americano coffees were seen as masculine behaviors, more so than drinking Lattes, Frappuccinos and flavored coffees.
- Beer is seen as a masculine drink, however drinking wine and cocktails are seen as being feminine.
- Men with an interest in sports are the most likely to comply with masculine stereotypes.
- What it means to be a man is a growing talking point. However, masculinity-related insults remain prevalent. This is especially the case among authors associated with family and parenting, suggesting these terms and attitudes may be transferred to future generations.
- Things are changing. Stereotypes on masculinity are being challenged. Twitter users are beginning to challenge and redefining ideas of masculinity. Brands and some media sources are beginning to challenge existing stereotypes.
Misogyny on Twitter:
- Females were found to be the largest perpetrators of misogyny on Twitter with women authoring 52% of all misogynistic language.
- Nearly 3 million misogynistic insults were sent on Twitter over a four years period.
- Twitter users who were interested in sports and music were twice as likely to send misogynistic tweets.
- US States with lower levels of misogyny tend to be stronger bases of Democratic support. Democrat-strong regions are less likely to tolerate misogyny or transphobia in online discussion. States with high levels of misogynistic language are also likely to exhibit less racial tolerance in the data.
- The most prominent UK counties for misogynistic tweets were Tyrone and Merthyr Tydfil.
- Misogyny has grown significantly as a talking point since 2014 and engages both male and female authors online.
Liam Hackett, Founder and CEO of Ditch the Label says, “We know from our existing research that men are more likely to perpetrate bullying behaviors and are less likely to tell somebody if they are experiencing bullying themselves. Culturally, males are often made to feel as though they are not allowed to express their emotions in the same ways in which females are encouraged to. This report is crucial in helping us to better understand the constructs of masculinity so that we can work to proactively reduce rates of bullying and to help us encourage more men to reach out for support. We also explored the usage of misogynistic language used across Twitter to help us better understand the broader gender landscape, so that we can campaign for greater gender equality.”
Edward Crook, Research Manager at Brandwatch, added, “This project was a great example of how data can be used for social good. Using Brandwatch, we were able to uncover some surprising trends on how gender is perceived in the US and the UK today. Advertising plays a major role in reinforcing notions of gender, so it’s promising to see brands begin to challenge and redefine these constructs.”
Full details of the report can be found at http://www.ditchthelabel.org/research-papers/masculinity-misogyny-digital-age/.
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About Ditch the Label
Ditch the Label is a leading anti-bullying charity based in the UK. They also work internationally in the UK and in Mexico. In 2015, 180,000 young people benefited from anti-bullying support from Ditch the Label.
Ditch the Label have launched a new digital support platform that provides instant advice and support for young people who are experiencing bullying or associated problems relating to a wide range of issues including mental health, body image, sexuality and hate crimes.
The charity primarily work online in partnership with social networks, online gaming platforms and via their own website to deliver award-winning support programs for young people who have been bullied and who are bullying others.
Ditch the Label work closely with schools, colleges and online gaming platforms to produce some of the largest research papers on the topic of bullying and associated behaviours in the world.
Young people impacted by bullying can get support directly from Ditch the Label via their website at www.DitchtheLabel.org.
Ditch the Label provide support to young people, along with parents/guardians and teachers directly through their website, www.DitchtheLabel.org, which is the largest online resource for anti-bullying support.
Brandwatch is the world’s leading social intelligence company. Brandwatch Analytics and Vizia products fuel smarter decision making around the world.
The Brandwatch Analytics platform gathers millions of online conversations every day and provides users with the tools to analyze them, empowering the world’s most admired brands and agencies to make insightful, data-driven business decisions. Vizia distributes visually-engaging insights to the physical places where the action happens.
The Brandwatch platform is used by over 1,200 brands and agencies, including Unilever, Cisco, Whirlpool, British Airways, Heineken, Walmart and Dell. Brandwatch continues on its impressive business trajectory, recently named a global leader in enterprise social listening platforms by the latest reports from several independent research firms. Increasing its worldwide presence, the company has offices around the world including Brighton, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Stuttgart, Paris and Singapore.
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