Why are so many men so horrible towards women?

This may seem like a really stupid question, but after reading this story I have to ask… why? What purpose does this serve? To call Shelby Rogers fat and send her death threats?

I know this has become part of the social media landscape, but what I don’t understand is what drives it, and if this is primarily an “American” problem, or if the more progressive European nations also have an endemic misogynistic class of men with a vengeful attitude towards women?

We certainly do.

The culture of social media abuse (fueled by percieved anonymity) seems to apply to all sportspeople, but it’s demonstrably far worse for those in traditionally marginalised groups. So it’s clearly partly fueled by misogyny and racism but I suspect the general driver is people from a privileged group perceiving some of those privileges fading away and lashing out at their loss as if society is some sort of zero-sum game.

That makes it sound very similar to terrorism to me, and I think it’s an apt comparison. This is all just low-level everyday locker-room terrorism.

Social media allows us to think of others as not human, and opens us up to behaving inhumanely. I think it affects nearly everyone, but men are arguably more likely to express it directly and confrontationally. We think we’re entitled to be heard. And women are often the targets because men have always had a million avenues by which to objectify women. It’s a target-rich environment if you don’t care who you hurt.

Unfortunately rife in the UK too.

This is exactly right - I’ve said this before here as well, but social media should be banned. The whole “people should learn to behave instead of banning something” is clearly not working in any way. If anything, Social Media is way too powerful and incites people, even those who should and do know better.

I do hope, someday, humanity will look at this age and marvel that we allowed it to run rampant for as long as we did. Kinda like how we marvel that people thought the earth was flat.

I feel like there’s always been this kind of talk, it’s just that previously it was bros to bros in the locker room or wherever, assholes being assholes to very small amounts of ears. It’s just that now the audience has exploded in number. And whereas it was (mostly) in a hushed or under your breath fashion, people get that same feeling online, that they can do it under the radar, but at the same time broadcast it wide spectrum. So I agree, it’d be great to throw a carpet on it and smother that ability, but I don’t know how you’d reasonably do so with the cat out of the bag. What kind of horrible thousand page rule manual would you have to create to allow technology to grow but curtail the part that most people like best, to voice their shitty opinions?

This is basically one of those “why Democracy won’t survive the 21st Century” question - we (might) all agree that social media should be banned, but what constitutes media, where those boundaries are, who gets to decide, ect? Basically question that Democratic systems are incredibly bad at solving, especially the more diverse a country is and the wider the potential sweep of opinions (ie, Democratic systems can come to consensus on issues like this, as long as everyone is exactly the same). Ultimately it has to be enforced in a kind of undemocratic way, someone or small group has to a make a decision that may or may not satisfy everyone (or anyone).

But arguably there’s a power dynamic in heterosexual relationships in these particular instances that’s getting referenced. Because women’s sexual attractiveness makes men want to do things, men want to take power away from women as a kind of psychic restoration of some kind of internal balance. Often this means men lean into the reliable thing they can always use against women, threats of physical violence.

I guess I would say that men are bad and have always been bad. I don’t really think that social media causes men to be bad, though of course it allows many more people to experience the particular badness of one man or another directly, in a way they would never have been able to in the past where the reach of each individual bad man was limited by the volume of his voice and the strength of his courage to use it. You can shout very loudly on social media, and there are few if any actual consequences for doing so, and that combination allows men to make their badness known to everyone in a way they could not have done before.

This is also why I think all the bleating about cancel culture is, well, silly and misdirected. In a social media world, the one thing we can do about men who advertise their badness to the world is to shame and shun them for that badness, to let the whole world know how bad they are, so that the whole world can defend themselves against those men. We need to be able to shame bad people. It’s the only tool in the box, and it arguably works.

OTOH permitting bad behavior by men in order to identify them is asking a lot of women. Or at the least I’d want a large cross-section of women chiming in on the subject.

I’m not proposing that as a strategy.

The hypothesis is getting rid of social media.

It’s an excellent hypothesis, and I looked forward to a clearer explanation of what it would mean to ‘get rid of’ social media.

There’s no way to get rid of social media, at least not without a kind of undemocratic top-down enforcement like China. But a couple posters above said things like “social media should be banned”. I was taking up that assertion and leaving aside its viability. Getting rid of social media would have big effects on women - and it may not be all good, in fact on the whole women might very well prefer having it even with the downsides.

“Getting rid of social media” is impossible. As noted above, defining what is social and what is media, among other things, is complex enough, and there is no effective way to ban specific types of communications platforms that I can see. Social media at its root is people wanting to communicate, and they will find a way. Unless you shut down or totally monitor the Internet in a draconian fashion far exceeding even China’s way of doing it, I think it’s a chimerical goal.

That doesn’t mean the critiques of social media are wrong–it’s pretty much a cesspool to a large degree, though there is a huge amount of positive or at least anodyne activity on social media as well, not even including the vital role it plays in business these days.

But the more interesting questions are those raised by @Enidigm about democracy per se. Democracy is a type of social contract, a system of organizing and governing. It’s a process, not a result. As such, democracy does not guarantee specific policy outcomes. When a society chooses to be democratic, it says it is valuing the process over the results of that process. In a democracy, the way people interact politically and the system governing the use of public power are the core values. In such a system, you agree to accept policies and decisions with which you disagree as long as they happen within the democratic framework; that is, as long as the people making those choices are elected democratically and all that.

This becomes problematic for a number of reasons, one of the big ones being that certain policies and decisions are so vital to people that it becomes more important to make the right decision that it does to maintain the right process. When a society values specific outcomes over the process by which those outcomes are obtained, democracy simply is not going to be the most reliable or effective mechanism for reaching those goals.

So you have to choose, usually. Of course, there are nuances. In the case of the USA, one could argue that the democratic system is being subverted, and that is leading to the bad outcomes, and what we have to do is fix democratic processes because the majority (which would be in charge if democratic processes were functioning properly) would make the right decisions. That is still dodging the real question though, because at some point you will almost certainly face a case where democratic processes are functioning fine and the decisions elected leaders are making accurately reflect the will of the people–but the people are a bunch of fucking fascist pigs.

Then, ah, well, democracy does not look so good. But if you ditch it for a benevolent authoritarianism, committed to doing the “right thing,” how long until that spirals into the usual dystopian mess?

It is not. Most listing have the US around 15th out 200 odd countries on woman rights issues. Beside the obvious suspect in the the Middle East and Africa for abusing woman, much of South, and Central America are bad. For an advanced democracy, Japan still treat women as second class citizens.

The leaders according my quick google search, and not surprisingly are Scandinavia, with Iceland seeming to claim the top start. My obligatory reminder, that 99.7% of the earths population doesn’t live in Scandinavia so lets don’t start with the why can’t the US be more like Sweden or Iceland.

As far democracy is concerned while there are things Democracy doesn’t do a good job at. There is a strong correlation between democracy and good women rights scores.

Not a big deal, but I don’t really follow that argument. 96% of the earth’s population don’t live in the US, but that doesn’t stop the US from being like the US.

I’ve used the argument when traveling and talking to immigrants. “I really wish my country, would be more like the US and do X”. I say “the US has many advantages, that make it hard for smaller, poor countries to do things the US does.”

I’m all for adopting best practices in any endeavor but structural issues, often make it really hard to just copy something.

See Texas abortion rights.

FWIW, Scandinavia is no stranger to abuse of women and minorities in social media. The Utøya survivors have been more less been driven out of public discourse here 10 years after the event, in large part because of social media. Public message boards are as much cesspools here as anywhere.

Oh no. That’s upsetting :(