MEDIA & COMMUNICATION

It has not only been school playgrounds for bullying few decades back, but also on the streets as well as in the workplace too, leading victims with low self-esteem and even lead to suicide. However, with the rise of digital age, “an ever-increasing exposure to technology is enabling ever-increasing bullying of this kind – often anonymous, outside the normal barriers of time and location and often as damaging as face-to-face bullying.” (Sarah Nicole 2012) It includes anything from name calling to physical violence and online abuse, or cyber-bullying, which has become a major issue. The term ’bullying’ is defined as “The misuse of power or position to persistently criticize and condemn; to openly humiliate and undermine an individual’s professional ability until the recipient becomes so fearful that their confidence crumbles and they lose belief in themselves.” (Suzanne McCarthy 1995)

Though, of course, with social networking being what it is nowadays, it is hard to control the freedom of expression and the act of people hiding behind a mask of anonymity to abuse or harass or intimidate other people. Almost 9 in every 10 young people, especially women have been harassed and threatened over the internet through forums, blogs social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with the incidence increasing significantly in recent years. Individual comments may be strong but otherwise harmless. However, it is their aggregate effect that is destructive. One of the victim bullied through online as well ‘offline’ in her life was famous contestant of Britain’s Got Talent, Lucy Kay. Lucy had been picked on her entire life for being an outsider, and now after performing on the show, the bullies still did not end mocking and gone to attack her on Vile, bringing her to the verge of suicide. She was being hit by dozen of sick tweets mocking her appearance and her bravery in confronting bullies to appear on the show.

Moreover, there is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Of course men too are undoubtedly abused over social media.

“It’s quite clear that men and women will both abuse people online and be the recipients of that abuse”

Prof Mark Griffiths Nottingham Trent University

But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure. And I believe misogyny is not acceptable in any case, rather everyone must be treated equally, and it should be stopped. People should be informed and made aware about gender discrimination to prevent such misogynistic acts. Women should have the chance to speak out and stand on digital media to the same level as the men.

Reference:

Evans, Karalee (2011) ‘Men call me things: it’s not as romantic as it sounds’, The Drum, 11 November

Nicol, Sarah (2012) ‘Cyber-bullying and trolling’ Youth Studies Australia, Vol. 31, No. 4

McCarthy, Suzanne (1995) ‘Probation Journal’, Bullying at Work, Sage, Vol. 42

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