Misogyny is rife on social media

by | Feb 27, 2024

I think I’m being manipulated by social media into seeing things that it wants me to see so that it can elicit a reaction.

The reason I think this is because the other day, I had, in the notifications section of my X account, a tweet from Joey Barton. I don’t even follow him. Plus, this is my Storymakers account and it has nothing to do with football or ex-footballers. There was, in other words, no reason for me to be shown this tweet, nor any need for it to appear in the notifications section.
Here’s what the tweet said:

‘Who let the Cabbage patch kid into the studio? Why is she talking about men’s football?’

This was in reaction to a female presenter on Sky Sports talking about a game. And of course, I reacted to this, why wouldn’t I? Firstly, I looked at the comments and saw things like ‘Where’s her ironing board?’ And ‘Should be in the kitchen where she belongs.’ Further delving into Joey Barton, I discovered he’s got somewhat of a reputation as a misogynist. He has form. So, did X want me to know this?

I find it more difficult to get my head around the concept of the platform making sure I saw this tweet than I do about the tweet itself. Quite obviously, X wanted me to react. I didn’t give it the satisfaction though – I didn’t re-tweet it or add a comment. I don’t want to feed into that narrative. However, I did feel the need to talk about it, which is why I’m here.

X is playing a dangerous game in my opinion, adding fuel to the fire.

Tweets from misogynists like Joey Barton should not be given any air time. They don’t deserve it. Some people think any publicity is good publicity and the more people see his tweet, the more likely it is to reach men who think like him. It’s allowing them to say more, like being permitted to be openly misogynist, as if that’s okay.

In many ways, men are becoming more openly misogynistic as a backlash to the cancel culture. They behave as though ‘you can’t say anything anymore for fear of offending people’, which fuels them into saying exactly what they feel with an air of defiance about them. Cancel culture is fuelling their bravado.

What can we do?

Do we keep calling them out on it or do we ignore them in the hope they’ll go away and end up lonely and alone in a cave somewhere? Should social media platforms behave more responsibly? I thought that was the whole idea behind X when Elon Musk took over, yet all I’ve found since the rebranding of Twitter is discontent, with people leaving the platform in droves. I don’t want to be part of a platform that gives air time to people like Joey and I don’t want to see what he’s got to say. He might be a has-been or a nobody, but he still has almost 3 million followers. There are people out there who like what he has to say and are perhaps (or likely) influenced and empowered by it.

It’s difficult to know what to do about social media when you hate everything it stands for in terms of the way it manipulates us.

On the one hand, I want to come away from it completely. On the other, I know I need a presence as an author, connecting with readers as an English tutor, and letting people know what I do.

Can anybody tell me how I can reconcile how I feel with what is necessary to do? I would love to know your thoughts on social media platforms and how you manage your presence on them.

Please let me know.

And, of course, I will be sharing this across social media platforms as I want people to read it. The irony is not lost, believe me.


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