Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gender Wars

By David Simms

When we think about cyber harassment and who is usually behind it, we tend to picture men. Traditionally they are the ones who commit the majority of all crimes. In most every culture men are the dominant gender and due to evolutionary reasons, are more aggressive.  It is in their genetic make-up. They are the hunters, the breadwinners, the leaders, the protectors, the heads of households. However, when it comes to internet harassment, the statistics say females, not men, comprise the majority of perpetrators. In school-age children, girls are typically more vicious than boys when it comes to social pecking order. 

Girls place more importance on social status, the way they look, the way they dress, and tend toward click behaviour. Although they are generally less physically aggressive than boys overall, this component of personality comes out in other ways. Through social media, even the meekest of girls can become hateful vipers online because they have the perception of never being found out. They are especially harsh on other girls but can be against boys as well. This behaviour appears to transfer into adulthood where we find many women participating in the same social- group kinds of activities. Anywhere from church to school gatherings for their children, women bond together in clicks. They are also more prone to gossip amongst their peer group.  In any number of ways, this can lead to lashing out against others online.  There have been several cases involving adult women cyber harassing others on account of their children’s social activities which have resulted in suicide. None of this is to say men do not commit brutish crimes online, they are guilty too but it appears that ironically a women’s nature tends more toward cyber harassment than men.