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By Swetha Das

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The intersection between the power of the internet and the prevalence of misogyny has led to the omission of women’s voices in public spaces.

‘Ladies Online’, with host Emma Jane, was an insightful panel that did not shy away from addressing the inherent sexism that laces online forums. On the panel were author, Tara Moss, YouTuber, Natalie Tran, and comedy writer, Rosie Waterland.

All three women have been subjected to intense vilification on the internet, and have developed their own methods to combat it.

“I’ve been horrendously targeted by men,” said Waterland.

Her solution to harsh online comments: “I’m a blanket blocker”.

She explained that it has been difficult to engage with the enormity of negative comments and found it a beneficial experience to simply block those users from her social media pages.

“I try to keep my online world as happy a space I can.”

‘Community Channel’ is Natalie Tran’s hit YouTube channel that has garnered nearly 1.8 million subscribers and has had over half a billion views. She is also of Vietnamese background and has had a mixture of racist and sexist messages littering her videos’ comments.

Tran recalled the times that overenthusiastic fans would drop gifts at her house. After reporting this to the police, she was told that she should go offline as a solution to this incident rather than the authorities investigating the problem.

Moss’ recently published book, ‘Speaking Out’, details ‘survival strategies’ that women can employ to deal with this form of harassment online.

But of course, sexism and stereotypes are not a new occurrence.

As a former model, Moss received a lot of scrutiny in the traditional media when she first started to publish her novels. She had to publicly take a polygraph test to prove that a model could also be an author.

She noted that social media, despite its flaws, was also a medium to showcase an unfiltered version of oneself that can help overcome labels.

For readers it’s, “harder to hold onto the stereotype when you hear from [celebrities] directly,” said Moss.
On a positive note, Tran also pointed out that the current state of media is more accessible, and is now abundant with women in comedy that did not exist when she first started in YouTube.

“During [my] ten years of making videos, I see so many funny women”.

As the younger generations begin to rely heavily on the internet for their daily interactions, the online spaces that they frequent will begin to reflect the society that they live in.

For women and minorities, it seems that there is still quite a long way to go to create a completely stable and supportive environment.

As Tara Moss said, “racism and sexism is alive and well”.

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