In recent years, the scale and intensity of anti-feminist sentiment online has become a cause for serious concern, not only among feminist activists but also for any woman expressing opinions or exerting influence in digital spaces. Women have been verbally abused, doxed, and sent rape and death threats. They have been cyberstalked, photoshopped into pornography and had intimate images of themselves shared. Their websites have been hacked and, in many cases, their livelihoods have been sabotaged (Jane 2018). An Amnesty report published in 2017 showed that almost a quarter (23%) of the women surveyed across eight countries said they had experienced online abuse or harassment at least once, ranging from 16% in Italy to 33% in the US. Across all eight countries, just under half (46%) of women responding to the survey who had experienced online abuse or harassment said it was misogynistic or sexist in nature. This introductory chapter provides a broad contextual framework for Gender Hate Online, mapping out the key socio-historical shifts in the history of feminism(s) and anti-feminism(s). It also summarizes and contextualizes the various contributions, which move from an understanding of the current moment through specific articulations of anti-feminism and misogyny to women’s own efforts to address gender violence online.
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