‘Reclaim the Internet’? : Military Forums Reveal that Misogyny is Central to the Web


The Guardian announced on Wednesday the 25th May that there would be a cross party response to tackle misogyny online. The Guardian tells us that the campaign, led by Yvette Cooper, and responding to DEMOS findings, will launch through an online forum.

Based on findings from the DUN Project however, we would suggest that contrary to the presumptions expressed in the Guardian piece and ‘The Reclaim the Internet’ campaign, misogyny is –  unfortunately – a central and vital aspect of that web.

In keeping with DEMOS findings, our own analysis of online military forums reveals that misogyny is indeed alive and well online, but not just in relation to the content. Rather, we would contend that misogyny is built into the very infrastructure of social media and – much more importantly – is an embedded part of everyday online practices.

Although our analysis was based on military online forums, we argue that the practices that were revealed are no different to those of non-military personnel.  As such, our research highlights an issue well beyond the boundaries of the military where the findings are far more universal.

To read more about this issue see our previous blog post and forthcoming article ‘Beyond’ Pseuydonmity: the socio-technical structure of online military forums to be published in New Media & Society later this year.

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