Online comments highlight sexist attitudes

Online comments made in response to a video of men ‘rating’ women on a Perth beach earlier this week reveal the continuing prevalence of sexist attitudes.

The video, first published on ABC Perth on Tuesday, shows a woman confronting three men using whiteboards to rate women on a scale of one to 10 as they run past Scarborough Beach in Perth.

Both the original news article and various social media responses on platforms such as Tik Tok have generated misogynistic comments, some targeting the woman who filmed the video, while other praise the men.

One comment reads: “Alternate headline: angry female verbally harasses 3 random blokes for using whiteboards for their intended purpose.”

Another reads: “These blokes should each cop an Australian of the year award for their valiant efforts in rating hot women on their run at the beach.”

Comments in response to video seen on Tik Tok account. Source: Holly Prentice.

Leading expert on extremism and Deakin University researcher Josh Roose says this type of online sexist abuse is a phenomenom among younger men.

“Thirty-five per cent, or one in three Australian men aged 18 to 35, that we interviewed believed rights to women had gone too far,” Dr Roose says.

There is backlash particularly amongst men who feel themselves to be threatened by feminism or disenfranchised by feminists. They’re particularly vocal, and they’re particularly nasty about it.”

Dr Roose says the reason these comment sections become abusive is due to the lack of consequence for posting and believes tech companies should stop protecting these commentators. 

“Anonymity is the key here. There is no way, and I would put a significant amount of money on this, that men are going to make those comments where they can be publicly identified.”

Experts agree the reason behind a lot of these comments is anonymity. Photo: Holly Prentice.

These comment sections have now become an occupational hazard for online content creators, with many told that expecting abuse is the norm.

Curtin University internet studies professor Mike Kent says it has now become common practice to ignore the comment sections of online news stories entirely to avoid abuse.

“There’s always the advice of ‘never read below the line’ to make sure people aren’t being personally attacked,” he says.

“I’m a big fan of just stopping the debate. Turning off the comments.”

At the time of publication, comments remain live on the original ABC Facebook post.

Categories: General