Misinformation through Feminist Lens

Source: The Hindu

Relevance: Understand misinformation against women

Synopsis: The Internet has empowered society,  but also created a new threat of disinformation against women. This needs a detailed analysis as a healthy democracy should empower and protect the entire society.

About the misinformation on Gender:

Sexism and online harassment prevent women from taking vocal stands and hinder progress. Men are at the centre of this disinformation. Men manufacture such false news and also fall for it.

They also indulge in disinformation to keep propaganda, including political propaganda alive. Such misinformation has been empowered by the arrival of the internet.

Major problems:
  • Women are not heard and shut down by sexism or threat of violence.
  • There are many sexist groups like ‘sharing is caring’ which indulge in defaming and sexist activities.
  • UNESCO report pointed that political actors fuel and instigate online violence campaigns against women journalists.

Misinformation and Sexism: These two share a symbolic relationship. Misinformation piggybacks on sexism to discredit vocal women, and sexism uses misinformation to reinforce patriarchal norms.

Examples of Feminist movements:

However, there are examples of some feminist movements, that have strengthened democracy.

  1. Efforts of Savitrabai Phule to bring reforms in modern education in 1800s with her husband Jyotirao Phule (Shudra) support when education was restricted to the elite class
  2. Contribution of gay women lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju, who reformed the LGBTQ movement and won the landmark case in 2018 which decriminalize gay sex
Way Forward:

We need to promote a more democratic society, as a healthy democracy is participatory and promotes gender inclusiveness.

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