Online meanness and the myth of sisterhood

Brief one, because work is crazy.

We’ve been grappling with this piece of info, insight, call it whatever you want, that came out of research we’re doing for a client. Online, women are bullies of other women just as much as (if not more than) men. That’s what the data is telling us.

Men in my team say that’s not anything new. Men have been saying for ages that women are mean to other women, way meaner than they are to men. There’s movies called Mean Girls about women being mean to other women. It’s not an insight, it’s common knowledge.

So, then this piece of research from Twitter. On Twitter, women are worse than men.

And then, this campaign by Dove comes under fire BY WOMEN for trying to underline TO WOMEN that they might be mean.

There are qualitative differences. Men are more “physical” in their descriptions when they bully. Women resort to shaming. Men are more direct. Women are insinuating. Men are frontal. Women use their communities to bully.

There’s two things to this which puzzle me: 1) the apparent illusion of sisterhood in mainstream social and 2) the societal underpinning of this behaviour.

Are we really all just Mean Girls?

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