Taming the Wild West: Online Excesses, Reactions and Overreactions

15 Pages Posted: 22 May 2016

See all articles by Catherine J. Ross

Catherine J. Ross

George Washington University - Law School; Institute for Advanced Study

Date Written: 2016


A review essay discussing Danielle Keats Citron’s Hate Crimes in Cyberspace (Harvard University Press 2014) and Amy Adele Hasinoff’s, Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy and Consent (University of Illinois Press 2015). Both books consider the risks and harms in cyberspace, blaming of victims, and the interaction between law and online expression. Citron documents widespread hate speech, cyberstalking, revenge porn, and other speech that especially targets women online. Hasinoff, grounded in feminist and cultural studies, emphasizes the positive aspects of the agency girls who sext voluntarily display in exploring and displaying their sexuality, arguing that advising girls that control of their own lives must lead them refuse to sext (a widespread approach) deprives them of voice. Both books analyze law and propose legal reforms, and both also explore the relationship between social norms and legal regimes. Ross’s review finds commonality in the authors’ arguments that women “have a right to sexual expression without fear of moral or legal repercussions” and that both ultimately “look to greater self-policing by the technology industry,” and to promoting “cultural transformation” as much as legal change.

Keywords: Setting, cyberspace, domestic violence, hate speech, freedom of expression, agency, women, feminism, victim blaming, regulation of online speech, Citron, Hasinoff

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Ross, Catherine J., Taming the Wild West: Online Excesses, Reactions and Overreactions (2016). Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 2/5, p. 267, 2016, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2016-12, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2782646 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2782646

Catherine J. Ross (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

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United States

Institute for Advanced Study ( email )

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