Gender Biases in Cyberspace: A Two-Stage Model, the New Arena of Wikipedia and Other Websites

36 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2017

See all articles by Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Yale Law School; ONO Academic College; Yale University - Information Society Project; Fordham University, School of Law

Amy Mittelman

Herrick, Feinstein LLP

Date Written: January 4, 2016

Abstract

Increasingly, there has been a focus on creating democratic standards and norms in order to best facilitate open exchange of information and communication onlineā€•a goal that fits neatly within the feminist aim to democratize content creation and community. Collaborative websites, such as blogs, social networks, and, as focused on in this Article, Wikipedia, represent both a cyberspace community entirely outside the strictures of the traditional (intellectual) proprietary paradigm and one that professes to truly embody the philosophy of a completely open, free, and democratic resource for all. In theory, collaborative websites are the solution for which social activists, intellectual property opponents, and feminist theorists have been waiting. Unfortunately, we are now realizing that this utopian dream does not exist as anticipated: the Internet is neither neutral nor open to everyone. More importantly, these websites are not egalitarian; rather, they facilitate new ways to exclude and subordinate women. This Article innovatively argues that the virtual world excludes women in two stages: first, by controlling websites and filtering out women; and second, by exposing women who survived the first stage to a hostile environment. Wikipedia, as well as other cyber-space environments, demonstrates the execution of the model, which results in the exclusion of women from the virtual sphere with all the implications thereof.

Keywords: Internet, Gender, Cyber, Antidiscrimination, Wikipedia, Democracy, democratic standards, sexual harassment, Intellectual Property, Gender discrimination hostile environment, virtual sphere, cyberspace idealism, revenge porn

Suggested Citation

Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit and Mittelman, Amy, Gender Biases in Cyberspace: A Two-Stage Model, the New Arena of Wikipedia and Other Websites (January 4, 2016). Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 26, No. 2 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2872823 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2872823

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

ONO Academic College ( email )

Tzahal Street 104
Kiryat Ono, 55000
Israel

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Fordham University, School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Amy Mittelman

Herrick, Feinstein LLP ( email )

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