The Role of Sexist Abuse and Objectification in Women’s Activism
6 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2021
Date Written: October 13, 2021
The activism of girls and young women faces many challenges and structural barriers across the globe and in Australia. Our central concern is the necessity of ensuring and safeguarding the conditions under which girls and young women can speak freely and openly, so that what they say is heard locally and globally. In this context, the prevalence and normalisation of sexualised, objectifying, and humiliating images of girls and young women, as well as technology-facilitated violence and pornographic content in the digital environment, limit the activism of girls and young women. Many aspects of these structural barriers, which we argue form systemic discrimination against women, affect both young and older women, and circumscribe the ways in which they are heard or not heard. We draw attention to three major issues in the undermining of activism by girls and young women: sexist objectification and hyper-sexualisation; technology-facilitated sexual violence [TFSV]; and objectification, harassment and TFSV as forms of structural discrimination. We conclude by recommending the formulation of a binding international human rights law for private actors to remedy the violations of freedom of expression and assembly of women in the digital space, and call on states to expand national anti-discrimination laws to address harassment and abuse within the framework of systemic discrimination.
Keywords: activism,harassment,systemic discrimination,human rights,pornography,sex discrimination
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