Supporting girls impacted by misogyny online

Dad, Barney, shares his daughter’s experience with misogyny online.

See what he does to support his teen to deal with the hate she sees in online football communities.

Betty’s introduction to misogyny online

At 15, Barney’s daughter, Betty, has come across many incidents of online misogyny, sexism and inappropriate comments online. “I can think of many examples, which I think is sad,” he says. “I would love for my daughter not to have seen sexism, but it’s inevitable, and particularly on the Internet.”

Betty is a keen football fan and player, regularly attending football camps and matches. Into secondary school, Betty started using football forums and message boards. That is where she has seen most misogyny online, says Barney. “She is using the forums to track her favourite teams and players. But over the last couple of years, she’s seen countless threads and comments about women in football, both as fans and as players.”

A logo that reads 'The Online Together Project' on a speech bubble with a winky face and a face with love hearts for eyes to represent the quizzes that tackle online hate like misogyny and break down gender stereotypes.

Use this interactive quiz to help children understand gender stereotypes and tackle misogyny online, creating more positive communities.


What misogyny looks like

The teen first encountered misogyny online in a thread about the England women’s football team. According to Barney, those in the thread were “saying the standard of the game wasn’t on the same level as the men’s team.” Instead, users said that women should be at home, looking after their men, rather than playing football. “There were distasteful comments about the women’s appearance,” Barney adds. “And some of them were really misogynistic.”

Barney says that his daughter immediately showed him the content. As such, he was able to talk about online misogyny with her. “She’s quite level-headed but found it confusing and didn’t understand why people would think that way,” he says. “We sat down, and I pointed out that those messages and ideas were completely false.”

Together, Barney and Betty spent time online looking at other content that was more positive and realistic about women – and not just in the football world. “We watched YouTube videos of the women’s football team, and I also started sharing video and websites with her showing positive representations of women in sport, but also in the workplace and in politics and entertainment. It’s so important to me that my daughter grows up knowing that she’s a strong young woman who can do whatever she sets her mind to.”

What parents can do to tackle online misogyny

Outside of football, Barney worries about his daughter seeing content that expresses violence or a lack of respect towards women. He gives some tips for what parents can do to help children manage their understanding of misogyny online and off:

  • “Be open to conversations” and keep communication open. Ensure they know they can always ask questions.
  • “Consistently tell kids that these messages are false.
  • “Make sure they have a good understanding of the wonderful things women are and do.”
  • Check in with your children’s schools to stay on top of what they learn when it comes to online hate, sexism and online safety.

“Hopefully what they learn in school backs up what we talk about at home, and my daughter has a good understanding of the issues,” he says. “My daughter is a strong, powerful girl and I’m thankful we’re able to discuss that content so she’s able to keep it in perspective and understand that it’s false.”

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