In an exclusive first shared with Cosmopolitan.com, the organization details how the hate groups feed off each other, plus recommendations on how to stem the tide.
The unsettling rise of radical misogynist men seems to only be getting worse—and too often go unchecked. So today, in a report first provided to Cosmopolitan.com, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism details its new classification of misogyny as radical hatred in the same vein as white supremacy.
“ADL considers misogyny a dangerous and underestimated component of extremism, and this report marks the start of an ongoing effort to investigate the ways in which people in the white supremacist, incel and MRA orbits feed and inform one another’s poisonous hatred of women,” the report states.
“Every day as virulent white supremacists make their hatred known, we immediately and rightly call them extremists. We have not been nearly as unequivocal when it comes to men who express their violent anger and loathing towards women,” it continues. (You see examples of some of those statements here.) “In fact, these groups warrant a side by side examination. There is a robust symbiosis between misogyny and white supremacy; the two ideologies are powerfully intertwined.”
The League, whose work focuses on combating hate, is laying out a specific set of policy recommendations to push back against men who boldly terrorize and threaten violence against women. “There’s a growing sense of resentment among certain groups of men, especially white men, towards women for what they see as a theft of their power and status,” the report’s author, Jessica Reaves, tells Cosmopolitan.com. “Violence, vicious harassment, and other forms of misogyny are a huge threat to women everywhere. We want people to understand that misogyny is dangerous and that by elevating everyone’s understanding of this critical threat, we can reduce the risks.”
ADL spells out nine ways to deal with misogynists, both online and IRL. In one of the weightier calls-to-action, the report suggests that legislators focus on passing policy that specifically provides protections for gender-based violence, as well as making sure that gender-based crimes are included under hate-crime laws. Other proposals involve better training of law enforcement officers to recognize gender-based violence and for lawmakers to dedicate more research and funding to misogyny and its effects.
Given that the “manosphere” (a term coined to define the parts of the web where men huddle together and bond over how much they despise women) has created a particularly vicious hot pot for hate—from social media accounts that run on anti-female rage to online forums populated with misogynist members—it’s no surprise that five of the ADL’s nine propositions focus on technology and the digital space. One of the recommendations: that social media companies provide more effective options for dealing with online gendered hate speech.
“Through these suggestions, our hope is that more people will openly talk about misogyny—in public spaces, in government, in schools, and in workplaces—that there will be more awareness of what women are dealing with, and more official means to address it,” Reaves says.
And the time to make these changes is now, according to the ADL. “Given how active white supremacists are at the moment and the ongoing threats of public violence against women, we think it’s really important for people to understand that these hateful groups don’t exist in a vacuum—they feed off one another and urge each other on,” Reaves says.
There was the case earlier this year of Alek Minassian, a self-described incel (short for “involuntarily celibate”) who drove a van into a crowd of people in Toronto, killing 10 and injuring others, claiming his act was driven by his hatred of women. There’s the increase of online groups glued together by their disgust that women are allowed to use birth control, vote, choose when and with whom to have sex, and a whole host of other grievances. There was the analysis published by the National Academies of Science in April that the results of Trump’s election were due to white men who had become scared about their place in the world because of the advancement of women and minorities.
“Our hope is that between heightened public awareness and all of our combined efforts, we can make misogyny a thing of the past,” Reaves says.