(Hint: They're worse than you'd expect)
Considering the fact that A) we only have 140 characters to play with, which really isn’t all that many B) it’s a public forum where your boss can read your words, and C) the fact that we’re all human beings with thoughts and feelings and actual tear ducts, you wouldn’t have thought people would be that mean on Twitter.
But ask any woman in the public eye, and you’ll quickly discover that you’re wrong.
Recent research suggests that women are more than 70 per cent likely to be trolled online than men are – and women in traditionally ‘male’ roles (such as sports presenters) are even more likely to be inundated with abusive messages.
That’s why the campaign #MoreThanMean project is so important. A group of everyday men (you can tell that they’re ‘everyday men’ because they wear ‘everyday’ clothes, like backwards baseball caps and crumpled shirts) sit, facing female sports presenters, and read them the meanest tweets that have been sent about them recently. The women have seen the tweets already – after all, they were @-ed into them, and a notification probably went off on their phones to alert them, and then they probably got another notification whenever anybody else liked them, or retweeted them too. But the everyday men sitting before them haven’t seen the tweets before. (They were too busy reversing their baseball caps to bother.)
The tweets start off mildly mean. You know, you’d wince if you got them, but you might not feel like your life was in danger. (Although, eitherway, they’re not acceptable.)
And then they get worse.
Threatening the women with rape, murder and other forms of abuse, the men wince and look away as they read them aloud. Meanwhile, the women just look sad. Afterall, this isn’t anything new to them. They’ve seen these tweets before. And they’ve seen other ones, too.
It’s a powerful video, and so far, it’s been viewed over a million times. But it serves to highlight the fact that while most men are shocked and outraged by the messages the women receive, these guys are probably not the ones sending them.
And the ones who are sending them are probably doing so because they know they’ll never have to confront the women they’re trolling face-to-face.
Some of the tweets included:
“One of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick like the whore you are.”
“I hope your dog gets hit by a car, you bitch.”
“Hopefully this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim. That would be classic.”
“This is why we don’t hire any females unless we need our cocks sucked or our food cooked”
“This dumb c***”
“I hope your boyfriend beats you.”
“Why bring up your own rape… Is it your way of firing back at your critics who say you can’t get any?”