Anonymity amplifies gender dynamics on the Internet, says ASU researcher
Cindy Tekobbe, a doctoral student and faculty associate in English at Arizona State University, recently spoke to Iowa Public Radio about harassment faced by women online, particularly in the male-dominated gaming environment.
Tekobbe was a guest on the River to River show’s “Engaging in #GamerGate” segment on Sept. 30. The discussion centered on one particular controversy in which a female critic was threatened with violence, death, sexual assault and rape on her Twitter feed. According to Tekobbe, these situations are all too common and “the threats are specific and pretty ugly. (They) tend to drive women out of public spaces and discourage them from speaking about women’s issues in public.”
Tekobbe believes that abuses are amplified and concentrated because of the relative anonymity the Internet affords, “where like-minded people are able to locate each other quickly and congregate in dark corners.”
Tekobbe studies gender dynamics and gender politics in online spaces and is working toward her doctorate in rhetoric, composition and linguistics in the Department of English, an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.