TIME society

Thank You, Donald Trump, for Starting a Needed Conversation About Sexism

Outrage over his comments could be a sign that we’ve had enough locker-room banter posing as political dialogue

A few years ago, I wrote an open letter to my then-3-year-old daughter, apologizing for all the years I had spent oblivious to society’s subtle (but now obvious) sexism.

Having a daughter was life-altering on many levels — not the least of which was opening my eyes to all the little ways women are treated differently every day.

But even before my daughter was born, I got a close-up look at some of these challenges while working on Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign.

The 2008 campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination was truly historic, with two of the most visionary and transformative candidates our nation has ever seen.

Either one was going to dramatically change the direction of our economic and foreign policy. But that election also elevated the topics of race and gender to the presidential level.

The election of Barack Obama certainly did not signify that we had become “post-racial.” (Whatever that means.) But, it did begin to raise our collective consciousness, and show that we were finally willing to look past a candidate’s skin color when examining his qualifications for the Oval Office. And, as the campaign progressed, it showed the willingness of so many Americans to come together and push back against the examples of racism and bigotry that were soaked into the fabric of our daily lives. We didn’t solve racism, but we took a strong stand against it.

We saw a different reaction when it came to gender.

Throughout the 2008 campaign, many of the same people that were jumping to the defense of Barack Obama whenever there was even a scent of racism, were ignoring (or partaking in) subtle sexism against women candidates. Hillary Clinton — and Sarah Palin in the general election — were constantly faced with demeaning and belittling commentary that you’d expect more in junior high school than on the presidential campaign trail.

Was Hillary Clinton where she was only because of her husband? Was she being too emotional? Could Sarah Palin be Vice President with children at home? What about their appearance? These were the types of questions being posed to and about women, but not about men.

And it wasn’t just the candidates. There were more than a few women journalists on the Clinton campaign bus who, after a long day on the trail, would vent about this unfairness and double standard. “You should say something,” I replied to each. But too many of them said the same thing — they couldn’t, if they wanted to be taken seriously in their news rooms.

Now here we are, eight years later. Hillary Clinton is running for President again. So is Carly Fiorina on the Republican side. Whatever you think of their politics, both are serious contenders.

And Donald Trump is running as well.

For weeks, Trump was confounding the political establishment with his meteoric rise. Right out of the box, people said he was done when he insulted immigrants. Instead, his poll numbers rose.

People said he was done when he then insulted John McCain and veterans. But his poll numbers continued to rise even higher.

Then came the first debate. And moderator Megyn Kelly asked her question about his long history of disparaging comments against women. And, true to form, Trump belittled the question — saying he didn’t have time for “political correctness.” Besides, he said, he only said that about Rosie O’Donnell.

The audience laughed. None of the other candidates on stage said a word. Some analysts publicly said he handled that tough question very well.

Most women I talked to disagreed.

What Kelly was referring to, was his long record of calling women (not just Rosie O’Donnell) “pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Of saying that some women looked “better on their knees.”

Then the next day, as if to put an exclamation point on it, Trump insinuated to CNN that Kelly was tough on him because of the “blood coming out of her whatever.” (And that was after 24 hours of terribly sexist comments directed at her by Trump supporters.)

Finally, we got some outrage. Apparently, attacking Megyn Kelly — one of the most respected journalists in the country, who also happens to have broad appeal among conservatives — was the line that couldn’t be crossed.

Mind you, many of the people showing outrage (on both sides of the aisle) have been silent (or in some cases complicit) when sexist comments were directed at Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama, Carly Florina, Sarah Palin, or any of the many other women leaders of our time.

Maybe Trump is right. Maybe the outrage against his statements and response can be chalked up to the overhyped reaction of politically-correct “idiots.” Maybe that kind of “straight” and “tough” talk is exactly what America needs to get back on track.

Or, maybe that outrage is a sign that America is finally saying it’s had enough locker-room banter posing as political dialogue.

I don’t know. But it won’t be long before the Donald Trump v Megyn Kelly dust-up settles. By this time next year, it will simply be a singular moment that historians write about in their books about the path to the presidency 2016.

I just hope this conversation doesn’t end once this moment fades into political memory. It needs to be just getting started.

While recent tragic events prove that we still have a long way to go on race, the more-than-symbolic lowering of the Confederate Flag in South Carolina demonstrated that we are becoming less willing to hide behind “heritage” as an excuse for racial injustice.

The dramatic and rapid change in our collective acceptance of same-sex marriage over the past 10 years, reflects that we are becoming less tolerant of bigotry against the LGBTQ community.

But sexism?

Seven years ago a lot of people were asking whether America was ready for a woman President. Today, the question is whether we are willing to tolerate an openly sexist one.

And for forcing that discussion, we ought to thank Donald Trump.

Mo Elleithee is executive director of Georgetown’s Institute of Politics & Public Service. This article originally appeared on Medium

MONEY women

Getting Mad at Work Can Cost Women $15,000 in Annual Pay

angry-women-lose-15k-at-work
ONOKY - Eric Audras—Getty Images/Brand X

Angry men lose only half that amount in perceived worth.

Being overly aggressive or negative at work is never a good idea. But a new study finds that certain displays of assertiveness are perceived as especially unacceptable for women.

If a woman comes across as angry or critical, she is rated as 35% less competent and worthy of $15,088 less in pay than a woman who doesn’t rock the boat. Similar behavior by men costs them only about half as much in perceived fair compensation.

Corporate training company VitalSmarts surveyed more than 11,000 people in June to reach its results, which included this silver lining: Sometimes acknowledging sexism can reduce its effects.

When a woman prefaces a harsh comment with a “framing” phrase, like “I know it’s a risk for a woman to speak this assertively, but I’m going to express my opinion very directly,” backlash can be reduced by as much as 27%.

While discussing gender bias so openly might not feel comfortable in every workplace, more neutral statements also help reduce the negative effects on perception. One example: “I see this as a matter of honesty and integrity, so it’s important for me to be clear about where I stand.”

The study involved participants watching male and female actors reading the same scripts, pretending to be managers delivering criticism and suggesting there might be consequences for poor performance. After watching the actors, participants rated the “managers” in terms of competency and deserved pay.

Read More: 7 Myths About Women Leaders Debunked

TIME Internet

Female Engineers Are Using the Hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer to Tear Down Gender Stereotypes

Isis-Anchalee-engineer
Courtesy of @isisAnchalee

Campaign aims to redefine “what an engineer should look like”

After a photo of software engineer Isis Anchalee appeared on a recruiting ad for her employer OneLogin, she received numerous sexist comments online about female engineers (sadly, no surprises there).

So the 22-year-old “self-taught engineer, extreme introvert, science-nerd” and “anime lover” wrote a blog post to highlight the issues women in tech face. She said that most people in the industry are well intentioned “but genuinely blind to a lot of the crap that those who do not identify as male have to deal with.”

Fed up with the negative and ignorant comments, Anchalee invited those who “do not fit the cookie-cutter mold” to help redefine “what an engineer should look like” under the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer.

And a Twitter storm followed …

Even astronaut Scott Kelly, who is currently spending a year orbiting the earth on the International Space Station, got involved to show his support.

TIME portfolio

Closets Full of Dreams: Inside Egypt’s Sexual-Harassment Crisis

“It’s not just about clothing. It’s the idea that there is no freedom for women in general.”

To be a woman in Egypt is to live with the crushing inevitability of sexual harassment. The magnitude of the problem is epidemic, with 99.3% of Egyptian women having been sexually harassed, according to a 2013 U.N. Women report. It’s a society in which, for half the population, just leaving home can be a daily nightmare.

Cairo-based photojournalist Roger Anis decided to confront the issue by making portraits of women next to the clothes they would wear on the streets, if only they felt safe enough. “I’m not facing harassment myself as a man,” he says, “but when your dear friends are facing it, your girlfriend is facing it, or your mother or sister is facing it, you feel so helpless.”

His diptychs pair horrifying stories of harassment and assault with the dream of basic rights for women, reaching beyond sexism to address intersectional themes of racism, ageism, body image, religious tradition, and even the repression of political dissent. Although these issues aren’t exclusive to women, says Anis, women are more likely to be targeted for other forms of discrimination because of their gender.

One of his subjects said she was spat on for wearing colors under her niqab. Another said she was brutally assaulted by a mob in Tahrir Square in 2012. Still others were made to feel unsafe or ashamed in the clothes that they chose or the skin color, age, or weight that they didn’t. “It’s not just about clothing. It’s the idea that there is no freedom for women in general,” says Anis.

Though the causes of sexual harassment are rooted in systemic gender inequity, and not a woman’s behavior or clothing choices, women often feel desperate to protect themselves from the aggressions of men. It’s a matter of doing whatever they can to feel safer, Anis says, though in practice it doesn’t really help. “For me, clothes have nothing to do with harassment,” says Aleya Adel, who appears in one of Anis’ photos. “You will be harassed no matter what you are wearing.”

What drives men to commit the harassment, says Anis, is a combination of factors including political turmoil, poverty, a low standard of education, and religious restrictions. “There will always be people who consider the harasser as a victim of society,” he says. “Egypt is so conservative. It’s not easy for a man and woman to be friends.” But that, he adds, does not absolve men of the responsibility to control themselves and respect women.

Eman Helal, another of Anis’ subjects and a photojournalist in her own right, has done powerful work on sexual harassment in the past. “My work focuses more on the dangers of sexual harassment and how it can end women’s lives,” she says. “Roger’s project shows the oppression Egyptian women face, and how men can interfere with every single detail of women’s personal lives, down to their clothes.”

A documentary by Tinne van Loon and Colette Ghunim called The People’s Girls is also currently in production. But in-depth projects made by women on sexual harassment in Egypt remain scarce. For many female journalists and photographers, the topic simply hits too close to home.

“Some of my male colleagues blame me for caring so much about this subject, as if it’s not normal to pay attention to it,” says Helal. “They assume my interest comes from being a woman who has been harassed. Yes, of course it’s one reason. It’s our right to walk without fear. But they actually don’t think that what happens to us is sexual harassment at all.”

Anis’ work is not only a man’s recognition of the threats women endure, the higher standards to which they are held, and the simple freedoms they are denied, but also a starting point for men in Egypt—and beyond—to see women through a lens of empathy and respect. Karoline Kamel, Anis’ girlfriend, believes the work is especially powerful because it comes from a male perspective and can set an example.

“In a lot of cases, the burden is on women to defend their own rights, and they are accused of being extreme,” she says. “It is more objective to discuss and present the subject from a man who supports women’s rights.”

Kamel, who appears in the project herself, was crucial in helping Anis find other women willing to open up to a male photographer. Many refused to participate, afraid of having their identities publicized. “We are in a society where it’s not appropriate to talk about out dreams and needs in public,” says Kamel. Those who came forward, she adds, were desperate for society to take notice of their suffering, or hoped the project would embolden other women to speak out.

For Anis, Kamel, and Helal, the fight for women’s rights in Egypt continues to be long and hard. But their closets full of dreams have been opened. “I hope that [Anis’] work can help free women from their fears so they can speak about their problems,” says Helal, “but also convince men not to look at us as just bodies, and treat us like we have minds.”

Roger Anis is a photographer based in Cairo, Egypt.

Jen Tse is a photo editor and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter @jentse and Instagram.

TIME society

How to Solve the Gender Wage Gap in International Soccer

The usual go-to explanation of the huge disparities—supply and demand—seems to fall a little short

As I watched the Women’s World Cup final recently with my family, my 11-year-old son, who plays on a local soccer team, remarked that he was amazed at how quickly and how often the U.S. team scored.

“Seriously, Dad, teams don’t just score like that in soccer.”

Of course, he was right. The match set a record for most combined goals scored in a FIFA final for either men or women.

It’s that level of action and excitement that made the game the most-watched soccer event in U.S. history.

The Nielsen overnight rating for the women’s final was 15.2, with more than 25.4 million viewers in the U.S. By comparison, the men’s final last year received a 9.1 Nielsen rating, with 17.3 million viewers. (That US viewers had skin in the game in the women’s final tells only part of the story, but more on that and global viewership later.)

Shortly after the game, however, some took to Twitter to point out a less favorable disparity:

This is a shockingly huge pay gap, and looks even worse when considering that the US men’s team, which lost in the first round last year, earned US$9 million for their efforts.

The usual go-to explanation of such disparities, “it’s all supply and demand,” seems to fall a little short given that the demand (people watching the game) was actually greater for the women’s team than for that of the winning German men’s team, at least in terms of US viewership. But, in fact, this explanation does help in understanding why the gap exists. It also suggests a solution: increase demand.

Where do other sports stand?

The pay gap between the women’s team and men’s team for the FIFA World Cup Finals is significant. The male-female ratio for the payout is 17.5 (men’s pay divided by women’s). That is, men earn $17.50 for every $1 earned by women for winning the championship game. For comparison, see the chart below showing wages and prize money for men versus women for the sports in which men and women have equal or similar representation.

The FIFA ratio is considerably greater than those for the U.S. and British Open golf tournaments, though not quite as large as that of professional basketball – the average NBA player earn 65 times as much as a woman in the WNBA. Tennis, notably, has been awarding men and women equal prize money for years. Wimbledon became the last Grand Slam to do so in 2007.

Where sports revenue comes from

So why are women tennis players paid the same as male players at Wimbledon but not for the FIFA World Cup? The difference comes down to how the sports generate revenue, which does not primarily come from ticket sales, as some believe.

Basketball is a case in point. Walking through the revenue model for an NBA team relative to a WNBA team is revealing. The average NBA team generates 25% to 30% of its total revenue from ticket sales. The lion’s share of revenue comes from local and national broadcast rights. (Here’s a link to the New Jersey Nets’ profit and loss statement – very revealing.)

The current NBA television deal, which provides networks the right to broadcast games during the regular season and gives specific networks rights to broadcast different rounds in the playoffs, is around $930 million, or approximately $31 million per team. Local television deals can add another $25 to $30 million.

The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, reaped $122 million in 2013 selling their local broadcasting rights (and are set to earn much more in coming years), while other marquee teams typically earn $30 million to $40 million.

By contrast, the WNBA in 2012 signed an extension on its national broadcast deal in the amount of $12 million per year (about $1 million per team).

If the local broadcast deal for a WNBA team is similar to its national deal (as is the case with the men), then a women’s team likely generates about $2 million per year in broadcast rights, compared with more than $55 million in the NBA.

The revenue gap makes some sense when considering that the average attendance for a NBA game is 17,000, compared with 7,500 per WNBA game, and that the men play 41 home games a year, compared with 17 for women. In this case, the demand and supply explanation works very well. There is clearly greater demand for NBA games than for WNBA games, and, as a result, revenues are significantly higher, as are the salaries.

Tennis v. soccer

Tennis is a less complex beast. The men and the women (at major tournaments) are playing at the same venue, the broadcasters are purchasing a bundle of programming that includes both men’s and women’s matches, and tickets are priced according to the round in the tournament, the location of the match (marquee matches are played in the premier court relative to the surrounding courts) and the seats within the stadium.

The revenue generated by the tournament is a function of both men and women, so women deserve an equal share. And women have had a terrific advocate in Billie Jean King, who started pushing for equality in tennis nearly four decades ago.

The Women’s World Cup, unfortunately, looks much more like basketball than tennis. FIFA releases annual reports of its financials – income and expenses relating to promoting and running various FIFA events.

Looking back at 2011 (the last time the women played in the World Cup), FIFA reported television revenue of $550 million, of which $537 million was from presales for the 2014 Men’s World Cup. The remaining $13 million in television revenue was generated from the sale of broadcast rights to a variety of FIFA events, including (presumably) the 2011 Women’s World Cup.

If these types of revenue disparities persisted through the 2014 and 2015 Men’s and Women’s World Cups, the television revenues for the 2015 women’s event was a fraction of the $1 billion plus taken in for the 2014 Brazil games. So one could conclude that the payments to the men’s and women’s teams should be proportional to the revenue generated from the individual events.

This might be a good assumption, except that FIFA spends money on events and promotion of soccer throughout the world that have no chance of paying for themselves. And, if we think about an investment or impact, the Women’s World Cup obviously had a nice reach – the final out-drew the men’s final, at least in the U.S.

It is unclear, however, whether the viewership for the Women’s World Cup was larger than that of the men’s outside of the U.S. (FIFA prepares a television audience outreach document after the World Cup; here is the one from 2010).

Americans had good reason to watch their home team compete in the final, and in a similar time zone no less. We can make a few comparisons with the numbers that have been released from other countries.

The television viewership in Canada for the host team’s game against Switzerland in the round of 16 tallied 2.8 million viewers. That compares with 16.7 million in France who watched its men’s team compete against Switzerland in a group stage game in 2014. France’s population is roughly twice that of Canada, yet viewership was more than six times higher.

So perhaps on a global scale, the supply and demand argument works after all. The women were popular in the U.S., but that is only a very small part of the global market (weak market demand will have downward pressure on prices).

FIFA needs to look ahead

FIFA’s reaction to the underpayment controversy was to suggest that the women haven’t earned a bigger paycheck because the women’s tournament has not run as long as the men’s.

That is really a rubbish argument. I have yet to hear a corporate chief financial officer tell a new worker that she or he can’t be paid their value because the job hasn’t been around long enough – if this were true, most chief technology officers would be earning less than the mailroom staff.

Ultimately I believe FIFA is thinking about this all wrong. The organization should be thinking about this as an investment, an avenue to increase participation in women’s soccer across the globe and a mechanism to propel equality between men and women. Consider the impact that FIFA could have if it spent the time and resources promoting the women’s game with the same intensity it uses for the men’s game. Sports is a powerful vehicle for social change.

Although in the past the women’s tournament generated less money for FiFA than the men’s, no business or sports empire can live in the past and expect to be relevant in the future.

Sporting goods companies know this. To continue to survive and make profit, they think ahead and bet their financial futures on promising young athletes who have not proven themselves. And the companies in turn use their power to guarantee (as much as they can guarantee) a return on investment. Under Armour did a deal with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry before he helped them win the NBA Championship.

The same argument goes for women’s soccer. In the 2015 FIFA World Cup, women’s soccer proved itself. It likely won’t be long before their earning power rivals the men as their popularity grows.

It’s easy to make an argument about the social justice of equal pay. But if that’s not enough for FIFA, the group would do well to simply think ahead, pursue its self-interest and follow the age-old mantra: “Don’t be stupid.”

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Education

I Use Star Trek in My Classroom to Have Difficult Conversations About Race and Gender

A scene from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."
Paramount A scene from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

Star Trek has stories and characters that give meaning and purpose to our collective sense of identity and existence

The television series Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969) debuted one year after my immediate family and I relocated from the Harlem district of New York City to an area of South Central Los Angeles in 1965. This was also the year in which that latter metropolis erupted into riots that became known collectively as the Watts Rebellion. The television series became a form of escape from the surroundings of a depressing urban reality and envisioning a more tolerant future.

As it turned out, however, TV was not to be the key to that future. Rather, that entrée would be provided by many subsequent years of formal education that would spark in me an intellectual curiosity about the inner workings of the trek of life—engaging the tangibles of this world as well as the intangibles I imagined to exist beyond the stars.

It was through the arts and humanities that I attempted to grapple with the many intersecting questions I had about things that mattered most to me, such as race, gender and sexuality, as well as technology of the past, present and future.

Fast forward half a century—to where I help my students attempt to make sense of exactly those same relevant, complex questions.

Teaching complex, contemporary issues

After earning a doctoral degree in art history and teaching at the university level for 25 of those intervening years, I have observed a contradiction in the majority of students of this Generation Y: They seem connected and yet very distanced from the overwhelming complexities of the world around them.

The point of connection appears strongest in the area of popular culture. The disconnect, ironically, seems vested in a contemporary (sometimes blind) obsession with technology.

As a historian of art and visual culture by training, I wrestled with how popular culture and technology might be combined in a thought-provoking fashion with difficult and uncomfortable social and personal matters. How might these issues be made important to a student’s contemporary situation, to her or his daily experiences and encounters?

I found part of the answer by traveling back to the 1960s, when difficult social change movements around race (civil rights, black power), gender (the women’s movement) and sexuality (the gay and lesbian movement) were in full swing and paralleled the national obsession with technology, the space race and indulgence in popular culture as a way to both escape and liberate ourselves.

The result of my time travel was the creation of a new course for the 21st century entitled “Roaming the Star Trek Universe: Race, Gender, and Alien Sexualities.” The course explores the Star Trek universe of science fiction television as one way to probe critical issues of race, gender and alternate forms of sexuality. The response to the course offering was overwhelming.

But why would students be interested, and why teach such a course in today’s complex world?

Why does it matter?

Certainly, this is not the first nor last course to be taught on Star Trek. However, what makes it different, or at least unusual, is its open-ended interest in the intersecting dynamics of race, gender and varying forms of sexuality.

As a persuasive tool in imagining the possibilities of the future, Star Trek has the power and pull to immerse the individual completely through stories and characters that give meaning and purpose to our collective sense of identity and existence.

For instance, in the original series episode, called “Let that be your last battlefield” (1969), the conflict between two bi-colored humanoids named Lokai and Bele leads to questions of racial and political friction, assigning racial designations and bringing out the tensions of identity politics.

As with real life, there are no pat solutions but many consequences.

The science fiction genre, as part of popular culture, provides a seductive means of examining the intersections of the concerns of race, gender and sexuality in exciting and daring new ways such as, for instance, using Klingons as metaphors for Muslims and Vulcans for Jews.

The linking of past, present and future through subjects such as slavery, racism, colonization, feminism, reproductive technologies, homosexuality/homophobia, spirituality and religious fundamentalism, just to name a few, stimulates critical reexamination of today’s very real problems.

One way to do this, for example, is to ask probing questions so to get students thinking about ways in which interspecies conflicts among humans, Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, Andorians, Betazoids, Cardassians and Bajorans, to name a few, are portrayed and how they mirror or parallel disagreements between today’s nations, races, genders, religions and classes.

The idea of creating futuristic spaces, places and experiences that are modeled on past and contemporary situations poses questions about the possibility of achieving optimistic futures and the inevitability of being left with pessimistic ones.

Science fiction is about everything

Counter to stereotype, science fiction is not only about the future of technology and science, but encompasses what the writer and educator Thomas Lombardo calls “the future of everything” – the future of society, culture, ethics, the environment, the human mind, races, genders, sex and sexuality.

It is in respect to the complex narratives about thoughts on the future of everything from a variety of perspectives that the Star Trek universe presents a challenge and is overwhelming even when restricted to the intersecting matters of race, gender and sexuality.

Of these three concerns, race is perhaps the most difficult to figure out. There is a constant struggle over what race means, and, in most instances, its definition and significance remain unresolved.

There are a host of characters from the Star Trek universe that speak to the logic and illogic of race, signaling the importance and timeliness of racial matters today.

Characters in the television series who are readily identified by the color of their skin include Uhura, Worf, Geordie Laforge, Guinan, Captain Benjamin Sisko and Tuvok. All of them can teach us something about contrived racial (and gender) categories that also go beyond skin color.

However, in order to think more deeply about race, we also have to look at what the series says about the power of whiteness and its tendency to reinforce racial as well as gender stereotypes.

Captain Kirk of the original series, the Prime Directive, and the United Federation of Planets all come to mind here. Characters such as Mr Spock, B’Elanna Torres, Odo and even Commander Data reference the complexity of ethnicity and racial mixtures disguised as hybrid alien species struggling for identity and a sense of belonging in an extended humanoid and technological universe.

Relevance to our lives today

These issues and the struggles they impose are important because they continue to resonate with us today and have direct bearing on the quality of our lives.

The process of teaching and learning about race, gender and sexuality through science fiction stories and technology in television and film can be challenging and even daunting.

But Star Trek may well be one of the more significant ways (even boldly so) through which to not only teach and learn about the past, the present and the future, but to willfully shape the contours of the latter.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME

Study Finds That Men Who Attack Women Online Are, Literally, Losers

Teenager playing video games
Getty Images

Men who perform badly in games are more likely to harass female users

A new study purports to show what we all could have guessed: Men who attack women online are actual losers.

A pair of researchers examined interactions between players during 163 games of Halo 3 to determine when men were most likely to exhibit sexist, anti-social behavior toward their female peers.

According to the study, which was recently published in the journal PLOS One, men who were worse players than their peers tended to hurl more nastiness at female gamers. On the other hand, men who knew their way around the console were nicer to male and female players.

The researchers say the findings support an “evolutionary argument” that low-status men with low dominance have more to lose and are therefore more hostile to women who threaten their status in the social hierarchy.

“As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank,” researchers write.

The findings also support the growing body of anecdotal and research-based evidence that women face harsh blowback when they enter into and thrive in male-dominated corners of the Internet.

As the Washington Post points out, however, the study does not offer any solutions on how to solve the issue.

TIME celebrities

Emma Thompson Says Acting World Has Become More Sexist

Emma Thompson
Jordan Strauss—Invision/AP Emma Thompson arrives at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 18, 2014, in Los Angeles.

“When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world," she says

Actress Emma Thompson says she’s “not impressed” by the way the acting industry treats women. In fact, she says, sexism in the acting industry has grown more prevalent as she’s gotten older.

“When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world and when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women and I find that very disturbing and sad,” she said in an interview with Radio Times magazine.

The actress, who plays a 77-year-old prostitute in the film The Legend of Barney Thomson, said there’s more pressure for women to look a certain way and take on certain roles than when she started out.

“I don’t think there’s any appreciable improvement and I think that for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young. So, no, I am not impressed at all.”

Read more at Radio Times.

TIME Opinion

Ellen Pao Was One More ‘Difficult’ Female Executive

Ellen Pao
Eric Risberg—AP Ellen Pao, the interim chief of Reddit, has alleged she faced gender discrimination from former employer Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers

She may have not been the right person to lead Reddit. But that doesn’t mean the deck wasn’t stacked from the start

Take a woman in the middle of an intensely polarizing Silicon Valley gender-discrimination lawsuit and put her in charge of cleaning up a tech company known for its mostly male, highly vocal and often controversial user base. What could go wrong?

You could say it’s no surprise that Ellen Pao is stepping down as interim CEO of the message-board site Reddit. Her short and brutal tenure began last fall and slammed into a wall in May when she announced that the site would begin enforcing antiharassment policies that some of the site’s 164 million, mainly anonymous users believe to be antithetical to the community’s free-speech ideals. (Though a for-profit enterprise, Reddit has grown into a powerhouse because it is largely self-governed.)

The company’s decision in early June to ban of five of the site’s notoriously virulent and abusive forums, many of which have been condemned by civil rights watch organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and various women’s groups for glorifying everything from racism to rape, was not Pao’s alone. The site’s executives, board and high-profile investors realize that the company has to modernize, i.e. become more commercial. Doing that means shining light on the darker corners of the site so the socially enriching part can thrive.

But Pao became the face of change. The controversial, “difficult” female face of unwelcome, unholy change. The resulting clash of an anonymous online army and a perceived lady enforcer is worthy of an HBO epic series.

The announcement about the renewed antiharassment rules, designed to protect individuals from attack, came just few months after Pao lost her high-profile suit against venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In the suit — she is currently appealing the ruling against her — she alleged the company retaliated against her for calling executives out on endemic corporate sexism. The firm, in turn, alleged that she was not promoted because she was “difficult” and not a “team player.”

Sure, Kleiner Perkins didn’t come out looking particularly good either, especially when partner John Doerr was quoted as saying that the most successful tech entrepreneurs are “white, male nerds.” But Pao’s reputation took the biggest hit. So when she told Reddit’s users that they were going to have to shut down five threads accused of fat shaming individuals among other nefarious deeds, she might has well have been wielding a flamethrower. Even if Reddit management was united about the rules, it sure looked like mom was coming in to make everyone behave. That did not go over well.

A Change.org petition sprung up in June accusing Pao of ushering in an age of “censorship” and calling her “manipulative.” The document — and the flood of anti-Pao threads on Reddit — argued she had attempted to “sue her way to the top.” Never mind that she has better on-paper credentials than most executives. (She is Princeton-educated engineer with a Harvard law degree and an MBA.) Nor was she the most controversial, or abrasive or difficult boss in an industry known for CEOs that sometimes lack, to put it gently, interpersonal skills.

But the rules are so often different for women at the top. Personality matters and the margin of misinformation is tiny. Be very good at your job. And also, play nice. When Jill Abramson was fired as editor of the New York Times she was described with many of the same adjectives used to vilify Pao at trial. Abramson made a fuss over gender inequities, she was “difficult,” she “challenged the top brass.”

By July 2 when Pao made the mistake of firing a popular female staffer who served as an intermediary with the volunteer moderators, the site’s users were already primed to grab their virtual pitchforks. The petition to get rid of her racked up thousands more signatures and moderators started shutting down pieces of the site and writing editorials in the New York Times. Pao apologized, not just for the abrupt firing, but also for a general lack of communication with volunteer-forum moderators, a problem that even many of her critics admit predated her tenure.

Then on July 10 she announced she would be stepping down and that co-founder Steve Huffman would return as permanent CEO. She is planning to stay on as an adviser, though in an interview with TIME, the company’s chairman Alexis Ohanian did not clearly define what that actually means. However, in his statement board member Sam Altman did acknowledge some of the toxic abuse aimed at Pao saying: “It was sickening to see some of the things Redditors wrote about Ellen. The reduction in compassion that happens when we’re all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is Internet between you.”

Finding a way to curb those baser impulses without crushing the vibrancy and goodness that exists on the 10-year old site will now be Huffman’s challenge. It won’t be easy. In reality, the censorship that some users were so furious about barely nicked at the not-so-subtle undercurrents of hate and misogyny. Sure, the repulsive “creepshots” thread is no more, but “CoonTown,” Reddit’s 10,000-subscriber racist community, rife with the N word is still there. And at a moment when Southern Republicans are calling for the removal of Confederate flags, fighting to preserve those kinds of forums looks as outdated as it does insensitive.

TIME celebrity

Rose McGowan Fired By Agent After Public Hollywood Sexism Comment

Rose McGowan at SiriusXM Studios in New York City on June 23, 2015.
Robin Marchant—Getty Images Rose McGowan at SiriusXM Studios in New York City on June 23, 2015.

"You can't be fired from your own mind"

Rose McGowan didn’t appreciate a recent audition request asking that she wear a revealing outfit— “form fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged).” She took her disgust public,tweeted the news, revealed that the audition was for an Adam Sandler movie, and reiterated and clarified her complaint to EW.

Wednesday night, McGowan tweeted that she had been fired by her “wussy acting agent” due to her comments.

“I’m not trying to vilify Adam Sander,” the actress told EW in her recent interview. “I was offended by the stupidity more than anything. I was offended by the fact that went through so many people’s hands and nobody red flagged it. This is normal to so many people. It was probably even a girl that had to type it up. It’s institutionally okay.”

In that same interview to promote her directorial debut Dawn, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, McGowan spoke openly about her experience as a woman in the industry. She revealed that “when I did my first film, I was told by my agent that I would need to have long hair so men in this town would want to f— me and hire me. That was said to a 17 year old.”

McGowan’s reps did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment. Listen to McGowan talk about the tweets in an interview with EW Live on SiriusXM ch. 105 below.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

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