Female athletes are subjected to three times the online abuse directed at their male counterparts, a new report has revealed.
The majority of that abuse was either sexist, of a sexual nature, or derogatory to women’s sport in general.
Plan International Australia has released the results of a study which analysed comments left on Facebook post from major broadcasters such as the ABC, 10 Sport, Fox Sports, and Channel 7.
According to the study, more than 26 per cent of the commentary directed at female athletes was negative.
Just 8.5 per cent of remarks about their male counterparts were negative in comparison.
Further worsening the nature of abuse female athletes receive compared to male athletes was the decidedly sexist nature of it.
Nearly a quarter of the comments female athletes got were sexist, while a further 20 per cent were seen as belittling women and women’s sport.
Many of the rest of the comments were sexualised or victim blaming athletes.
Examples of sexist commentary included comments such as “Get women back to being bare foot and pregnant!!!” and “Women should be in the kitchen.”
Disturbing sexual commentary was also a problem revealed by the Plan International Australia study.
Horrifying comments such as “She took it good little b****,” and “Wouldn’t mind getting her in the end zone.”
Other posts victim blamed athletes who spoke out about the treatment they received, as well as other women involved in sporting scandals involving male players.
“Stop being professional victims,” and “She knew exactly what she was doing. Plain and simple. Now she must deal with the backlash,” were examples given in the study.
Athletes speaking out
The controversy surrounding the disgusting treatment of Tayla Harris made headlines around the world.
The New York Post’s website featured the story on its home page, with the headline ‘The story behind the sports photo that has rocked an entire country’.
The story was also featured by the Irish Times and the Evening Standard in the UK.
“This isn’t about these athletes not being able to handle criticism. It is not about the right to voice opinions about the game,” wrote Kasey Symons in the Irish Times.
“These comments are not criticism. They are not about the game. They are misogynist, targeted attacks that strip the power from these athletes who put their bodies on the line to play the game they love.
“Their bodies are then reduced to abhorrent and unmoderated comments of people whose power is elevated when they cause change in this way.”