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Wednesday, March 30 • 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Hardly a Laughing Matter: Could Sexist Humor Amount to Dangerous Speech?

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We wish to explore the link between sexist humor online and the concept of "dangerous speech", as expounded by Susan Benesch, particularly in different contexts around the world. The moderator will start off by having a conversation regarding the emergence of online sexist humor in Pakistan - from restaurant owners defending overtly sexist marketing strategies online and Pakistani Men's Rights Activists calling themselves "meninists" and berating women unapologetically, to a widespread display of homophobia (and misogyny) by Pakistani celebrities after the same-sex marriage verdict. We will then move on to the co-organizers discussing their experiences within their own countries and contexts. We will then discuss the idea of inflammatory speech driving people to harm one another and how sexist speech could potentially be a part of this. Later on, we will discuss solutions and limitations as to how such speech can be countered, while acknowledging that what works in one context may not work in another. This will include a discussion on whether or not to engage with 'trolls' by using counter-speech, how to react to such 'free speech' we otherwise wouldn't hear, the advantage of such speech being called out by other social media users, and more importantly, examples of such speech being effectively countered by feminists in an effort to reclaim public/online spaces.
We will then divide participants into groups and ask them to do the same exercise among themselves, and then each group will present their discussion, with examples, and the solutions that came from it.
Outcomes: It is important for us to understand how such speech can be countered and called out; we wish to discuss and devise creative solutions and also discuss limitations to countering sexist speech online. It is also important for us to discuss the importance of online movements and action in the context of feminism, particularly how to counter the backlash they receive. We wish to engage more activists and build an international network so that we can rely on more community-driven solutions for this widespread problem. 

avatar for Asad Baig

Asad Baig

Executive Director, Media Matters for Democracy
A broadcast journalist by training and an information technologist by education. My work focuses on advocacy around freedom of expression and religious expression, media, and media safety. I have a keen interest in ICT and technology for journalism and development. | | MMfD in Pakistan works on advocacy around freedom of expression online and offline, developing ICT technologies for media and journalism, and campaigning around gender... Read More →

Furhan Hussain

Bytes for All

avatar for Chinmayi Arun

Chinmayi Arun

Executive Director, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi

Susan Benesch

Director of the Dangerous Speech Project & Faculty Associate, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
avatar for Mallory Knodel

Mallory Knodel

Association for Progressive Communications
avatar for Japleen Pasricha

Japleen Pasricha

Founder- Director, FeminismInIndia.com
avatar for Mariana Valente

Mariana Valente

Director, InternetLab

Wednesday March 30, 2016 2:30pm - 3:45pm
The Fishbowl

Attendees (39)