Sign up FAST! Login

Low status men are more likely to bully women online.

Stashed in: Women, Teh Internets, Awesome, Sexism, Psychology!, Bullies, Sociology

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Well-designed experiment using Halo and recorded male vs female voices. Bold evolutionary-psych conclusion, always touchy when gender is involved... but at least it's not some version of the ultra-lame "those boys just don't have social skills, ignore them and they'll give up".

This is not intuitive to me:

Bullying tends to remain a viable evolutionary strategy when hierarchies exist because it allows individuals to increase their status thereby preventing others from rising above them.

See, I would have come to the opposite conclusion that eventually bullied people would destroy the people who bullied them, thereby removing any perceived increase in social status.

Not if the bullies can destroy their victims first :(

Well this finding should give bullied people more reason to want to survive long enough for turnabout.

Why do you think online bullies are always urging their victims to kill themselves?

Because the bullies know if the victims survive, the victims will come back more powerful than them. 

Women receive up to 10 times more negative comments than men in online chatrooms and three times the negativity when playing online games.

Some have argued this is because women are entering male-dominated spaces that are full of misogynists.

But in a study that we just published, we show that the cause could be something much simpler: the negative and sexist comments expressed by some men are really just a form of bullying, motivated by the fact that they are perceived as being lower in the pecking order.

We now better understand the factors that affect bullying. Bullying is more common in the presence of strong hierarchies and victims tend to be less powerful and lower in the social order.


The hostile aspects of gaming culture could thus be explained as the search for, and maintenance of, status. One way to ensure that a man doesn’t lose to a woman is to keep women from competing by making them feel unwanted in that environment.

Perhaps this perspective may also help explain the misogyny we see when women enter some male-dominated fields. The aggression may come from lower status men that are trying to keep women out by employing sexist bullying in order to ensure they don’t lose status in the presence of their male colleagues.

Perhaps a solution is what is shown to work in the bullying literature: minimizing the existence of a hierarchy by ensuring equality.

The crying need of the hour is safety, dignity and respect for women

Yes but this article if true explains why people bully: To increase their status in a hierarchy.

Which means the way to minimize bullying is to minimize hierarchy through policies that make people more equal.

Nice idea, Panda, but hierarchical social status is a pretty reliable basic for our species :(

What is truly fascinating about this article is that the researchers straight-up equated social status with IN-GAME SKILL and nothing else. It had not a single thing to do with how good-looking, smart, kind, popular, or rich the participants were. Therefore it was entirely within the grasp of every player to improve their social standing simply by becoming better at the game! And yet an apparently significant amount of them chose to use their energy beating down others instead.

This explains so much about the Internets...

It really does explain a lot about the Internets. 

Hopefully having this context can help us cope with the meanness out there. 

You May Also Like: