The internet is often hailed as a place where marginalized communities can have a platform and circumvent traditional media gatekeepers to make their voices heard. But according to author Caitlin Moran, the web also has a more insidious side, and with President-elect Donald Trump’s political rise, it may have just reared its ugly head.
Moran, the author of the new book Moranifesto, stopped by The Huffington Post Tuesday to discuss how the internet may have helped fuel the loud, populist politics that drove Britain’s exit from the European Union and the election of Trump.
One of the biggest problems with the current state of the internet, Moran noted, is that its gatekeepers don’t reflect the diversity of its users. Instead, the dominance of young men on the web resembles “California during the Gold Rush.”
“If you look at the structure of the way that it is, like 92 percent of coders are male. So this is a male environment,” she told HuffPost’s Alex Berg. “It’s mainly young. There aren’t any tribal elders on there who can go, ‘We’ve seen this before. Calm down.’ It’s a very hostile place for women and people from the LGBT community and people of color.”
This problematic issue is compounded by the fact that internet harassment is rarely treated as “real” harassment. Internet abuse is often dismissed, despite the fact that the web impacts almost every aspect of our lives and plays a very real role in everything from entertainment to politics today.
“Its a place that dictates the way that we talk and deal with our problems and it has absolutely, logically, clearly resulted in this world where we’re now gaming politics,” Moran said. “It’s just about shouting. This is the era of the troll. This is troll politics. Brexit. Trump.”
Today, the online phenomenon Moran discussed has very real-world implications. Hate crimes spiked after the Brexit vote, a pattern that also emerged in the U.S. after Trump won the presidential election.
“This dream world we’ve got on the internet, we’ve now ported this over into real life,” Moran said.
Hear more from Caitlin Moran in the video above and check out her full interview here.