EQUALITY – This is a damning report for the representation of women on the Internet coming out this Thursday, August 26. The Fondation des Femmes, in partnership with Sciences Po, studied the 200 most viewed videos in France – in this case on YouTube – between 2019 and 2020, to observe the roles attributed to women in this content.

Most (74%) are music videos, the rest are animation programs (8%), humorous content (2%), tutorials (3.5%), video game-related content or entertainment . Among these 200 videos, nearly 70% (68.2%) would present stereotypical content, an increase of 10% compared to 2019. The authors of the report did not wish to disclose the name of the videos in question “so as not to not target this or that artist, but to denounce a global problem of society ”, explains one of the managers of the Women’s Foundation.

“This is the confirmation of a disturbing photograph of our study made at the CSA at the end of my mandate in 2018. We started the same study again and we find the same situation worse, worsened in 2020”, summarizes Sylvie Pierre- Brossolette, member of the Women’s Foundation who initiated and coordinated the drafting of the report.

Of these 200 contents, 15.2% contain comments with a sexual connotation, 96% uttered by men. The “sexualized” characters, present in 20% of the videos, are all women. Several videos feature “street harassment and non-consent”, alert the authors who observe “a reversal of responsibilities, by making the protagonist who refuses the advances guilty”.

The most spectacular figure of the report, the increase of nearly 20 points in two years of content “degrading for women” which goes from 15.5% in 2018 to 34.7% in 2020, an increase of 44%. More precisely, the authors note “a demeaning image of women”, in “aesthetic or inactive secondary” roles and of “globally objectified” women. An increase which is also explained by the evolution of the criteria chosen to count these representations.

In addition, a quarter of the videos analyzed contain content deemed “violent” by the rapporteurs who note that no warning is given beforehand.

Successive confinements have worsened the condition of women in France and around the world. This finding is also visible online with an increase of 13 points in stereotypical content between 2019 and 2020 (62%, against 75%), ten points more over the same period for sexist content and 7 points for content presenting a degrading image of women.

“We should try to regulate the image of women in the digital world with regard to the most degrading images,” concludes Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette. Among the suggested solutions: changing the audiovisual law of 1986 to “bring into the regulatory field of the CSA the image of women on the Internet” and in particular “sexist words and images showing degrading treatment because of the sex or gender identity ”.

The report also recommends agreements signed between the audiovisual policeman and the Gafam, such as a charter of good conduct, and also relies on the self-regulation of platforms through more extensive moderation mechanisms.

The report finally proposes equal conditionality which consists in “conditioning public or private funding by a commitment that there are no videos that would contain degrading sequences for women”, specifies the former boss of the THAT’S IT. This would include negotiations with the National Music Center and the National Cinema Center. To those who would cry censorship, the author replies: “We do it well for the protection of minors against pornography or for hate online. It’s a matter of political choice ”.

“We want to draw the attention of the public authorities to the fact that the reports are seriously unbalanced”, explains Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette. The report will be widely disseminated among politicians and institutions, starting with Emmanuel Macron and his Secretary of State for Equality between Women and Men, Élisabeth Moreno.

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