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The reduction and dehumanisation of women have come to validate practices that threaten our autonomous expression of personhood through the violent control and subjection of women’s bodies. Women find their life stories hijacked by sexist narratives that forcefully promote ideas of who women should be rather than who we are. Similarly, surveillance uses such hegemonic norms and narratives to design multiple separations of people into normal/abnormal, good/evil, etc., hence legitimising control and power over people's lives and bodies. Meanwhile, in the attempted segmentation, people face violence for defaulting against set standards, thus facing disciplinary action, which currently includes online gender-based violence (OGBV).
OGBV, i.e. violence facilitated through technology by one or more people harming others based on their sexual or gender identity, includes stalking, bullying, sexual harassment, defamation, hate speech, or other online controlling behaviour. Here, women are bullied and targeted for embodying identities especially deemed as non-conforming to normative gender ideals, embracing their visibility or simply existing within the space.
Surveillance takes away power from people by reducing and demarcating them into "useful" and "intelligible" categories that seek to subjugate and rearrange people into a political practice. It confirms the entitlement to women’s lives and bodies as everyone’s business and property. This entitlement helps us understand that the harassment women face online echoes patriarchal enforcement of submission and punishment, one that operates within disciplinary domains of oppression.
Continue reading at GenderIT.org.