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Are young people comfortable calling out misogynistic behaviour?

03rd - 10th March 2023

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

Sometimes we ask our young people to do things we ourselves struggle with. We expect them to fix the social ills in a manner that we have not been able to. We expect them to be able to stand up to the injustices that we ourselves have let permeate society.

One such heritage is the prevalence of misogyny. You can’t move for influencers whose views are either bordering or are outright misogynistic. Men’s rights groups, Andrew Tate, Incels and the wider manosphere are gaining traction with young men and boys.

Which may be easy to ignore. They are at a distance, online, remote. Don’t engage and give them air.

But what about when it is in your face? Not the spitting at women in Tube carriages and extreme level of threat some women experience, but when it infests the attitudes and language of the everyday. What do we expect of our children then?

Following the rise in misogyny online and amongst young people, this week's VoteTopic took a closer look at some examples of misogynistic behaviour in action and the potential barriers to calling out friends or peers in these situations.

young girl in thinking pose.

Age 5-11

"It can be very difficult to set boundaries sometimes as people might get offended. It takes time to make others learn what you are comfortable with."

teenage boy looking serious

Age 11-16

"If your friends are being misogynistic people feel that they will hurt their
friendships if they say about it so they don’t however if they are doing
that are they really your friends?”

teenage girl with arms folded

Age 16+

"It can be difficult to call out misogynistic behavior as it can be very uncomfortable and at times dangerous - however, there should be more activism and more calling out of this behavior. It needs to be addressed early on, in schools and as children. Women's Rights are Human Rights!"

52% of those age 5-11 said they found it difficult to set their boundaries.

  • Our youngest voters were considering how easy it is to set their boundaries, particularly with others.
  • Over half voted 'No', with the comments suggesting that they don't want to offend anyone and that setting them with others makes them feel rude.
  • Within the 'Yes' voter comments, some said that we know ourselves better than anyone and should be able to recognise what our boundaries are and communicate them to others.
62% of voters aged 11-16 said they feel uncomfortable calling out misogynistic behaviour.

  • Over 60% of 11-16-year-olds said they did not feel comfortable calling out misogynistic behaviour.
  • Of the 38% who voted 'Yes', many commented that social media has made it easier to call people out without fear of physical or aggressive backlash.
Context featured regularly in the voter comments, with many saying it depended on who they were calling out and how safe they felt.

  • Most of the comments we received referenced context in some form.
  • Interestingly, voters did not agree on what context would make it easier to call out misogyny.
  • For example, some said it would be easier to call out a stranger as they cared less about a stranger's opinion and wouldn't want to lose a friendship by calling out a friend.
  • On the other hand, some voters thought calling out friends and family would be easier as it is safer than calling out a stranger who might respond aggressively.
61% of our 16+ voters agreed that calling out misogynistic behaviour is uncomfortable for young people.

  • Our College and 16+ voters answered the same question: "Are young people comfortable calling out misogynistic behaviour?"
  • With only a 1% difference to the 11-16 vote, 61% voted 'No'.
  • The comments were similar to those we received from 11-16-year-olds.
misogyny results banner

Feedback from our Impact Partners

This week we had two responses to what the children have said. They have come from Barnardo's and Family Lives who were both keen on sharing their views on this important topic.

Bethan Kelly, National Programme Development Manager for Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation from Barnardos and Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive of Family Lives provided a response to what the children said.

Click below to hear what they said.