The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Misogyny then violence
Anti-feminists prone to right-wing extremism, study finds
MEN with anti-feminist views are prone to becoming rightwing extremists, a new study has found.
Research at Swinburne University found that YouTube was a breeding ground for bringing people with antifeminist views together with right-wing extremists.
The study also argues that federal and state government policies do not address antifeminism as a gateway to extremist violence.
Associate Professor Christine Agius (pictured) said the study found YouTube, more than other sites such as Twitter, helped facilitate links between men with anti-feminist and extreme right-wing points of view.
“YouTube is a fertile ground for bringing these viewpoints together,” she told The Sunday Mail.
“On Twitter there was a lot of pushback against anti-feminist views. On YouTube these communities were crossing over with each other.”
The study found radicalised online communities fulfil an emotional need for men, and anti-feminism/misogyny can lead to far-right extremism and extremist violence.
“We found on YouTube a whole lot of material linking the two,” Prof Agius said.
“We are trying to emphasise a link between anti-feminism and the far right.”
This year there has been a surge of ideologically driven violence in Victoria, including a neo-Nazi invasion at Halls Gap and an alleged assault on a media building security guard by the leader of the National Socialist Network.
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation directorgeneral of security Mike Burgess last month revealed that ideological extremists make up 40 per cent of the domestic spy agency’s terrorism caseload.
He said COVID-19 had reinforced extremist beliefs on social and racial divisions.
“So-called rightwing extremism has been in ASIO’s sights for many years,” Mr Burgess said during his annual threat assessment on March 17. “Ideological extremism investigations have grown from around onethird of our priority counterterrorism caseload, to around 40 per cent. “This reflects a growing i nternational trend.
“The face of the threat is also evolving, and this poses challenges.
“People often think we’re talking about skinheads with swastika tattoos and jackboots … today’s ideological extremist is more likely to be motivated by a social or economic grievance than national socialism.
“More often than not, they are young, well-educated, articulate and middle-class – and not easily identified.
“The average age of these investigative subjects is 25, and I’m particularly concerned by the number of 15 and 16-yearolds being radicalised. They are overwhelmingly male.”