With the British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues created the World Wide Web, inequality prevailing in our society is inevitably embedded in the characteristics that constitute it. Study whether the development of the Internet is affected by structural inequality to a certain extent, especially the inequality related to gender and race discussions. This question is very thought-provoking. Today’s media, from traditional to online, continues to have a significant impact on our perceptions and beliefs about the position of women and people of different races in society. Unfortunately, the media tends to reinforce gender and racial inequity, as we have observed thus far. Although many of the hippy countercultural features of the “new communism” movement are no longer relevant, notions like male-dominated culture and brotherly culture can still be used to demonstrate the continuity of Internet cultures (Lusioli & Turner, 2021). Racism and sexism are the top Google search results. Women are significantly less likely than men to be featured in the media. Gender stereotypes will be strengthened and perpetuated as a result of this gender-imbalanced social picture on the internet.
The early structural biases of the InternetThere are a few notions that can be used to demonstrate the early Internet culture’s continuity. The first is Google’s early “brother culture,” which was nurtured and grown. In a 2016 TUC study, 52 percent of women said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment during work (Benstead, 2018). This is a depressing remark regarding the “brother culture” in today’s workplace (Benstead, 2018). Furthermore, the majority of employees are white, and the majority of them are middle-class or above (Lusioli & Turner, 2021, p. 237). This male-dominated culture still exists today (Benstead, 2018). Mostly due to a dearth of females in the profession.
Algorithmic sexism and racial
One of the features of the Internet that contributes to social inequality is the so-called neutral algorithm, which is widely used on the Internet and confirms the racial and gender exclusion trend. Search engines play an important role in controlling and collecting the information we obtain (Noble, 2018). The reason is that Google is the dominant search engine, so its name is now commonly used as a verb. Almost everyone with access to the Internet uses a search engine, and most of us use Google. People believe that search engines are objective fact-checking institutions that are neutral and dependable. Part of the reason for this is because, in the early days of the Internet, the predecessor to search engines was a virtual library, where specialists organized items so that they could be found quickly. Many people consider that Google is unbiased, just like a library. But Google is not unbiased. It is a massive commercial enterprise with profit as its driving force. Google’s ranking system persuades users that the top websites are the most popular, reliable, and trustworthy websites. In actuality, they may be owned by those who are most prepared to pay, or by those who use search engine optimization to effectively manipulate the system.
“Gender Menu on Google+” by tengrrl is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Example of Search Engines Reinforce racial and gender discrimination
A friend of Noble’s recommended that she Google “black girls” ten years ago (Noble, 2018). However, she discovered that all of the top-ranked results go to pornographic websites (Noble, 2018). In 2011, she had assumed that her exposure to black feminist writings and online books would alter the type of Google search results she received, but this was not the case (Noble, 2018). Google’s top-ranked information regarding “black females” is that they are consumer commodities that individuals buy to satisfy their sexual desires. People’s prejudice against black girls, as well as their labeling as pornographers. As a result, personal search history and interest bias have no bearing on the search results returned by Google. Who was it that pushed racist and sexist attitudes about black women to the top of the search results? These searches represent Google’s algorithmic conceptualization of various people’s ideas.
When Google informed of a problem with Noble, they usually respond that it is either a computer issue or an anomaly outside their control (Noble, 2018). This only adds to the misconception that the algorithm is unbiased. Algorithms are, after all, developed by people, which is why paying attention to search engines is so crucial to us. We all have biases and prejudices, and we incorporate these biases and prejudices into the algorithms we develop. Because Google is saturated with these sex racial discrimination results, it can have serious effects.
Female representation on internet
Female representatives are significantly less likely than male representatives to appear in the media. In the media and entertainment industries, women of color are underrepresented in key leadership roles (Beard, Dunn, Huang & Alexis, 2020). Although the number of women working in the media has been increasing globally, men continue to dominate jobs such as producers, executives, editors, and publishers (White, 2009). According to research, at the time of filming, nearly three-quarters (74%) of the key actors and staff roles were men, and one-quarter (26%) were women (White, 2009). This means that women hold less than one-fifth of the critical positions.
Media content and portrayal of men and women in the media
The roles of director, photographer, and composer of film music are thought to be dominated by men. Cinematography, with its stacks of photographic equipment, has long been considered a manly profession. The need for accurate, fair, and honest gender representation in the media should be a professional and ethical desire, akin to the desire for accuracy, fairness, and honesty (White, 2009). Unbalanced gender depictions, on the other hand, are prevalent. Women are more likely than men to be labeled as victims and will be recognized based on their family status (Gallagher, 2010). Women are significantly less likely than men to feature in international news headlines, and they are also far less likely to be recognized as “spokespersons” or “experts.” Other groups of women, such as the impoverished, the elderly, and women from ethnic minorities, are much less likely to be mentioned in the news.
Stereotypes are also prevalent in popular culture. Women are frequently shown as family careers, housewives, and objects who are completely reliant on males. This representation has the potential to influence society’s expectations of men and women, as well as their own. They offer an uneven perspective on women’s and men’s roles in society. Reports by female reporters are more likely than reports by male reporters to challenge stereotypes (Gallagher, 2010).
Clearly, the Internet we see today has too many structural inequities ingrained in it, such as gender and race inequity, and these inequalities have worsened discriminatory practices against marginalized groups, such as women and people of color. Male-dominant society and brother culture, for example, continue to have an influence on today’s Internet. The Google search engine’s biased algorithm has an impact on our perceptions of ourselves, our gender, and our race. The trend of commercialization and sexualization of female identity and image, for example, while searching for black women, the Google engine automatically recommends sex-related information. Furthermore, the fact that women are less likely than men to appear in the media reinforces and perpetuates detrimental gender stereotypes. As a result of these factors, the sense of structural inequalities in society, such as the imbalance of women and different races, has grown.
Beard, L., Dunn, J., Huang, J., & Krivkovich, A. (2020). Shattering the glass screen. Gender Equity in Media and Entertainment, McKinsey. Retrieved from: https://www. mckinsey. com/industries/technology-media-and-telecommunications/our-insights/shattering-the-glass-screen).
Benstead, s. 2018. ‘Bro culture’ and why it’s an issue for startups. Retrieved from: https://www.breathehr.com/en-gb/blog/topic/company-culture/bro-culture-and-why-its-an-issue-for-startups
Gallagher, M. et al., 2010, ‘Who Makes the News? Global Media Monitoring Project 2010′, World Association for Christian Communication, London and Toronto
Lusioli, A. & Turner, F. (2021). “It’s an Ongoing Bromance”: Counterculture and Cyberculture in Silicon Valley—An Interview with Fred Turner. Journal of Management Inquiry 30(2), pp. 235-242.
Noble, Safiya U. (2018) A society, searching. In Algorithms of Oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. pp. 15-63. New York: New York University
Quick, M. (2018). The data that reveals the film industry’s ‘woman problem’.
Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20180508-the-data-that-reveals-the-film-industrys-woman-problem
White, A. (Ed.). (2009). Getting the balance right: gender equality in journalism.