Restricting Access to Information Online Won’t Keep Teens Safe. It Will Only Erode Democratic Rights

Well-meaning legislative proposals to protect young people undermine a key factor in teens’ development: independence. Proposed legislation at the federal and state levels increasingly mandates parental monitoring of all kids, including even older teenagers, which undermines teenagers’ independence—something that healthcare experts say is critical for young people’s development and mental health and parents want too.

Providing teenagers with tools to protect themselves, along with options to get parental help when needed, can go much further in creating a safe environment online.

Not Helpless, Not Silenced: What to Do if You Are Experiencing or Witnessing Online Abuse

Online abuse can feel like an enormous, insurmountable problem, but we are not helpless, and we refuse to be silent. Together we can fight back to make the internet safer, more equitable and more free.

Here’s what to do if you are facing online abuse; if you are witnessing online abuse; if you manage people who face online abuse; or you want to push the tech industry to do better.

Rape Threats, Misogynist Slurs, Sexual Harassment and Doxing: How Online Abuse Is Used to Intimidate, Discredit and Silence

Eighty-five percent of women globally have witnessed online harassment and nearly 40 percent have experienced it directly.

Online abuse is made to feel targeted, personal, individual and organic—when in fact it’s often systemic, strategic and coordinated. Online abuse is one part of a broader spectrum of attacks—digital, physical, legal and psychological—intended to push women and nonbinary individuals offline, out of public discourse and out of their fields of expertise. Regardless of where they live and what they do, the goal is universal: to stop them from doing their jobs and shut them up.

(This article originally appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

We Have to Stop Calling it ‘Revenge Porn’

Susanna Gibson’s losing bid for the Virginia House of Delegates has largely retreated from headlines, as newly elected legislators are sworn in at statehouses around the country. What most people will likely remember about her candidacy, if they remember it at all, is that Gibson was involved in a “sex tape” scandal. The reality is that Gibson was a victim of what is colloquially (and inaccurately) referred to as “revenge porn”—a term that is negatively influencing how this destructive criminal behavior against women is perceived and punished by society.

The term “revenge porn” gives the mistaken impression that the crime should be defined based on whether the perpetrator intended harm. No matter what a perpetrator’s reason for distributing the images, the person depicted is profoundly harmed by their release.

Israel-Gaza War: Threats and Attacks Against Women Journalists Covering the Conflict

Since the start of the Israel-Gaza War, a chilling tally of 40 journalists have been confirmed dead, with others either missing, detained or grievously injured. The Coalition For Women In Journalism is closely monitoring the situation on the frontlines and documenting violations against women journalists covering the conflict.

In the face of the growing threats and attacks against women journalists covering the war, it is imperative that we unite and take a stand for press freedom.

(This essay is part of the “Feminist Journalism is Essential to Democracy” project—Ms. magazine’s latest installment of Women & Democracy, presented in partnership with the International Women’s Media Foundation.)

‘Babies Are Good. More Babies Are Better’: Pro-Natalism Takes Center Stage in Austin

On Dec. 1, 2023, the Natal Conference will be held in Austin, Texas. Promising to gather the “brightest minds in the world,” the conference is aimed at turning around the world’s “shrinking population,” which represents “the greatest population bust in human history.” The meeting will solidify links between the far right and right-wing influencers. Fiercely anti-feminist speakers will join them.

“It’s not surprising to see far-right folks, eugenicist types and white nationalists joining forces at a conference like this,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project on Hate and Extremism. “They have become bedfellows.’”

Progressive Voices Come Together for Iran: ‘A Powerful Condemnation of the Subjugation of Women’

In observance of the one-year anniversary of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement, Voices of Women for Change—a nonprofit women’s organization based in the U.S.—created a digital event to highlight the significance of this transformative movement in Iran and to emphasize the centrality of women’s roles (and resistance) since the inception of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979.

Billboards Throughout South and Midwest Advertise Abortion Access: ‘Pregnant? You Still Have a Choice’

For years, anti-abortion groups have dominated the American landscape with billboards. Now abortion rights supporters are battling back with their own.

Shout Your Abortion recently posted six abortion rights billboards along interstate 55 through five states that have banned abortion—from Memphis, Tenn., to Carbondale, Ill. The billboards include messages like, “God’s Plan Includes Abortion” and “Abortion is Okay: You Know What’s Best for You.” 

Abortion Snitching Is Already Sending People to Jail

Last month, Celeste Burgess was sentenced to 90 days in prison because she took abortion pills when she was 17 years old. The story of Celeste and her mother—who helped her get the pills and will be sentenced in September—went national.

This case was seen as a harbinger of intimate privacy violations to come. But this case also exemplifies a disturbing phenomenon in the genesis of abortion prosecutions: friends and community members reporting on each other.