Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Down in the Comments

Scientists and others posting videos to sites like YouTube get all sorts of comments, but women who post videos get fewer comments about what they are talking about and more about their appearances, the New York Times reports.

Researchers from Australian National University examined why there are more male than female creators of science-themed content on YouTube. As they report in Public Understanding of Science, the researchers found that of the 391 most popular science YouTube channels, only 32 had female hosts. They sifted through 23,005 comments left on 450 videos and sorted them by whether they were general discussion, positive, critical or negative, about the hosts' appearances, or sexual or sexist comments.

"I was quite disappointed by the time I'd gone through them," author Inoaka Amarasekara tells the Times. "I could see why people would not want to be on YouTube."

While female hosts tended to get more likes, subscribers, and comments, Amarasekara and her colleague found that they were also subject to more critical comments, 14 percent, as compared to 6 percent of male hosts' comments. In addition, almost 3 percent of comments on women's videos were sexual or sexist, as compared to a quarter percent of comments on men's videos, the Times notes.

YouTube tells the Times that its doesn't "tolerate hateful or abusive comments and remove them when flagged" and that people who upload videos are given tools to moderate comments