Sexist hate speech in the European and Italian legal framework

Hate is a longstanding social phenomenon, cleverly crafted to appear natural, yet it is far from being innate. Instead, hatred is normalised and ingrained in society through the use of ordinary language and the attribution of blame and stigma. Throughout history, various forms of hatred have emerged, primarily stemming from two interconnected tendencies. The first trend targets social groups with diverse characteristics, perpetuating prejudice and discrimination. The second tendency manifests as interpersonal hatred, directed towards specific individuals based on their unique attributes.

These manifestations of hate predominantly impact marginalised and structurally vulnerable minorities who face systematic disadvantages in terms of power, resources, and social representation. Women, the LGBTQIA+ community, migrants, individuals of the Muslim or Jewish faith, people with disabilities, and those suffering from certain diseases or addictions are particularly vulnerable to such discrimination. Furthermore, alongside the systemic oppression of historically marginalised groups, there exists a personalised trend of hatred, targeting individuals irrespective of their level of recognition.

This paper seeks to explore the regulatory frameworks surrounding sexist hate speech in European and Italian law. By conducting this analysis, we aim to shed light on the detrimental impact of hate speech on women and girls, hindering their ability to freely express themselves without facing racism, discrimination, misogyny, and xenophobia. Through this examination, we hope to bring forth a fresh perspective on the urgent need for effective measures to combat hate speech and safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals.