Section: 1.0 About this project

About this project

Who we are and what we do

Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office (the Office) is an independent Crown entity responsible for classifying material which may need to be restricted or banned. This can include films, books, video games and online content. We conduct research and produce evidence-based resources to promote media literacy and enable New Zealanders to make informed choices about what they watch.

In April 2020, following the March 15 terrorist attacks, we established a specialist Countering Violent Extremism team with a focus on research, education, outreach, and classification of extremist content. Through this team we engage with New Zealand and overseas government agencies, academics and experts at the forefront of countering violent extremism, to share insights and identify solutions.

The Office can restrict or ban content that promotes crime, terrorism or violence.

When determining a classification, we also need to consider whether content degrades, dehumanises or demeans any person, or represents particular groups as inherently inferior, including women and girls. These grounds are considered in association with other criteria. When publications are banned or restricted, it’s because they include other elements such as violence, horror, crime, sex, or cruelty.

It’s important to note that the Office cannot restrict or ban content solely on the basis of expressing opinions or attitudes that are hateful, discriminatory or offensive.

We can’t restrict or ban a publication just because it contains misogynistic themes or content; however, these are often present when other classification criteria result in a ban.

The term ‘misogyny’ and how it’s used in this report

In this online resource, misogyny refers to hatred, contempt, dislike or distrust for women and girls based on their gender, and a belief that women and girls are inherently inferior to men and boys.

Misogyny can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Violence, abuse, harassment of women and girls (or support for this).
  • Prejudice, discrimination, subjugation or hostility towards women and girls.
  • Systemic oppression that enforces or reinforces gender inequality.
  • Targeting women and girls who are perceived as transgressing gender norms or expectations.

One or more of these elements can be present in publications classified by the Office.

Our focus in this project was on understanding the intersections between online misogyny and violent extremism.

In this online resource, ‘online misogyny’ means any manifestation of misogyny that occurs online including on social media platforms, messaging apps, or other digital platforms.

The aim of this research is NOT to investigate casual or everyday sexism; such topics are only addressed in so far as they contribute to a deeper understanding of how they may lead to or enable extreme misogynistic content, attitudes and behaviours.

The term ‘women and girls’

In line with international practice, we use the term ‘women and girls’ in an inclusive manner. It refers to women and girls in all their diversity, including but not limited to faith, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Therefore, the term encompasses women and girls across a spectrum of backgrounds, identities and lived experiences.