Reddit Is an Insane Breeding Ground for Misogyny
So who’s familiar with Reddit? While it’s assumed that most of you will be, Reddit is a social media platform of sorts where members (or Redditors) can create a community (or subreddit) around a subject of their interest. The community can then vote on which subreddits are most interesting.
But with all this freedom to create subreddits, how is it regulated? The answer is not very well; subreddits are moderated by community members, however there is little to no intervention from administrators with regards to what is acceptable.
As such, over the years Reddit has been no stranger to bullying, sexualized images of children and the publishing of private information about individuals, and it was from these ongoing issues that the very short list of rules that does exist was brought into operation.
Gender inequality remains one of the scourges against our society, preventing further economic growth and the sharing of potentially revolutionary ideas. The perceived anonymity afforded by social media – the “behind the screen” courage – leads to far more vitriolic, unbridled and aggressively harmful expressions of this misogyny and sexism. On Reddit, we see this most clearly as entire communities or subreddits existing solely to proliferate hateful beliefs.
As such, Reddit has become a haven and recruiting ground for men to share and indulge in exchanges of misogynistic ideas, and the subreddits which host these harmful exchanges are routinely voted high enough to claim top position on Reddit’s “All” page.
Growing Misogyny as Subreddits
Since it was a huge topic in the news recently, we’ll start with /r/incels. While active, this subreddit boasted over 40,000 users every week, and frequently compared women to Nazis and the concept of an “incel” to a Jew.
An incel has been coined as a term to denote involuntary celibacy, i.e. men who can’t find women to have sex with them. This subreddit, then, frequently asserted that rape is “just sex;” and that “reverse rape” belongs in the #MeToo movement. Members of this community frequently espoused ideas akin to those associated with the “Red Pill” philosophy.
Based around a reference from The Matrix, this concept claims that men who understand the modern power imbalance which supposedly favors women over men have successfully swallowed the “red pill,” or the controversial but theoretically correct way of thinking.
The subreddit became so intensely violent that it even spawned a watchdog community, /r/inceltears, which exists solely to document and identify incel extremism. Besides the recent attack in Toronto, this philosophy was also said to have inspired the Santa Barbara shooter, Elliot Rodger, who said “One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system,” he wrote. “Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU.”
While /r/incels has since been banned, there remains a plethora of other similar communities on Reddit which exist purely to breed resentment towards women. Other subreddits associated with The Manosphere include:
/r/mensrights – classic MRAs;
/r/TheRedPill – focused on nonconsensual sexual activity;
/r/jailbait – posts sexualized images of extremely young women;
/r/fatpeoplehate – encourages the shaming and mockery of larger women;
/r/creepshots – promotes the nonconsensual photographing of women;
/r/TheFappening – the editing of porn videos to feature well-known female celebrities.
The main attraction of such communities on social media is blatantly apparent: some men feel held back by the women’s movement. Women are portrayed on this social media platform as the responsible group for many of men’s problems, including sex and money – or lack thereof. It is “taught” within these cluster cults that women essentially use feminism to play the victim and to extort economic gain.
Nowadays, the majority of Redditors overall are young men, which only further exacerbates the issue.
Professor Mary Anne Franks, professor of law who has studied gender and violence, as well as online abuse says, “These men get angry at the women that they see as depriving them of something they are entitled to,” and specifically referenced George Sodini, a man who shot three women dead in 2009 because of his “loneliness.” With the increasingly clear impact of social media on mental illness and violence, it is clear that radicalization on social media needs to be stopped in its tracks whenever possible.
Given that misogyny remains an issue in larger society, it is understandable that a social media platform like Reddit would proliferate misogyny. What’s more telling is Reddit’s lack of true regulation and enforcement of acceptable content. It only goes to show that we still have a long way to go before ending violence and abuse against women is prioritized the way it should be.
Article by Kate Harveston, Journalist and Freelance Writer
Blog: Only Slightly Biased
Linkedin: Kate Harveston
Facebook: Only Slightly Biased
Google Plus: Kate Harveston