Thursday, May 30

The State of Reddit

We’re here today to talk about Reddit, specifically their decision to ban the Gendercritical subreddit from their website.

This subreddit was a forum made up of 65,000 subscribers, the vast majority of whom were women wanting to discuss feminist issues that affected them as women.

Reddit has made this decision as part of a content policy change, which they followed with a strangely titled ‘Remember The Human’ announcement.

This announcement states that they wanted to ‘close the gap between their values and their policies to explicitly address hate’, and came up with two new Rules for the site.

Rule 1 states that anyone who promotes hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned

Rule 2 states that community rules should be abided by, and that users should post with an authentic, personal interest.

Along with Gendercritical, they also banned the right wing subreddit The_Donald, and the liberal Chapo Trap House, along with many others.

Reddit’s take down of Gendercritical seems extremely spurious at best, given that the subreddit hadn’t breached either of the rules mentioned by Reddit in their announcement.

The subreddit had never promoted ‘hate based on identity or vulnerability’, but merely questioned the gender ideology movement.

Its community had always abided by the rules of the site and users always posted with an authentic, personal interest, there’s no question of that.

Reddit has decided that a group of feminist women discussing issues that affect them directly are somehow in the same boat as some of the most extreme political subreddits that existed. Why?

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said “I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company’s values around common human decency.”

Which, as a statement, is a good aim and should make a ton of sense.

Except for Reddit, it doesn’t.

Huffman’s and Reddit’s values around common human decency do not seem to extend very far.

Subreddits that are still operating freely include some of the most horrific examples of misogyny and abuse towards women on the entire internet, which is really saying something.

There are hundreds of subreddits that are devoted to misogyny, abuse, objectifying women and even promoting paedophilia and incest.

There are so many subreddits devoted to hatred towards women that we can categorise them into several different groups, which in itself is quite shocking.

There are those blatantly anti-feminist and anti-women subreddits such as the male-only space Ask The Red Pill, Dogbrains, Pussypassdenied, Pro-Male Collective, Entitled Bitch, Feminazi, and others, all dedicated to putting women down and demeaning feminism, with insults, images of violence, homophobia and misogyny at their very core, with hundreds of thousands of members.

Shocking stuff, but even more so when you consider than Gendercritical as a subreddit was not engaging in anything even remotely similar, and had some of the highest standards of moderation on the site.

Then there’s the porn problem. Reddit has a number of truly appalling subreddits with the sole purpose of demeaning and degrading women. This isn’t conjecture, it explicitly says so on the site.

Some subreddits indulge in rape fantasy, with truly shocking stories featuring the sexual abuse and even murder of women being posted on a daily basis.

And although the site claims that these are fantasies and not promoting real rape, it’s clear that these subreddits are skirting along the boundaries, and in some cases promoting videos of actual sexual assault.

There are subreddits set up specifically to fetishise women having dissociative episodes during porn shoots, episodes that are heavily linked to trauma and PTSD, all used for amusement and gratification by reddit’s subscribers.

There are subreddits devoted to incest and paedophilia too, including many with teenage girls – over the age of 18 as far as we know – dressed as little girls, complete with pigtails, school uniforms and teddy bears, as well as a huge amount of links to porn videos purporting to show incest.

Although these are common themes and wider issues within pornography, the fact that Reddit is home to some of the largest collections of links to these videos is truly shocking.

Finally there is the subreddit Raceplay, a forum where white supremacy is mixed alongside hardcore pornography with some of the most racist language on site is tolerated, allowed and seemingly encouraged.

For all the talk of supporting the black lives matter cause from Reddit, they don’t seem to be taking too much action.

And I think that hypocrisy is the overall problem here.

For steve Huffman and Reddit to want us to ‘remember the human’ is a noble aim, but they fall so short of doing that themselves that it makes a mockery of the entire announcement.

The levels of brutality, abuse, degradation and dehumanisation of women, especially black women, on the site are massive, and a huge problem. By allowing this content and removing discussion from the site, Reddit have pretty much shown where their priorities lie.

Remember the human, unless that human is female.

Women have no female-only spaces on the site now, even the ironically named two x chromosomes states that trans women are women, despite not actually having two x chromosomes.

Not just that, but despite their rule of ‘keeping it civil’, they explicitly tell feminists to ‘eff right off’.

Remember the human is a good slogan, but if that’s all seems to be, a slogan, and if it doesn’t lead to any real change to misogyny and abuse on the website, it’s pretty meaningless.

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