Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reddit Has a Sexism Problem

I really love Reddit.  It is a great way to learn new things, look at cute puppy pictures and chat with interesting people from all over the world.  I love finding new subreddits and joining new communities.  However, I have noticed that Reddit has a real sexism problem.  There are, in fact, a few subreddits created just to address the problem of MRAs hijacking feminist pages.  One of the biggest problems feminists seem to be talking about is how r/feminism is trolled by MRAs who downvote feminist content into oblivion while upvoting their own sexist crap onto the main page.  This is very frustrating when you go to a link to see comments and all of the top comments are full of hateful vitriol. Also frustrating is the simple fact that r/feminism has 19,000 supporters while r/mensrights has 67,000.  That just depresses me so much I almost don't ever want to return to Reddit.

It has gotten so bad that I generally avoid anything related to feminism on the whole website and just stick to news stories, puppy pics, knitting and other innocuous subreddits for my own mental health.  Of course, even then I still see a lot of sexism.  Which led me to an experiment.  I've posted lots of comments on Reddit and as long as they aren't overtly feminist they usually stand and even get a few upvotes.  Anything that clearly identifies me as a feminist has gotten downvoted until it disappeared from the page.  So just for kicks, I posted something kind of anti-feminist.  Not too overtly or offensively, just suggested that if a man hits a woman who hit him first, he isn't totally in the wrong.  I'm not sure I believe that, I just posted it to see what would happen.  To date, it has been my most highly upvoted comment yet.  What gives?

So, I assert, Reddit has a sexism problem.  It isn't as bad as 4chan or some of these other male dominated troll spaces, but it is still pretty bad and I think it needs to be addressed.  I've written before about using the internet as a space for feminist liberation and I still believe the internet has that potential.  And I haven't given up on Reddit because I still think there is hope.  I still believe that there are some people who don't want it to be an anti-woman, anti-feminist space.

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