As “activists,” Men’s Rights Activists seem to be good at only two things: harassing people, and flooding comment sections of websites with their endlessly repeated half-dozen talking points. On Reddit, for example, the local MRAs have been quite the little imperialists, invading a number of gender-related subreddits (like r/equality and r/egalitarian) and turning them essentially into r/mensrights-lite, which has effectively meant killing them. (The recently started r/masculism – an attempt to do Men’s Rights on Reddit without all the misogyny – doesn’t have a chance.)
Well, now the MRA invaders on Reddit seem to have set their sights on a much bigger target: the TwoXChromosomes subreddit. Yep, they’re trying to turn Reddit’s central hangout for the ladies into a boys club.
2XC– an explicitly female-oriented forum on a site (Reddit) heavily dominated by dudes — has always been a strange place. Though I am myself, obviously, a dude, I used to read it fairly regularly, finding it a welcome respite from all the “sammich” jokes and other idiot misogyny so pervasive elsewhere on Reddit. At the time, 2XC had a (completely unwarranted) reputation amongst the Reddit crowd as an evil place full of feminazi man-haters.
Then something started happening to 2XC. That thing was dudes. And not just any dudes – MRA dudes. Regulars on r/mensrights started linking to threads in 2XC and invading en masse, downvoting anything vaguely feminist and spewing forth their standard litanies of complaint. Some of these invaders decided to stay. And so, these sporadic raiding parties turned into a sort of occupation.
No, 2XC – despite the growing number of MRA residents, including a few female MRAs – has not turned into another r/mensrights. But at times, especially when the discussion turns to some MRA pet issue, the place looks a lot like dude central.
Case in point: this 2XC thread, expertly dissected by NauticalLittleNet in ShitRedditSays. The story: a woman posts a picture of her Halloween costume on Reddit and is bugged by a rude, creepy comment referring to her breasts (something that happens approximately ten zillion times a day on Reddit). So she posts the pic again to 2XC, hoping for sympathy. Instead, she’s treated to a barrage of comments mocking her for her alleged “persecution complex.” As NauticalLittleNet shows, the overwhelming majority of the obnoxious comments (all of which garnered numerous upvotes) were from dudes, many of them MRAs.
Naturally, this sort of thing – which happens pretty regularly on 2XC – has totally changed the dynamic of the subreddit from something that was sort of a haven for Reddit women to just another subreddit overflowing with obnoxious dudery.
As a Redditor called emmster noted recently in r/feminist, some women in 2XC have basically stopped posting anything vaguely feminist for fear of being jumped on by argumentative dudes:
I’ll be getting downvoted to Hell in the comments, but get PMs that are supportive from women who feel too afraid of the judgment and vitriol to jump in. I don’t love knowing there are women afraid to voice their opinions in a space that’s for women.
Honestly, I think the sustained r/MensRights invasion is what’s taking the largest toll. It’s like they can’t stand the idea that women have a space that’s active and popular, and they have to come ruin it.
And it doesn’t help that, as Donna_Juanita noted in the same discussion, some of the 2XC mods have essentially bent over backwards to accommodate the MRA invaders and to clamp down on feminists allegedly causing “drama.”
In ShitRedditSays, emmster offers a broader take on what’s happened to 2XC
Since young men are a majority on the site as a whole, and a pretty hefty number of them haven’t had the “There Are Places I Am Not Necessarily Welcome to Pontificate on My Opinion” realization, the space becomes less of a place for women, and more of a place to talk about women. Which is a pretty big distinction. And a tricky thing to keep from happening without raising the ire of the entitled, ignorant young dude contingent.
As a reddit friend of mine put it, it all started with the “Hey Ladies, What Do You Think of My Dick?” posts. When a bunch of guys started posting questions, trying to “understand women,” which of course is a flawed goal, because women, being people, have a variety of opinions and preferences, and cannot actually be understood as a group. Some of them were actually questioning preferences on penis size, hence the name of the phenomenon.
My hypothesis is that eventually, it will be nothing but men talking to men about what they think about women.
Not that there is a shortage of such spaces on Reddit, or in the world in general.
By the way, that picture above is not actually a picture of 2XC regulars. It’s a picture of the Huutajat Men’s Shouting Choir. Which is a real thing in the world. Here they are in action: