Mapping the Relationship Between Reddit, Women, and Anime

The following post will be a short outline of my independent research.

Research Aims

In short, I will be focusing on the Reddit community’s relationship and attitudes with and toward women. That is, how they represent, treat and refer to women. As Reddit hosted more than 486,000 sub-boards and had more than 135 million unique visitors in the month of August alone, the research will be narrowed to Reddit’s anime fan community and several boards related to it, in particular r/anime (Redditmetrics 2014; Reddit 2014). The research will be conducted through the process of autoethnography, as this methodology will allow me to consider my personal experience throughout the research. This will be discussed in the next post.

Rationale

Jane argues that the true extent of the treatment of women online has never been explored academically, due to the sheer vulgarity of their experience (2014). She terms this treatment as ‘e-bile’, wherein women are often threatened with sexual violence in expletive laden comments.

Screenshot taken from http://fatuglyorslutty.com/category/death-threats/ on 18/9/14. For further examples, please see fatuglyorslutty.com.

Screenshot taken from http://fatuglyorslutty.com/category/death-threats/ on 18/9/14. For further examples, please see fatuglyorslutty.com.

Taylor typified video games and MMORPGs as accepted masculine spaces (2003). It would be justifiable to extend this to certain spaces online. Reddit, for example, has a primarily white male demographic, and has been described as not strictly pro-men, but just anti-women (Zuckerman 2012). The idea of a masculine space could also be extended to the anime genre. It is often criticised for developing female characters that are weak and subordinate to their male counterparts – the damsels in distress waiting for their hero (Izawa 2000; Cross 2014).

Reddit provides a particularly unique site for this type of discourse. As a community that lacks authoritative control in the form of site creators or site regulations, there are little avenues to pursue accountability. Users are encouraged to be anonymous, and other anonymous members of the community validate their opinions. When a female user is threatened with sexual violence, Reddit allows her to stand alone against not only the original poster, but also every user who up votes their opinion.

The anime community coupled with Reddit ties the idea of free discourse and masculine space together to create a particular provocative environment for observing the way women are treated by the Reddit community.

Reference List

Cross, K 2014, ‘Sexist Static: How a lust for crude misogyny is hobbling an important artform’, Feministing, 24 April, viewed 18/9/14, <http://feministing.com/2014/04/24/sexist-static-how-a-lust-for-crude-misogyny-is-hobbling-an-important-artform/&gt;

Izawa, E 2000, ‘Gender and Gender Relations in Manga and Anime’, MIT, viewed 18/9/14, <http://www.mit.edu/~rei/manga-gender.html&gt;

Jane, E A 2014, ”Back to the kitchen, cunt’: speaking the unspeakable about online misogyny’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 558 – 570

Reddit 2014, ‘About’, viewed 18/9/14, <http://www.reddit.com/about/&gt;

Redditmetrics 2014, ‘New subreddits by date (How Reddit grew over time)’, viewed 18/9/14, <http://redditmetrics.com/history&gt;

Taylor, T L 2003, ‘Multiple Please: Women and Online Gaming’, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 21 – 46

Zuckerman, E 2012, ‘Why is Reddit So Anti-Women?: An Epic Reddit Thread Counts The Ways’, The Wire, 26 July, viewed 18/9/14, <http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2012/07/why-reddit-so-anti-women-epic-reddit-thread-counts-ways/55080/&gt;

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2 comments

  1. I’m super keen to see what you find out through your experience of this as a female participating in the community. It would interesting if you could tie in some gender theory somewhere and perhaps explain the history of anime’s focus on weak female characters and whether it reflects the cultural values the particular anime hails from. Really great choice of topic 🙂

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  2. Very interesting! Oh boy, I’ve read some shocking comments on Reddit in the past – the anonymous nature of the sight certainly helps to facilitate the bravery experienced by some of the community. Look up a show called Love Stage, it’s interesting in this context since it’s a show which incorporates the tropes anime usually relies on to ‘objectify’ women, instead it’s men being objectified (in a serious, but then also self mocking fashion) and seeing how this may perhaps be seen as a challenge to the stereotypes.

    Additionally, this might be useful for you: http://flomu.net/blog/2013/12/tumblrsucks/

    It says to look past the ‘objectification’ saying that you’ll find social commentary, stating that:
    “There is a deeper hidden meaning there for everyone, especially young women, and that is to not be ashamed of yourself or who you are, but to instead use the gifts that you have been given to become a better and stronger person, to use them to make your mark on society, to use them to change the world”

    Like

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