This story is still in development. We will update it as information becomes available.
Radical feminist subreddit r/GenderCritical was banned on Monday afternoon from Reddit. At the time of the ban, the subreddit included nearly 65,000 members, and was the largest and most active radical feminist subreddit on the site. The ban was part of a massive sweep of sudden censorship on the site, which included banning 2,000 subreddits, also including r/the_donald and r/ChapoTrapHouse.
Other banned feminist subreddits included r/BanFemaleHateSubs, a subreddit dedicated to fighting misogyny on the platform, r/JoanneRowling, a JKR fan subreddit. Many related subreddits, like r/PinkPillFeminism and r/TrollGC have been forced to go private to ride out the storm. A complete list of the state of feminist subreddits is available here (or archived as of July 2 here).
Reddit admins announced changes to their content policy at the same time that the subs were banned, giving moderators no time to re-align their content to fit the new standards. The new rules state that:
"Communities and users that incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned."
Reddit clarifies that "identity or vulnerability" is specifically defined as, "Marginalized or vulnerable groups include, but are not limited to, groups based on their actual and perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability. These include victims of a major violent event and their families."
The list, notably, does not include sex, despite the fact that women and girls are among the most vulnerable people across the globe.
Reddit also states that, "While the rule on hate protects such groups, it does not protect all groups or all forms of identity. For example, the rule does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate."
The GenderCritical subreddit focused on pointing out the harms of gender ideology to women and girls—a marginalized group. Popular tags on the subreddit included "misogyny", "female erasure", "sexual violence/exploitation", "censorship", and "need support/advice". The sub had more than 27,000 daily active users, and a list of resources and organizations that women could access to learn more or get involved in the movement.
Recent top posts on the subreddit in the days prior its banning included commentary on the misogyny faced by Harry Potter author JK Rowling after she spoke out against trans activism, discussions of male sexual harassment in the workplace, and complaints against male athletes competing in women's sports.
Despite claims that r/GenderCritical promoted hate against transgender people, the sub was heavily moderated and had explicit rules stating, "Don't Use Dehumanizing Language or Promote Bigotry or Violence". Reddit providing no warning to the moderators of the sub, nor did they inform the subreddit moderators of which content was considered "hateful". Archives of the subreddit home page can be viewed on archive.org.
On Monday, r/GenderCritical subreddit Moderators stated on Twitter:
"The subreddit's history shows that the moderators always complied with the Reddit admins, and that the standards of moderation were consistently excellent. Reddit admins never communicated with us that they had a problem with our community or our moderation."
Moderators pointed out the irony of banning a feminist subreddit centered on female erasure while allowing subreddits focused on the promotion of violence against women, including pornography, to remain.
The subreddit r/GCGuys, a gender critical sub aimed at men rather than women which includes similar content, was not banned. Likewise, the male counterpart to r/BanFemaleHateSubs, r/BanMaleHateSubs, was allowed to remain.
The censorship of feminists on Reddit is part of a larger pattern of centralized, proprietary software silencing women and engaging in unethical censorship. Other platforms which have silenced feminist dissent include Twitter, Medium, Wordpress, Google, Change.org, and, recently, CrowdJustice.
Women are fighting back against the censorship, using the hastag #RedditHatesWomen on Twitter to express their disapproval of the Big Tech censorship.
Feminists are joining other platforms, like Spinster.xyz and Saidit, in the meantime to discuss next steps, get the word out about the banning, and organize to create their own platform owned by and form women.
The Mods of the former r/GenderCritical are in the process of building a new reddit-style website using Open Source Software that will be controlled by them.
Stay tuned for updates on the new site!
Update: as of July 2, r/BanFemaleHateSubs has been reinstated.