It’s nice to see corporations put their money where their mouth is, or to put their actions where their words are and in the wake of the civil unrest of the last month, many organizations seem to be making changes, both substantial and symbolic, or in the case of NASCAR banning the Confederate Flag, both.
One of the items that caught my eye was Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian stepping down from the board of his company and asking that a person of color replace him to better represent the diversity in America, and the diversity of Reddit.
For those unfamiliar with Reddit, which bills itself as “The Front Page of the Internet,” it is essentially a giant bulletin board-like forum where you can find just about any topic that interests you and participate in discussion on that topic, or simply look at pictures and videos other people post. From politics to pets, there really is something for everybody there.
I’ve not been a big “Redditor” over the years. I participated last year in the room (these individual rooms are called subreddits) that dealt with betrayal trauma for porn addicts’ partners and exercised my creative muscle in a room for roasting people, but after a few weeks with both, they seemed to fall by the wayside. Like a lot of online technology that was new to me, I just couldn’t find the long-term value with integrating it into my life. That said, I know hundreds of millions of people do enjoy the site and it does have a tremendous amount to offer, from mental health resources to help planning road trips.
With Ohanian’s bold statement (which I still wonder how much was taking advantage of the opportunity for a positive PR spin from somebody planning to leave the board anyway) Reddit has reportedly taken a serious hardline stance against racism among its users. While the site, depending on who is a moderator of a subreddit has long been criticized for randomly, arbitrarily and often hypocritically enforcing its own rules, it seems to be clamping down on racism. As a privately-owned business that is free to run things however they wish, they’ve decided that racism will not be tolerated. They are not covered by free speech in The Constitution and I respect and appreciate that fact.
I also appreciate the fact that despite having millions of users, some of whom are probably extremely questionable human beings, the site tries to make sure there aren’t things like prostitution, sex trafficking or other nefarious crimes taking place under the surface that have plagued sites like Craigslist.
However, the site does seem to not have a problem with one of society’s major ills: Pornography. There are dozens upon dozens of rooms devoted to the spread of online pornography. When I frequented the betrayal trauma room for partners of porn addicts, most lamented the irony of while they were getting support they needed from the Reddit community, it was also Reddit that was giving their partner the very pornography fix that was driving them apart.
Enjoy naked celebrities? Reddit has got you covered. There’s your typical naked celebrity page (686,000 members), but if you’re into specifics, you can find pages geared just toward female celebrity genitals (208,000), their nipples (107,000) or movies where celebrities performed an actual sex act (225,000). Prefer the younger girls? There’s “Barely Legal Teens” with 218,000 members, “Barely Legal” with 133,000 and “GoneWild18” with 427,000.
Other subreddits have such classy names as “Hold the Moan,” “Happy Embarrassed Girls,” “Incest Porn,” “Sex in Front of Others” and “Bottomless Vixens.”
And don’t worry about Reddit being racist when it comes to porn. You can enjoy, “Black Boobs,” “Ebony Nude Selfies,” “Latin Sex Girl” or “Jew Sluts” among its many other specific offerings like “Amputee Porn” and “Grandma Porn.”
I didn’t mention the membership numbers of those room because it doesn’t actually matter. You needn’t be a member to view any of it, so it’s probably safe to surmise that exponentially more people are viewing than the numbers I listed above.
One of the worst parts about the vast majority of the porn on Reddit is that with the exception of clicking a button that says you’re 18 years old, there is no security, firewall or other way to prove that its viewers are actual adults. For kids who are all over the subreddits about anime, video games or Korean pop music, it’s a couple clicks until they can see hardcore pornography, all courtesy of this “socially responsible” website.
I’m not going to take a deep dive into overall website figures because I won’t be able to break them down by room or demographic, and I don’t know if that would prove anything more.
I don’t expect Reddit to change its policy anytime soon. They know sex sells and they know as long as they keep quiet, the millions who are in their pornography rooms daily will also keep their mouths shut. Sex sells and like every other website out there, Reddit makes a lot of money on advertising. Gotta keep those eyeballs on the page, right?
I simply wanted to highlight the fact that while some sites out there are unabashedly promoting pornography, there are others that feature a ton of it (like YouTube) without calling attention to itself, and if you think kids don’t know this, you don’t remember what it’s like being a kid.