Trigger warning for descriptions of rape and sexual assault.
As many of us may have realized, Reddit (or at least certain parts of it) has become pretty much a breeding ground for misogynistic and alarmingly self-entitled convictions. Just in recent news, the website hosted a thread for the cyber-voyeurism known as creepshots, where Reddit men snap and share photos of unsuspecting women in public, and redditor Ken Hoinsky thought it was a good idea to publicly advertise his conflation of “sexual assault” with “dating advice” by launching a Kickstarter to support his Guide to Getting Awesome with Women.
Reddit has a thing for eschewing consent in the name of male pleasure with barf-worthy methods that often make Internet headlines, but somehow, knowing that Reddit is frequently at the forefront of online sexism hasn’t prepared me for one user’s shameless confessions of rape.
Reddit user “meatbowling” posted about an alleged hookup he had with a woman who didn’t want to have sex with him to a thread called TheRedPill, a place where men’s rights activists often gather to strategize shutting up feminists “with a proper cockin.” His story entails bringing a woman home to later find out that she changed her mind about sleeping with him. According to meatbowling, the woman wanted him to “try harder” to make something happen. Instead of asking her to clarify what she meant, meatbowling writes that he decided to “rape her instead.”
He goes on to explain that, because the woman began to participate “as soon as [he] had [his] dick inside her,” it wasn’t a big deal–and certainly wasn’t rape. But he doesn’t seem entirely convinced of this assertion; in the same paragraph, meatbowling writes with some self-doubt that he “fucked her again in the morning when she was sober, just to make sure she didn’t regret anything,” as if for some kind of reassurance.
The post ends with meatbowling’s attempted definitions of “real” and “fake” resistance in women, implying that, when it comes down to it, a man has the last word in deciding whether or not a woman wants sex. He concludes,
If I just met her in a nightclub, we made out and she went home with me, then that’s enough consent for me, no matter what she says in my bedroom.
Fortunately, this disturbing confession did send out a red flag for some redditors. User braveathee set out to investigate the Reddit rapist and discovered that meatbowling lives in Denmark and has a history of talking about rape online. Braveathee also saved the entire thread, part of which can be viewed below:
With this information, braveathee started a thread with a quote from meatbowling’s story–”I didn’t know what that meant, so I just raped her”–and quickly gained the attention of fellow reddit detectives.
After pinpointing a more exact location in Denmark, these redditors asked for help from the Danish Reddit to get in touch with the local police. Braveathee has e-mailed the Danish police district, which is the last bit of reported information on this developing story. Meatbowling’s account and comments have been deleted.
Of course, although it is an endless database of news and information, the Internet is also plethora of lies and exaggerations, and I’m sure there will be some people out there who might want to pass this off as someone simply having too much fun with their relative anonymity.
But regardless of whether meatbowling’s story is actually true, the mindset he captures is very real and prevalent–and Reddit itself has shown us just how poorly men seem to understand rape or consent. It may be unsurprising that this isn’t the first time Reddit’s highlighted a rapist’s point-of-view on rape. Last year, the site opened a thread asking for “the other side of the story” to explore the motivations behind seuxal assault. Here’s a taste of what that mess looked like:
She ran to my bed and didn’t want me to touch her. I didn’t understand what had happened. This hypersexual person who had offered to give me head suddenly didn’t want to touch me.
The submissions were filled with stories similar to meatbowling’s in terms of entitlement and clear indications that women really just aren’t seen as people with their own wants, needs, fears, boundaries, and voices, but rather they are things to be made victim to male horniness. It’s as if a man’s hormones hold more validity than a woman–in her entirety, as a person–and the supposedly overwhelming confusion of a woman not wanting to have sex when a man does is something that these men can only respond to by making it happen anyway, not by talking to her or asking her about it; they don’t care for her explanation because ‘no’ simply isn’t an option.
Sometimes Reddit is scary and sometimes it’s innocuous, but I think that taking Reddit misogyny seriously is the only way to gain something productive and helpful out of posts like these. Assailants are actively exposing themselves to the whole Internet through outlets like Reddit, and we need to pay attention. There are men who are convinced that what they are doing isn’t rape and/or that rape isn’t a crime so much as a tool for disempowering women–and that it’s a totally okay thing to implement if it supports your own vicious agenda. And these men are posting on Reddit.
Meatbowling framed his post as a story he told to his friend, someone who immediately identified the scenario as rape. The rest of the story sounds like it was an attempt to provide an argument as to why he shouldn’t have to be made to feel guilty about something that he has shown to understand was rape. By calling it rape, and by telling us that he had sex with her when she was no longer drunk as if that retroactively counts as consent, he is on some level aware that what he did was messed up. He posted it to the internet for support and validation, possibly to clear his conscience, and it would seem that this is a method of letting the abuse inflicted by Reddit misogynists slide: finding reinforcement and support online.
It didn’t work out for so hot for meatbowling, but Hoinsky’s rape-y Kickstarter raised more than $16,000 before it was shut down, and creepshots are still being exchanged on various platforms unscathed. Assailants look to the Internet to justify their assault. When no one responds to their crimes accordingly–or worse, when they’re defended and supported–they are made to feel that what they’re doing isn’t wrong, which is why we need to make sure that we’re proactive about Reddit and general internet misogyny. Society turns a blind eye to abuse too often, but there is no excuse to do so when the abusers are confessing their own crimes.
Written by Marinda Valenti
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