Thousands of sweaty-palmed nerds are super psyched that their favorite place to creep on underage girls has returned. Reddit, the popular message board owned by Advance Publications, Conde Nast's parent company, has decided to revive its forum devoted to aggregating pictures of "jailbait."
The controversial Jailbait section (NSFW) features sexualized picture of girls as young as 13—many taken from their social networking profiles—and a ban on tattoos because "generally, girls have to be of the age of consent to get a tattoo." Last month it was shut down, not due the fact that it's gross and exploitative but because of problems with "out of control" moderators.
The timing of the resurrection of Reddit's most notorious subsection is suspicious, given that they were spun out of media giant Conde Nast earlier this month. (It's still owned by Conde's parent company, Advance Publications. But it's no longer part of the magazine division.) Were they free to get dirty again now that they didn't have to worry about besmirching the reputation of Conde's fancy magazines like The New Yorker and Vogue?
No, Martin said, "the two are completely unrelated." In fact, Conde Nast was totally chill with Jailbait, despite an increasing amount of media coverage of it and other stomach-churning subsections dedicated to dead babies and beating women. Martin said Reddit never received a complaint from their Conde Nast overlords. (Maybe they just weren't paying attention? We've heard the old media fuddy duddies barely understood their newfangled internet property.)
But why even have a section catering to pedophiles in the first place? Martin has defended Jailbait as "the price of free speech on a site like this." Sorry, 13-year-old girl whose bikini pics were taken from your vacation album on Facebook and slapped up in front of Jailbait's 20,000 pedophillic subscribers: That's just the price you have to pay for free speech on Reddit! (Martin says moderators remove a picture if the subject complains. That's the kind of consideration that would make Stickydrama's Christopher Stone heart melt into a sticky puddle.)
The free speech argument is bullshit. Reddit, though it allows plenty of risque content, is not a free-for-all. The site bans the posting of personal information, for example. And, in a bizarre twist of logic, it requires users to be over 18 to view any NSFW sections, like, uh, Jailbait. Why not require the subjects of NSFW sections to be of-age as well?
Free speech on Reddit didn't create Jailbait. Many users on the overwhelmingly-male Reddit have an ugly attitude towards women—-visible most in its thriving "Men's Rights" section. Mobs frequently gang up on female posters, like when they recently ripped on a young woman who was sexually assaulted and posted photographic evidence, claiming she'd faked the whole thing with elaborate makeup. The fact that moderators and administrators rationalize the systematic, non-consensual exploitation of young girls in Jailbait as "free speech" shows just how deeply ingrained in Reddit's culture is this misogyny.