Honestly, the decision has been a giant pushback from a situation that I know made me feel powerless.
As a longtime member of FDS, seeing the subtle and overt misogyny on Reddit was disheartening. Over time, I started to feel hopeless. I always knew in my heart we as women deserved better, but the misogyny was normalized. The depraved subreddits, comments, and swarms of downvotes should not have even happened in a civilized society. In retrospect, Reddit seemed to subconsciously say it was "bad" or "wrong" to be a woman on the internet (unless you regurgitated "egalitarian" rhetoric, underwent extensive plastic surgery to achieve a literal Barbie look, or always gave a man the benefit of the doubt on a relationship sub).
This was underlined when literal hateful subs took forever to be banned (I refuse to name any, but they glorified/sexualized violence/manipulation toward women), but FDS was targeted as if Reddit was the Southern Poverty Law Center and FDS was some underground supremacy group. Other female-dominated subs (whether you agreed with them or not) were banned, as women expressing an opinion. The bottom line of Reddit was always, "woman posting about thing risking her safety = bad, man posting negatively about something that doesn't turn him on = good."
The podcast hosts verbalized something I couldn't articulate before: the marketing of Reddit to women, the presence of "wholesome" subs like r/aww, and even some YouTube personalities using it as an easy platform feels so condescending. I never liked Snoo. Seeing a "cutesy" mascot for a site as evil as Pornhub subconsciously gave me massive cognitive dissonance. Yes, there were a few gems of subreddits like FDS, but the women didn't seem able to have their spaces without heavy moderation. And yes, the podcast hosts *should* be paid. This is an incredible labor of love. The podcast hosts encountered so much hatred and myriad death threats I was fortunate to never receive (turned off PMs as soon as someone advised me to).
On the topic of reclaiming power, following FDS was extremely liberating. My life was always my own, not some merchandise I was waiting for some man, any man, to accept. The dating world became a dystopian environment when I noticed women's widespread accounts of meeting (and feeling pressured to accept) pornsick men who didn't actually like them romantically or sexually. Society at large (media, including female public figures, peers) shames women who have concerns about porn. It tries to convince us being a masturbation sleeve in a loveless, unstimulating relationship with a manchild is the highest calling, balancing the madonna-whore complex (eyeroll).
It is very empowering to refuse to date men below my league. I enjoy being treated with humanity and chivalry by men (acquaintances, strangers) in real life. I enjoy being kind in return with appropriate boundaries. No, not all men will be kind. Yet not all men will be cruel. Real life is indeed about the nuances. We will all meet good men somewhere, or encounter kindness, even if the person is not necessarily a dating candidate. We need this humanity. As HVW, we should never stoop to the level of our haters and treat ourselves and others with dignity.
Staying off Reddit helps me focus on the positive. I feel like I can speak freely in a female-only space without the knowledge some angry male extremists will report an innocent post for "hate" or self-harm. I am on a website filled with women empowering each other to achieve freedom. We're living our lives for ourselves, not other people.
To continue this topic of reclaiming our power, how are you doing it in your everyday life (in or outside FDS principles)?