August 3rd /u/AnimemesMod made an enormous post on /r/Animememes updating “rule 5”.
Hello, r/Animemes. There’s some big news today about how we’re working to make this subreddit more inclusive, and a better space for everyone.
Rule 5 was previously vague, as many users have different thresholds as to what they consider “sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic content.” We want to work on solving this. Today, we’re introducing a new guideline about appropriate content on the subreddit.
We’re now banning the term “trap.” This ban applies to the word as it is used to describe feminine characters/individuals, not the word in the general sense. We are aware that the term “trap” is a controversial term to disallow, but this decision was not made without justification. Don’t panic, though – your memes are going to remain all but the same, and nobody is coming to take away your cute boys.
The post goes on for many more paragraphs, if you would like to see the rest, I will include it after showing some of the responses from the /r/Animemes community.
Also know they put a “lite censor” on the post itself;
One of the “top responses” is actually it’s own separate thread that mocks the moderator’s decision, which as you can see by the awards, was very very received by redditors.
More responses from the “main thread”;
As you can imagine, there are plenty more responses, I won’t showcase them all.
The thread can be found here.
As mentioned earlier, here is the rest of the moderation post enacting the “update”.
Why is this word offensive?
The word “trap” when used to describe individuals has been controversial since its inception, and even more so in recent years. Broadly speaking, most communities readily consider the term to be a slur. The offensive nature of the word lies in the implication that individuals are trying to trick (“trap”) others and by extension are not valid in how they present their gender. The use and misuse of the term in reference to both characters and people often results in the erasure of trans people and dismissal of their validity.
I wasn’t using it offensively, I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and I didn’t do anything wrong.
It’s true that you didn’t intend to hurt anyone. In the vast majority of cases, the word was not intended to be hurtful, and you might’ve even used it as a term of endearment. We are not blaming you for this, you are not the bad guy. It’s entirely possible to spend a lot of time in this community and not hear much of how the word is hurtful.
However, even we didn’t intend to be hurtful, the fact of the matter is simple: our tolerance for the word was making this place less welcoming for transgender and gender-nonconforming people.We as the anime community do not get to decide whether this word is appropriate, and it is our responsibility as curators of the community to ensure that r/Animemes is welcoming to all anime fans that are willing to act in good faith.
What should I say instead?
While the word “trap” may be on the way out, there are multiple terms that carry the same meanings, sans the derogatory connotations, which you can use for all of your memes about these characters. For example:
Femboy: Term for a (usually) cis man that presents as traditionally female.
Otokonoko(男の娘): A common Japanese term for a male who presents traditionally female; crossdresser.
Josou (josō, 女装): A Japanese word meaning “wearing female/feminine.” Often used interchangeably with Otokonoko.
Tomgirl: Opposite of tomboy – a boy that acts/looks like a girl/carries feminine mannerisms.
Cutie: Objectively the best descriptor.
These terms are not exhaustive, and that other terms that have similar definitions but are still offensive will be considered as such.
I never saw anybody complaining about it, why now?
We’ve received numerous complaints on the topic. It is understandably a controversial issue to bring up. When it comes up in comments, threads frequently devolve into accusations, downvotes, and drama. Due to our inaction, this problem has been allowed to continue.
What about discussions regarding the slur itself?
r/Animemes isn’t the place for that kind of discussion.
I personally identify with the word “trap.” Can I still use it?
No. We don’t allow people who self-identify with other slurs to freely use them.
They’re just characters, who cares?
We don’t allow people to use slurs to describe characters.
Is r/Animemes getting political?
Only to the extent that us banning other slurs could be considered a political statement. The existence and validity of transpeople is a medical fact, and their grievances deserve just as much respect as the grievances of any other race/gender/sexual orientation.
Is this a violation of my free speech?
No. We are not required to give slurs a platform, and are well within our rights as community caretakers to deem certain types of content to be against our rules.
Are the mods turning into the PC police?
No. We’re simply trying to make the community a more welcome space for everyone in it, and that includes transpeople. We do not want to run a space where intolerance is tolerated. We do not have any plans to disallow any further words for the foreseeable future.
Is this change subject to reversal based on community outcry?
No. We’ve made our decision and we’re going to stick by it. If you wish to discuss the rule change in this thread, you may do so as long as you act in good faith.
You may air grievances in this thread, but be aware that using these terms outside of this thread is, as of now, disallowed. We will be keeping a close eye on this thread, but we will not respond to questions that have already been answered in the post. We’re here to listen, and talk with the community. Harassment, witch hunts, brigading, acting in bad faith, or similar behavior will not be tolerated. Thank you for reading.
-The r/Animemes Mod Team
( Thank you 2444Arcader for the news tip!)