So, /r/ItsAFetish is a thing, and it claims to be a subreddit that neutrally and fairly documents the existence of autogynephilia, particularly autogynephilia as a contributing factor to MtF gender dysphoria. I claim that is bullshit, and that they are engaging in a variety of behaviors, most notably Chinese Robber Fallacy, to portray autogynephiles and trans women in a negative way. So, who’s right?
To determine this while not committing chinese robber fallacy myself, I made a bot that gathered links to all /r/ItsAFetish posts that have been made during the week before I made this post. Next, I evaluated these posts on the following criteria:
- Do they portray autogynephiles or trans women in general as predatory, dangerous, or evil?
- Do they express disgust about autogynephilia, or otherwise treat it as bad or a personal failing?
- Do they cherry-pick rare forms of autogynephilia that people for some reason tend to find particularly aversive? (These forms of autogynephilia are usually harmless, but e.g. if conservatives were constantly associating homosexuality with promiscuity and other things they found harmful, we would still consider this homophobically motivated, even though we think promiscuity is fine.)
- Do they present autogynephilic transsexuals as “false trans”, non-dysphoric, or similar?
- Do they misrepresent the situation portrayed to make it seem “worse” than it actually is?
- Do they spread false stereotypes about autogynephiles (e.g. that autogynephiles are narcissistic)?
I’ve tried to be conservative in what I count, and of course these are only a limited segment of all the possible problems that could be in posts. Regardless, I found that more than 70% of the evaluated threads included one of these. Of the remainder, some ambiguously included these sorts of things, and the ones who didn’t were more often theoretical in nature (1, 2, 3).
None of the posts seemed to include positive messages about AGP; e.g. while there were many posts calling transvestic fetishism misogynistic, there seemed to be no posts encouraging transvestic fetishists to enjoy themselves. While some posts could not be classed under any of the specific categories I wrote, even the ones that were categorized as neutral often seemed to be engaging in chinese robber fallacy, and often seemed to have negative attitudes towards autogynephiles.
The most common forms of hate was portraying AGPs as predators (25%), cherry-picking (23%), or misrepresenting the situation (19%). In particular, there were quite a few people who implied that autogynephiles were likely murderers.
You can download a table with the posts that have been considered here; it includes the labels of the posts (0.5 means ambiguous, 1 means unambiguous), along with some reasoning.