A tale of two image boards: /hm/ and /s/

I censored the image. But the whole article is pretty NSFW.

I censored the image. But this whole article is NSFW.

/hm/ and /s/ are a study in the way the internet thinks about sex and gender. On the former, there’s a culture of self-submission and acceptance; on the latter, men post photos of women without their consent for public scrutiny. So let’s talk about it, why not?

The purpose of /hm/ and /s/ are ostensibly the same. Both of them showcase porn of actual human bodies for the titillation of the board’s viewers. To post a thread, one needs to have a store of pics: the more, the better. You can’t post looking for a request, and the rules to both forums are more or less identical. The only difference is the gender of the subjects; /hm/ stands for “handsome men” while /s/ “stands for sexy beautiful women”. And what a difference it makes.

The /hm/ imageboard is about 70% dick pics. About half of these are from commercial porn and about half are self-submitted by the subject. It’s fairly common to find the subject on the board, willing to answer questions or take special request pictures. Some guy posted a photo of his butt and asked what kind of tattoo he should get on it. Men with small penises are encouraged to submit photographs by people who find this erotic; as are fat men, old men, and other not-the-norm fetishes in gay porn. They’re displayed right up there next to the porn stars, the blonde twinks, and the other idealized bodies that most people don’t have/aren’t. That seems empowering and accepting to me.

On the other, hand, /s/ is full of ex-girlfriend threads, leaked celebrity images, and wife threads. It’s common to post a set of pictures and call it a “gf thread”, i.e. the subject is not the user but their girlfriend. It’s about 50% amateur photos and 50% from commerical porn. Virtually none of the amateur photos were posted by the person in the picture; all of them were posted by someone claiming to have some relationship to the subject. Like this one (TW, incest)

I really hope he's fibbing.

I really hope he’s fibbing. Or cross-dressing.

In contrast, on page two of /hm/ right now there’s a “Small Dick Appreciation” thread; and there almost always is one somewhere on the board. (I have a screencap for posterity, but I won’t show it here unless the blog police come demand to see my sources.) It’s a very common theme on /hm/ to post small dicks; once the old thread is done a new one crops up rapidly.

Because there’s such a large proportion of men self-submitting their tiny dicks to the thread, the commenters are a lot more respectful than they might be in /sbw/, where the expectation is that the people depicted will never actually get on the board. In fact, non-consensual leaked photos are such a popular item that shit like this happens:

"Please

“Can we please keep this dedicated to recent celebrity hacks?” C***Stunter asks sarcastically.

I don’t know what part of this is sarcastic, that he doesn’t like the pictures of the “ex” being posted here, or that he’s commenting on the freqeuncy with which celebrity leaks are being posted on /sbw/ right now. But there are quite a lot of them:

selena gomez celeb photo leaks

selena gomez celeb photo leaks

Someone was recognized because of their cat

A. Grande leak, /w identity-proving cat

"I <3 4chan" - Anon

“I ❤ 4chan” – Anon, loving that he can trade leaked photos of V. Justice

And if Anon can’t find the nudes they want, well by God they’ll get em!

Avril Livingne is safe... for now.

“If someone’s got some dosh (money) to pay those hackers I implore you to get something on Avril” – Anon, wanting to hack A. Livigne’s phone.

Do you see the pattern here, readers? Anon seems frustrated that Avril hasn’t been hacked yet; like all of the celebrities, ex-girlfriends and other women on the web are obligated to have nudes for public consumption. The same sentiment is echoed in the common 4chan catcall “tits or gtfo.” As I was looking through this board for research I found eleven ex girlfriend themed threads on an imageboard that’s only seven pages long. The point here is clear: in a few words Anon is able to punish the women who leave them by putting them up here on /s/ for the general public to consume and fap to. The picture is intended for a private audience, but it ends up going to the most public and dehumanizing one imaginable. And that this is happening against the woman’s will is part of the fun.

As evidence, let me show you /s/’s reaction to women who did pose willingly in public:

"Femen bitches"

“No man, depraved as he may be will ever regard a deluded feminazi as “fuckable”.” – Angry MRA Anon

He’s not the only one in the thread to think Femen is gross. But I don’t understand why. In terms of size, shape, and age the women are remarkably similar to the ones being shown in “ex gf” reels; the only difference is that Femen protesters choose to put themselves out there in the public eye, to draw attention to the way men objectify women. Apparently drawing attention to what anon’s doing is enough to spoil the soup, though.

It’s not really the nudity that /s/ finds interesting. It’s that they’re posting them without the consent (and presumably to humiliate) the subjects in the pics. Meanwhile, on /hm/, men with small dicks are made to feel better through a gay small-dick fap circle. The double standard rings so fucking loud on the sexist echo chamber that is 4chan, I think I just sustained a little bit of gendered hearing loss. But I’ll write again soon.

– Caroline.

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Today I was harassed on the street. Again.

207th street and Cooper Ave, approx. 2:35pm. A white guy in his mid twenties wearing a shaved head, brown cargos and an undershirt says quietly as I walk past: “Little hickey, huh?”

I shout back: Fuck you, you fucking asshole! (I get loud when people whisper sexist bullshit in my ear.)
Asshole: No thanks! I’m good! You’re a fat slob! Who did you fuck, anyway?!
I respond: Fuck you! Why do you think you think you can talk to me like that!
Asshole (now also yelling): You called me a fucking asshole!
I respond: ‘little hickey, huh?’ What gives you the fucking right to talk to me like that?!
Asshole: Fuck you you fucking fat, sloppy bitch!

This continues for two minutes. I called him a fucking asshole throughout; but he went through the color wheel of insults, from ‘bitch’ to ‘cunt’ to ‘pig,’ to mysteriously enough ‘white trash.’ I believe he did call me a ‘stupid dodo bird.’

I should have recorded what he was saying, but he just kept barfing the insults out so fast. When I gave up and left, he shouted more and worse things at my back. He just kept on with this after I was well out of earshot; when I came back through the intersection with my lunch a few minutes later, a passerby told me that. I’m sure he did that so he could have the last word, and in his mind “win” the argument about what a fat, sloppy, white, sex-having woman in public I am.

Fuck him. I’m so tired of men I don’t know wolf whistling at me and then insulting me when I dare to stand up to them. The way they go straight from talking about sex with me to insulting me shows it’s not a compliment at all. It’s about strange men treating my body like it’s an ad for sex; then being angry about the sex I do not give them.