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The term "boyzone" has been used to describe aspects of Metafilter which are seen as unwelcoming to female users of the site.
The first use of boyzone on MetaTalk described it as:
- ...a bit of a men's room ...postings like sex classes, gross-out cartoons, nerdish obsession, flimsy pretexts for nudity, and whiny self-pitying threads about failing manhood.
Mefite pomegranate, in that thread, said this about the subject:
- I think that the vibe of metafilter reflects the gender-assumptions of both western media and the general WWW culture, which is that what men believe to be gender-neutral is actually simply masculine, or at least uninclusive of women's points of view. It's a certain blindness which is difficult to pin down, but is exemplified in that a portion of the threads here are pretty guy-centic, but very few are chick-centric. (The ones that I have seen tend to get few comments, or are hijacked by some guy.)
In the 2007 thread which lead to the policy changes regarding sexism, Omiewise provided this summation of the issue:
- ...the argument about MeFi being a boyzone is precisely that sexism is used as a source of power (often through humor), and this replicates and reinforces unacceptable behavior that women encounter throughout their lives ...It's a perfectly legitimate criticism of this place (or any other) that it makes one feel shitty because one belongs to a certain class of people and that other members of "the community" should act with more civility.
In a more recent thread, team lowkey came up with more simplified definition of the term:
- Boyzone - community behavior which discourages female participation in the site.
In that same thread, madamjujujive said:
- ...boyzone is a climate that feels exclusionary. OK, not for everyone. Nice to see that for some women here, that hasn't been the case. And that's great. Women are not some monolithic group who all feel the same way. There is no party line. But a not insubstantial number of women have felt differently. Over my years here, it has pained me to see so many great women contributors leaving mefi, citing publicly or privately that they were uncomfortable.
The topic of whether Metafilter is a boyzone or not has a fairly long history on the site, dating back to this February 2002 MetaTalk post. Over the years, the topic has been raised several times on MetaTalk.
November 2007 Discussions
A November 2007 Metatalk thread about boyzone issues generated a lot of discussion and some policy shifts and is worth exploring. During that discussion and others subsequent to it, some users left the site over discussion about whether the site was a boyzone