If this is indeed news to you then I assume that either you have never so much as opened a dating site. Or that you're a bloke who doesn't have or talk to any of his female friends.
"I would be lying if I said it didn't get to me. I thought it would be some fun thing, something where I would do it and worse case scenario say "lol I was a guy I trolle you lulz"etc. but within a 2 hour span it got me really down and I was feeling really uncomfortable with everything. I figured I would get some weird messages here and there, but what I got was an onslaught of people who were, within minutes of saying hello, saying things that made me as a dude who spends most of his time on 4chan uneasy. I ended up deleting my profile at the end of 2 hours and kind of went about the rest of my night with a very bad taste in my mouth."
I feel like I just read this story a few weeks ago. Probably because there aren't exactly long gaps between incidences of men going 'hmm, women have told me this but I'm not sure if I believe it. Only one way to find out...'
I am not saying that we can't have empathy, or identify with experiences that we can never have.
I've seen instances of white people pretending to be people of colour online; people who are not disabled choosing to'experience' disability for a day or less. Hell, look at Jared Leto and his insistence that he understands what it's like to be a trans woman because he played one, despite the fact that his 'understanding' doesn't seem to go any deeper than talking about waxing off his body hair.
So here's an idea. How about if we actually listened to people when they told us about their experiences. Especially those of us who have large amounts of privilege. Why do we need to experience something ourselves to believe it instead of just listening and learning?
I am not saying that we can't have empathy, or identify with experiences that we can never have. I am saying that our ability to empathise is way, way out of whack if we think that the only way to achieve empathy is to experience something ourselves - or even if we only relate to problems when those close to us experience them.
I'm glad that this particular Reddit user has learned that, yes, women really do face just as much crap online as they say they do, and that he's taken that onboard and wants to share it with other similarly disbelieving men. I am. I'd rather he's listened firstly to his friend and then to the legions of online posts dedicated to this very phenomenon.
And to anyone who finds themselves in this situation in the future - thinking 'that sounds bad, can it be true?' I have a suggestion for you: stop making it all about you and do a little listening for once.