"Everybody rise up at once! They can't shoot us all!" <-- Marius Pontmercy
This is one of the most cynical, offensive, and utterly tone-deaf pieces that I have read in a long time, and I'm incredulous that I'm reading it on The Hairpin. This feels like xoJane or Thought Catalog fodder, although it might even fall below their standards.
There are valid critiques to be made of college activism -- its transience, its tendency to be both altruistic and smugly self-serving, the fact that college students sometimes do not devote adequate time to serious research of the issues they're tackling. But this piece does not articulate such critiques in a way that is substantive or proactive; rather, it's simply snarky, flippant, and self-disparaging. As with The Economist article from a few days ago, this reads as yet another instance of, "LADIEZ!!! THE POLITIX, SO HARD, AMIRITE??!?! BUT OMG THE HOTTIES AT DARFUR RALLIES! AND EXCEPTIONAL GENOCIDE PILLOWTALK!"
What this author has taken from her experience, in her own words: "I learned about booze, men, and which heels to wear with suits when you're going clubbing later." WOW. I cannot even.
That statement, and everything else about this article, is deeply offensive to activists who have dedicated their careers, and often their lives, to fighting against genocide (and not for "fashion and men"). It is deeply offensive to women who maintain serious political commitments out of the strength of their convictions, not because they need a new subject for "pillow talk" and picking up guys while wearing heels. And, most of all, it is deeply offensive to the millions of dead and/or forcibly displaced Sudanese -- whose lives, apparently, are reduced on The Hairpin to being fodder for a privileged, self-indulgent, cynical American to write about how she once viewed genocide as an "opportunity."
I suppose that I can appreciate and understand the author's introspection. However, the flippant, cynical tone and plethora of gender stereotypes completely contradicts what (I think?) she is trying to do with the piece. Although, I honestly don't know what she's trying to do with this piece, or why the editors published it. My entire comment (tl;dr) could be summed up as Bunburying's much more succinct reply.
I'm a longtime reader and very infrequent commenter (and that's my fault, as I wish I'd weighed in earlier). However, The Hairpin is dear to my heart, and I've long valued this site as a space for smart, insightful commentary -- commentary that can be (and should be!) controversial, at times, but is consistently smart and doesn't cater to clickbait, shock value, or tongue-in-cheek "we suck and/or we can't do these things because LADY ISSUES!" pieces. I'm writing this lengthy comment because I don't recognize that Hairpin anymore. This article is really the last straw for me. Although I appreciate Emma's responses to the recent criticisms on the Economist article, this essay PRECISELY exemplifies what so disappoints me I (and perhaps others) about the new direction that this site has taken. I will be curious to hear what others think.
@Quinn A@twitter It seems like the author has chosen self-awareness at the expense of sincerity, but there's gotta be a way to be both.
By iceberg on Redefining Rape: Talking to Estelle Freedman About Street Harassment and Intersectionality in the Early 20th Century
Great interview - I may have rushed my reading a little to get down here and be like THIS right here, THIS is my Hairpin FUCK YEAH!
I think history/historical context is really important to help us understand why things are the way they are.
By frigwiggin on Spend Three Days Living Like a Seattle Homeless Person for the Low, Low Price of $2000
"Look at all these horrible ways society is horrible to everyone but especially to you as a woman..."
Yes, exactly. Since Friday, we've had: Ricin/severed heads. Child gun fatalities. Quotation of rape threats. Afghan women concealed, alone, in labor with no help except a donkey. Nazi bride brainwashing school. The found poem (Jesus): ("I was 11 years old / I didn't know how to respond".) "When a Gang Member Puts a Murder on Instagram".
@Emma Carmichael Emma there ARE a lot of good pieces here (Jia's stuff, and her interviews particularly), but there are also pieces like this, and they're becoming more frequent and I think that has a lot of us concerned that this is the new "attitude" that is slowly taking over. Like, this piece and that piece about feeling guilty about eating ONE hot dog and then it's OK because she as pregnant? They feel wrong, like "do you even go here?" wrong.
1. That postcard!!!
2. LBJ is absolutely one of the most interesting presidents. Politicians of any kind. People.
3. Space. Space is also endlessly interesting. DARK ENERGY, guys! Black holes! Nebulas! Space-time continuum!
4. I am tempted to just grouse and grouse about the ickiness of "History and science and politics and geography and knowing things are BORING, huh? It's cute that I only care about working out and my hair!" but I am trying to restrain myself.
5. Because I bet LBJ knew things, and did not waste his time grousing about people being anti-intellectual, and that is part of how he became FASCINATING.
6. "What's that you say about your hair? SORRY TOO BUSY LAYING THE SMACK DOWN ON THE KLAN AND APPOINTING THURGOOD MARSHALL AND DEFENDING MEDICAID AND MAKING QUESTIONABLE FOREIGN POLICY DECISIONS AND BULLYING SOUTHERN DEMOCRATS AND SHIT."
I appreciate all your good efforts, I do. But this comment is disheartening. This was never "a space where we all agree about everything," and I don't think anyone is seriously asking for that.
It was a space with smart, well-researched articles and personal pieces and offbeat humor that took women seriously as full human beings with a range of interests, *not* people only interested in women's issues.
I think people are seeing lightweight content and content that seems to value or take as the norm silliness, ditziness, lack of understanding, in women. That, plus all the boring celebrity blah-blah. And the snarky Jezebel tone of voice in science articles. It's just depressing. Those things all over the web already, you know? For me, it feels like the target audience is suddenly 25-and-unders, too, not the whole range of women out there.
Sorry if you didn't want more comments about this in the comment space. But the conversation is already happening here, and perhaps that is a good thing actually.
Anyway. I won't voice criticisms in the comments again. Be well.