I read Jezebel on the regular. I read it because I like it, because it’s usually a decent, entertaining blog with feminist leanings.
Today, however, was an exception.
While perusing the headlines on Jezebel my eye was drawn to the headlines along the top of the page. The superficial side of me clicked on the story with the photo of the hot guy titled “Princeton Alums, State Dept. Staffer Run Revolting Sex Contest.”
Three photos of guys in their twenties appeared below the headline. I spit out my coffee when I noticed the brother of a high school acquaintance smiling back at me. The same kid who graduated in the top of his class, went to Princeton, and came to my soccer games was linked to this scandalous email thread.
I won’t go in to the nitty gritty of the email thread; you can read it yourself on Jezebel, Huffington Post, or IvyGate, if you want to give them the page views. Suffice it to say that the thread is disgusting, misogynistic and repulsive. There’s no question that it goes against everything feminism stands for, in terms of treating people with dignity and respect.
But there is a question about what Jezebel is trying to accomplish by publicly humiliating these guys. I realize they are trying to prove a point — that some men are assholes, douchebags, really, and cannot be trusted. But is airing their dirty laundry for all the internets to see really the right way to go about it?
At the time of writing this, the story on Jezebel has over 111k views, 1,242 comments and 607 “likes” on Facebook. If I “liked” this story right now on Facebook, it would most likely appear on my friend’s news feed. My friend, who attended an Ivy League school, has supportive parents, and comes from a normal suburban family, would be able to read all about her brother’s sexcapades. How am I supposed to feel, knowing that my fellow middle school softball teammate and school newspaper colleague will get the sickest feeling in her stomach while reading something her brother never intended for her eyes, or anyone else’s, really?
Let me pause for a moment and make something clear: I am not condoning the behavior in the emails.
But. Who doesn’t talk about sex? As a woman in my early twenties, I frequently go to brunch with my friends where our main topic of conversation is what guys we are currently dating/ trying to get attention from and all of the juicy details that go along with it. How is their email thread any different from our brunch conversations? They aren’t living in the same city so they have to keep each other informed; it’s their version of brunch. Not one I would condone or approve of, but then again, I wasn’t invited.
And neither was Jezebel. It seems that this has turned into a bit of a witch hunt. Instead of fighting the culture of misogyny, this well-respected blog is trying to fight the individuals themselves. But it seems to me that this kind of targeting, complete with mass hysteria and self-righteousness, won’t lead to the outcomes we want.
What do you think? Has this gone too far? And is there a better way to fight this kind of harmful culture than calling out people one by one?
This post was brought to you by Laura.