Jezebel isn’t the most-trafficked of all the Gawker Media sites, but it’s one of our favorites. Where else can you get a feminist flavor without having to put up with the typical PC-drenched, foam-padded language of stuffier sites like Feministing? *
Typical daily fare at Jezebel might consist of a clip of Judge Judy telling off some idiot litigator; a verbal smackdown of celebrity bloggers who call Britney Spears a “sea cow”; and the “Pot Psychology” feature, in which the writers smoke up and dispense advice. The site doesn’t even pretend to be serious or reverent, and they often use shocking or crude language to stir up discussion.
Too bad Lizz Winstead didn’t bother to find any of this out for herself before she had Moe Tkacik and Tracie Egan (aka “Slut Machine“) on her show, Thinking and Drinking. At least we assume she didn’t, based on the pearl-clutching and dismayed tone of the piece she wrote about the experience for HuffPo. Ms. Winstead expresses shock, SHOCK! and dismay over such statements as “Pulling out is the most fun way to not get pregnant” and “I haven’t been raped [in Williamsburg] because there aren’t any assertive men there”. Frequent readers of the site would recognize this as par for the course.
They do not understand the influence they have over the women who read them, nor do they accept any responsibility as role models for young women who are coming of age searching for lifestyles to emulate.
Tracie, Moe, and the other writers of Jezebel do not have any obligation to be “role models” to anyone reading their site, nor do they speak for all feminists everywhere. If they want to show up to a taping drunk and act like unprofessional jackasses, you can reprimand them for it, but don’t claim they “let down all college-age women”. And don’t have what you probably know are a couple of outrageous, hard-drinking, wisecracking bloggers on your show, ply them with alcohol, and then edit and post clips of the results solely you can indulge in some IRL “Ward and I are very disappointed in you, Beaver” concern-trolling. That’s not serious fucking journalism either.
Winstead’s finger wagging is shrill, sanctimonious and out of touch. What’s even more troubling is her need to publicly shame the two Jezzies. It’s pretty obvious from the transcript that Tracy and Moe we’re making some booze fueled irreverent rape jokes –perhaps ill-timed but nevertheless JOKES–they weren’t outlining policy prescriptions. We actually feel better about ourselves watching the two bloggers try to nervously work a crowd. Its empowering to know that smart women can get boozey and make mistakes, public ones. Allah only knows how many times we’ve made off color jokes at the wrong time too. What’s disheartening and sets an awful example is Winstead’s need to flagellate these ladies all over the internet. Fuck her and her bogus idea of sisterhood, “freedom and empowerment”.
*(True story: There was once a poll on Feministing that asked about the preferred birth control methods of readers, and several commenters demanded that Jessica apologize for being “insensitive” to readers who were trying to conceive and not having any luck replicating their crappy genes. We can only imagine the swift derision that such a request would be met with at Jezebel.)