What?! You’re leaving?
Yes, it’s true. Today is my last day at The Frisky!
What?! You’re leaving?
Yes, it’s true. Today is my last day at The Frisky!
Today in P.A.F.U. (People Are Fucked Up) news: a mommy blogger named Lacey Spears, 26, is accused of deliberately making her 5-year-old son, Garnett-Paul Spears, sick so she could blog about it, leading to the child’s death in January. Spears, from Chestnut Ridge, NY, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter after she administered Garnett a fatal dose of sodium while he was in the hospital. Spears had brought her son into the hospital saying he was suffering from seizures, and while doctors investigated his illness, his sodium levels skyrocketed. They transferred the worsening child to a Children’s Hospital where he died. Police believe Spears was using Garnett’s stomach tube to administer the sodium. The murder charge indicates police don’t believe Spears intended to kill her son, but that she acted with a disturbing indifference towards his life and well-being. Keep reading »
If you are a lady of a certain age with an Internet connection, chances are you read Jezebel.com. In fact, you might be on it right now. The blog launched in 2007 and truly proved — to the mainstream media, to our feminist foremothers who complain that women today are apathetic, to men — that there is an appetite for smart, sassy, feminist commentary on the Internet. The site inspires intense feelings amongst feminists and Reddit-trolling men’s rights activists alike — the former critiquing the site for its coverage of hot-button issues and the latter for encouraging women “to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
OK, that last one was Pat Roberston, but I am betting he would not like Jezebel either. Which is precisely why I love it.
So you can imagine how thrilling it is that Anna Holmes, founder and original editor of Jezebel, has published The Book Of Jezebel, a coffee table encyclopedia of modern womanhood. The contributors’ page reads like a who’s who of the smartest women writers today, who have written entries ranging from “Roseanne” to abortion to Alice Walker to vulvas. No wonder the conservative web site The Daily Caller already had an apoplectic fit about The Book Of Jezebel, accusing its “angry women” authors and fans of having widespread daddy issues.
I called up Anna Holmes to discuss the book’s release and her thoughts on the feminist media ecosystem today. Here’s our conversation, after the jump!
If you were on summer vacation when Bustle.com launched this summer, allow me to catch you up on the startup community’s version of a shitshow: in a piece on the tech blog PandoDaily, the founder of Bleacher Report, Bryan Goldberg, announced he had created a website for women. Bustle.com is not just not just any web site for women — it’s THE GREATEST WEBSITE FOR WOMEN OF ALL TIME. “Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips?” Goldberg wrote. “What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it?”
Bustle hired a whole mess of low-paid young female writers and interns to crank out high volumes of content daily — a strategy Goldberg presented as women writing about content that interests them. He, of course, would be the fundraising brains of the outfit — as he so eloquently put it, “knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.” Perplexingly, Goldberg also shared with the world his somewhat mangled definition of feminism … which appears to be no more complicated than, you know, employing women: “Is [Bustle] a feminist publication? You’re damn right this is a feminist publication.”
Sadly for Goldberg’s feminist credentials, Internet sleuthing quickly discovered that Bustle would pay writers only $100 per day, which translates to about $24,000 a year pre-tax. So Bustle is a feminist blog except for that whole “paying women a living wage” part! When Goldberg first PandoDaily article was widely mocked across the Internet (including on The Frisky) — the best headline was Amanda Hess at XX Factor, “Man Creates Very First Website for Women Ever” — he tried again with an apology post, which basically somewhat backtracked on everything his first post had said. Keep reading »
Last week, the controversial professor, feminist blogger and personal essayist Hugo Schwyzer announced on his blog, in an interview with NYmag.com and again in LA Weekly that he was retiring his notorious public persona and quitting the internet for good (or— for the time being, he corrected himself some days later in yet another goodbye). Maybe you don’t know or care who this person is and that is just as well. He is a semi-big deal in the feminist blogosphere in the way that Serge Haroche is probably (hopefully) an even bigger deal among mathy-type people (he won the Noble Prize in Physics in 2012, according to this random website I found when I Googled “Nobel Prize winners”). And maybe we should all know more about Serge Haroche. But here we are talking about Hugo. (For a complete list of criticisms of Hugo’s work, you can go here. Or here. Yes, there are entire websites created for the sole purpose of criticizing this man and his work.) [Note: A few of Schwyzer's pieces on The Good Men Project were crossposted on The Frisky a few years ago.]
I can’t help it. Honestly, I’m kind of obsessed with him. As a freelance writer as well as a writing instructor — I teach courses in memoir, personal essay and opinion writing, the genres that both Hugo and I write — this whole brouhaha is pushing all my buttons. Some people are taking a certain joy in this character’s downfall — which I feel is mean but, yes, a little tempting. Like many, for me, the redemptive narrative of Hugo Schwyzer always rang less than true. Keep reading »
I’m not going to sugar coat it: Sometimes, this whole parenting gig can be pretty damn hard. Yes, parenting is rewarding and wonderful and absolutely special. But it can also be completely terrifying and difficult and frustrating. And, despite all the parenting books that line the shelves of bookstores, there’s truly no one manual to tell you exactly how to successfully raise your children without going completely batty.
It also doesn’t help that parents — new ones especially — are surrounded by images, advertisements, articles, books, television shows, “experts,” movies, news media, and more that basically dictate to them what it (supposedly) takes to be a good parent. It can be doubly overwhelming in a society that pushes Tiger Moms at you while also promoting the benefits of French Parenting in the same breath that both encourages and disparages Attachment Parenting. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink. (Or smoke).
So it doesn’t surprise me one bit when parents turn to the Internet to find some answers or relief. Even if that relief is in the form of mild complaining or slightly neurotic questioning of everything that’s being thrown at you. But of course, as with everything on the Internet, everyone has an opinion. Enter Jezebel’s Tracy Moore, who earlier this week tore apart a private online Facebook group for L.A. parents. Moore listed a handful of topics that various mothers posted about and then proceeded to mock and snark on each one. Keep reading »