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I feel bad for Emily Gould. Next week, the former editor of gossip blog Gawker.com will publish her first book, a collection of personal essays called And The Heart Says Whatever. And when I think about what’s going to happen to her, I just want to shield my eyes.
You see, almost two years ago exactly, Emily Gould landed on the cover of The New York Times Magazine for an article published in it, “Exposed: Blog Post Confidential.” If people hated her article (several thousand words about how her sometimes nasty blogging for Gawker complicated or ruined her personal relationships), they hated her cover photo even more: Gould lying on her bed in a tank top, staring up at the camera. The types of internet comments her piece provoked included cyberbullying-ish put-downs like “narcissists,” “narcissistic pipsqueak,” “immature,” “intellectual midget,” “navel-gazing,” “idiots with big mouths,” “undiagnosed psych disorder,” and “Now I understand the timeless appeal of public stoning.” Yeesh.
As another young female writer, watching this scared the crap out of me. I should probably be old enough to know better than to get rattled by all that haterade, but I worry about the young female writers in high schools across the country who see that and then learn, “This is what will happen if I write about myself.” Keep reading »
Emily Gould should know about women writers and criticism. In the spring of 2008, the former editor at Gawker published an article in the prestigious New York Times Magazine about nastiness in the blogosphere—to a certain extent, it was her own nastiness towards Gawker’s victims that she was referencing. Plenty of other writers responded in kind, mostly critical, and some of the critics were women annoyed with both Gould’s gossip-blog past as well as her sexily-reclining-on-her-back cover photo, saying: Emily Gould does not represent us.
Recently in an article called “What Are Women Fighting About?” for More Intelligent Life, Gould tackles the issue of how “women are often the cruelest critics of other female writers” for not accurately portraying women’s lives. Gendered critiques of women writers are a problem that’s dragged on for a long time (Anna Clark wrote about their “ambition condition” for Bitch magazine over a year ago). But Gould’s analysis is at least refreshing because, by her essay’s end, she has pledged to be more aware of her overly-critical-towards-women ways. Keep reading »