The Internet

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Just Because You’re Not a Journalist, Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Fact-Check

Published April 17, 2014 by Teresa

In the past week and a half, I’ve encountered three instances of sensationalized, unverified information in my Facebook feed.

First, there was the time when The Guardian wrote about the end of civilization, which ended up being debunked by Discover Magazine. The original story was flying around my social media, but when I forwarded the debunking, I didn’t see that go very viral at all. I guess correct information, or at least an alternate, healthily skeptical view, is less fun to pass around to your friends?

Then, someone I know forwarded what she thought was an Einstein quote, but ended up being a portion of an Einstein quote lumped together with a portion of a blog post about shamanism, which drew my suspicion precisely because the entire thing as attributed to Einstein sounded so very un-Einstein from what I’ve come to know of him and what he’s said/written about religion and science. So I did some quick Google searching, discovered the error, and sent it her way. Just because you see a quote in a cute meme doesn’t mean it’s accurate. 

Finally, today, there was this USA Today story flying around about a flyer that was handed out in the city of Donetsk in Ukraine ordering Jews to register with the city on penalty of having their citizenship revoked. This article makes it a point to say that the origin of the flyer is unknown, and spoke to several people in-the-know about their suspicions, etc, but the way this was passed around in my social media feeds, you’d think that Holocaust 2.0 were happening right now. Probably because the headline originally read “Jews Ordered to Register in East Ukraine” While it still reads that way on the main news page (which is where the clicks from USA Today’s regular readers will likely come from), the title when you click on the article is “Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine.” See the difference? The first headline makes it seem as though Ukraine were sanctioning this. The second makes it seem like an article about a mysterious anti-Semitic leaflet that requires further investigation. But which story is more “exciting?” 

Since that article came out, there’s since been several that have urged people to calm down, as most of the facts point to it not being government-sanctioned. Like this one from New Republic Magazine. Sadly, I don’t see the New Republic article with the headline “Ukraine Is Not Ordering Its Jews to Register” being shared as quickly, or as often, in my feed.

I could write about the fact that journalists at reputable news organizations seem to not bother with silly things like fact-checking and journalistic ethics anymore, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about. 

I wanted to talk about the fact that you and I are complicit in those lapses in journalistic judgment. 

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1) More People “Get Their News” From Social Media Than Ever Before (and They’re “Getting It” Wrong)

In a 2012 study done by the Pew Research Center For the People and the Press, 19% of all Americans (and 34% of Americans under 30) get their news from social media sites, which means articles and videos made viral on sites like Facebook and Twitter. By the looks of my social media feeds, I’m sure those numbers have gone up in the past two years. People love reading news on their social media, and they love passing it around.

The problem is, when people “get news” on social media, they’re very often just reading sensational headlines and forwarding things without reading the articles in full. When they do read the articles in full, they aren’t paying attention to whether or not the journalist has actually quoted anyone relevant, or cited sources, or, you know, done journalism right. There’s no critical thinking happening. It’s just: OUTRAGE, then share, then on to the next thing. 

This is harmful. Especially on Facebook. As you all might know, the recently-changed FB algorithm promotes statuses into your feed based on how many likes, shares, and comments they get. In other words, we’re only seeing the popular stuff. So, if you’re quick on the draw and posting sensationalistic click-bait without verifying it, that’s the thing that’s gonna go viral, and it will drown out the real, non-hysterical news that does silly things like verify boring ol’ facts.

In our eagerness to share information, we’re perpetuating incorrect information, passing it off as truth.

2) Outlets Don’t Bother, Because They Know They Don’t Have To

Once cable news entered the scene, it was the beginning of the end. (Is that sensational enough for you?) But seriously, with cable news came the “24-hour News Cycle” which meant that a) news networks had to find 24-hours worth of stuff to talk about, and b) they were competing with each other for viewers.

The Internet compounded that. Now, not only is there a 24-Hour News Cycle, but anyone with a blog or a social media feed can take part! Everyone can talk about current events to their heart’s content, and non-professional journalists, since they don’t have editors, have the choice of whether or not they want to verify what they’re spreading around the internet.

What do TV News and blogs and social media sites have in common? They live or die by eyeballs. Ratings, clicks, shares, likes. It’s all about how many people you get to look at the thing you’re writing. Eyeballs are how professional news outlets make money, and how non-professional information aggregators get validation. This is so dangerous when it comes to news and history, because this is the area in which eyeballs become more important than fact.

The thing is, TV News programs, as well as bloggers and information aggregators study what works. They specialize in getting eyeballs, because that’s their livelihood. What they’ve learned is that people respond to sensationalized news, and often, in an attempt to sensationalize otherwise boring news and facts, they’ll tweak a headline to purposely make it misleading (click!), or they’ll fluff up a news story with pointed opinion that sounds very much like fact, but nonetheless isn’t (click! click!).

This isn’t new. William Randolph Hearst, for one, specialized in sensationalizing news in order to gain readership, hold on to his monopoly over the press, and further his political agendas in the 1930s. But today, we’re the ones doing the heavy lifting. Every time we click, like, and share, we confirm for the media that we enjoy half-truths and sensationalism. And so they continue to do it. Feeding our desire for a quick hit of shock or outrage in our otherwise boring work days, and guaranteeing that they will live to lie (or fluff up the truth) another day.

3) Dates Are Important

For the love of God, people. Why are you continuing to post April Fool’s Day stories two weeks after the fact?! For example, this April Fool’s article at Jezebel about Netflix bringing back Firefly showed up in my Facebook feed two or three days ago, and a friend of mine was so happy about the news! This is the problem with media outlets doing April Fools Joke stories. They’re funny day-of, but they’re not taken down, which means that anyone reading the site after April 1st will find it, not check the date, and giddily spread the news of Firefly’s return thinking that it’s real! Also, old news stories have a tendency to resurface in my social media feeds as NEW news stories way too often. The Internet is forever – and no one seems to look at dates.

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I, for one, am ashamed of myself for the times that I’ve been guilty of doing this, and I’m sick of being taken in whenever others share unverified “news” and facts with me. So, I’ve been thinking about how I want to handle this from now on. Because I can complain about how how vile mainstream media is all day. I can complain about the incompetence of bloggers who call themselves journalists until I’m blue in the face. The fact is, they’re vile, because I’m complacent. They’re incompetent, because I don’t hold them to any kind of a standard. They get away with it, because I’m too lazy to do a Google search to verify facts before I share their wares, ensuring them a long, unethical life.

So from now on, these are my personal guidelines (which you’re free to follow as well):

1) If my first impulse is to go “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!” and share with my social media feed – I’m going to STOP.

My excited/annoyed/outraged reaction is likely the product of careful manipulation by the outlet, blogger, or their marketing representative. Not necessarily the result of the actual facts of the story. I will not share or forward what sparked my reaction until I do more research. If I’m too lazy to look up the info, I just won’t forward the story. Done and done.

2) I will not share or like an “inspirational quote” unless I know that the quote is attributed correctly. 

If I”m gonna be “inspired” by someone, I’d at least like to know that I’m being inspired by the right person.

3) If something is too good, too shocking, or too anything to be real, it probably is. 

Media makes it seem as though EVERYTHING IS EXTREME AND HUGELY DIVISIVE! But the truth is, the world is more moderate than that most of the time, and when something shocking DOES actually happen, I’d hate for it to be drowned out by a lot of crying wolf.

4) I will check the date of the story, and I will never share or like anything posted on April 1st.

Because COME THE FUCK ON, PEOPLE! FIREFLY ISN’T COMING BACK. EVER. I KNOW THAT SUCKS, BUT DAMN. Also, yes – just because a story is coming up in my feed today, doesn’t mean it happened today. I’m not going to pass something around as news that’s, well, old news.

Lastly, as someone who keeps a blog and writes for professional outlets, I want to make a promise to all of you. I’ve never considered myself an actual journalist. I never really wanted to write journalism, honestly, but it pays more than fiction (which pays nothing when you’re starting out), so I found myself a pop-cultury niche so that I could actually earn some kind of a living as a writer. There are plenty of real journalists out there who are reporting important news far better than I ever could. I’m a great source for thoughtful, creative non-fiction. That’s what I do. Opinion and analysis, talking about the news long after the real reporting has been done. However, there are indeed times when I do need to let you know about facts to back up my opinions on certain things, and when I do, I will always cite my sources, and verify my facts thoroughly before I give them to you. And if, for some reason my facts are wrong, I will always happily eat crow in front of you, and correct my articles and posts so that incorrect information doesn’t continue to be sent out into the world as my work is shared on the internet.

I love the internet. I love how freely and easily we can share information and ideas with each other. But just because you can click “send,” “share,” or “like” doesn’t mean you should.

When it comes to facts on the internet, let’s think before we share! :)

ChinaShop Post: Cheeks – Saving the Internet One Video At a Time

Published April 13, 2012 by Teresa

One of my favorite things about being a writer is getting to profile people I really, really like. Over at ChinaShop today is my profile of the hugely talented Cheeks, aka Brad Bell who, among other things, is the creator and star of the hit web series, Husbands.

Excerpt:

If you don’t already know Cheeks, you should. Since September 2008, his YouTube channel has amassed almost 12,000 subscribers and over 2 million views. He has music on iTunes, including the hilarious “They Call Me Cheeks,” and very active Twitter account (@GoCheeksGo). These days, Cheeks has been getting lots of attention for his web series, Husbands, the first gay marriage sitcom.

Brad Bell knew that when he moved out to Hollywood from Texas that he wasn’t going to follow the same path as everybody else. “I knew that I wasn’t going to drive around town with my headshot and be all I can play this role! I can do that! I’m this guy! Because I’m not every guy, you know? I’m a specific type. So when I got here, I wanted to figure out What am I gonna do differently? What’s a different way into this machine? And it took a couple of years to figure out. YouTube came out as a website that people knew about and were using I think, like, two years after I moved [to L.A.]. That’s when I was like, Okay, there are people putting themselves out there in front of thousands of people on their own platform. I can do that. And I still audition for stuff, but I didn’t feel the need, that it was my only way in.”

For the full article, to vote (click the little tea cups at the bottom!), or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

The Fray Project: Keeping In Touch (Lifestyle)

Published April 12, 2012 by Teresa

To check out my April 2012 Lifestyle goals, CLICK HERE.

It’s interesting that on the day I scheduled to talk about my Lifestyle goals for this month, I came across this article from The Atlantic about Facebook and loneliness.

I never know how to feel about articles like this; articles that talk about how the internet is ruining society, because even though we’re more interconnected than ever, the lack of in-person human interaction will ultimately be the downfall of humanity. I never know how to feel about reports like this, because many of the wonderful, in-person friendships I now have I owe to the internet. I joined a theater company in New York, because I’d gotten to know its producer on a Liev Schreiber message board. I met three other good friends of mine on that same board, when one of them (hey, Cathy!) came to NYC to see Schreiber in a production of Othello, and I went with her and two other friends she introduced me to, and with whom I’m still friendly. They introduced me to still two other friends, and we not only hang out whenever one visits the other’s city, but we’ve traveled together, meeting up elsewhere. Every single writing gig I’ve gotten, editor I’ve met, several non-writing jobs I’ve gotten – hell, half of the dates I’ve ever been on – have all been thanks to first connecting on the internet.

And that’s just the strangers.

I hate the phone, generally. I’m bad at phone calls, and usually only use the phone to make plans, or if a friend calls with an emergency. The internet has allowed me to maintain a closer relationship with my friends and family than I ever would’ve been able to maintain on my own. When my sister joined Facebook, it was a revelation, and now we chat on there, or leave each other posts, pictures, etc. We keep up with each other online, which makes the times when we see each other in person more rewarding, because we don’t have to waste time “catching up.” We can get right into the thick of things without preliminary small talk! When I moved to L.A, I had an already built-in network of about 15-20 people before I even got here, all because I’d gotten to know them through my writing on the internet. They are now becoming in-person friends.

My goal in April (and for the next few months) is to keep in touch with a select list of 10 people in New York over Google Hangout or Skype, and a select list of L.A. people I know in-person. Google Hangout and Skype are MIRACULOUS. I hate the phone, but I love these things, because it allows me to feel like I’m in the room with people I care about, which is wonderful. PS – Facebook also has video chat. :)

This article has one thing right – online contact isn’t a replacement for in-person human interaction. But when used properly, the internet can enhance and improve in-person human interaction, both improving your relationship with your loved ones, and bringing new people into your real-life sphere. The internet means you’ll always have a couch on which to crash wherever you go, you’ll always have people who wonder what you’re doing, and that even if you leave home to follow your dreams, you’ll always be able to be close to the people you love most. Screw the haters. The internet is wonderful.

Why I Support the KONY 2012 Video (And Why I Think Some Are Missing The Point)

Published March 7, 2012 by Teresa

First it was nothing I’d ever heard of. Suddenly it was everywhere. Not Kony. I’d heard of him before all this. Actually, my first real lesson in Joseph Kony and the crimes for which he’s responsible was in the Vertigo comic Unknown Soldier. (Who says comics can’t teach us anything?) And a woman for whom I used to pet-sit, Leora Khan, has done lots of work on behalf of child soldiers through her organization PROOF Media for Social Justice, so I absorbed a lot from her, too.

But yesterday, I saw several people posting the following video on Tumblr, and I think you should watch it. It’s a little over 20 minutes long:

I was inspired, not just because I saw someone actively attempting to stop something on a continent that, quite honestly, few governments actually give a fuck about, but because it captured everything I think is wonderful about the technologically advanced and increasingly interconnected world in which we live. And so I passed the link around.

Today, I’ve seen several people talking about how we shouldn’t be supporting this campaign, because the organization behind it, Invisible Children, is “shady” with regard to the way it uses its money. Some have even gone so far as to say that the LRA, while a big problem (and they always qualify it, because they don’t want to seem heartless), isn’t that big of a deal now anyway, and the U.S. is already doing something about it, and Kony might be dead anyway, so why are we all gonna get invested in this campaign? Wil Wheaton reblogged a post from The Daily What’s tumblr. A friend of mine posted the following comment after I posted the video on Facebook:

Although Kony is still out there, the LRA has not been active in Uganda since 2006. And several reports have been made that he’s ill and not very active himself, possibly dead. We should find out for sure, of course, but Invisible Children has been criticized by several for leaving out facts and the group has come under investigation several times for questionable money practices and for sometimes refusing to share charity financial records. Definitely think Kony should be found and happy to spread the word, but not sure I want to support this particular video.

To which I responded:

1) the LRA “not being active in Uganda since 2006″ is just flat-out not true. There was the Mokombo massacre in Dec 2009, and attacks continued through Feb 2010. Obama sent in 100 advisers at the end of this past year. No matter what the public said, Washington wouldn’t send anyone to Africa if it were considered a total waste of time.

2) Kony 2012 isn’t about charity. You don’t have to give them money at all. Purchasing the action kit and all that is optional, but the goal is to GET INVOLVED. With at least time and effort, if not money. So if possible charity shadiness is what you’re worried about, you don’t have to be. It’s just as easy to download and print posters yourself as it is to order them through their website. And the video just inspires people to action. However, just about EVERY non-profit has been, at some point, investigated because of how they use their money. Doesn’t mean they’ve done anything wrong. Or that, if mistakes were made, they weren’t fixed. Also, Invisible Children has all their financials on their Tri website going back to 2006 if anyone wants to look into it.

3) I’d be curious to know what reports have talked about him being ill or dead? Just did a Google search and didn’t turn up anything like that. The only references to him being “sick” all coincide with peace talks he was supposed to attend.

4) Another big reason why I’m behind this particular campaign so much is because it provides an amazing model for activism. I love that the internet really has changed the world in so many ways. From the Occupy Movement to stuff like this, people can actually get together and change things. And Kony 2012 is a very specific, focused goal. If progress is made on this front within this year (progress being that gov’t realizes that their citizens actually do care about this and don’t want the advisers pulled out), then this can be a template for change on other fronts.

I am absolutely shocked and disheartened by the “backlash” this video is getting, because it points to this generation’s seeming need to remain apathetic at all times. If people care about something too much, or if something is too popular, something is clearly awry. It’s our job to be skeptical, and if our choices are between “not having our money used properly” and “doing nothing,” people will choose Doing Nothing every time. Because, hey – at least we’ll still have our money, right? And those problems in the world? Well, it’s not like we were gonna solve them all anyway.

One of the biggest criticisms of the Occupy Movement was that the goals weren’t specific enough. What do these occupiers want? With KONY 2012, the criticism – in addition to the overly-inflated money concerns – is that this goal is too specific. Sure we’d be getting rid of Kony, but that won’t solve the real problems. God, it’s like people will use any excuse to not care! Your goal isn’t specific enough. Your goal is too specific. It’s like being stuck between a stubborn rock and an irrational hard place you wanna punch in the neck!

It’s funny, usually people are idealistic in their youth, and hardened and cynical in their “old age.” For me, the opposite has happened, and I find apathy and cynicism infuriating.

The thing is, KONY 2012 detractors have made this all about money, when the fact is, THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO THIS VIDEO THAN THAT. You don’t have to spend A DIME. On ANYTHING. The video isn’t a call to finances, it’s a call to ACTION, and that’s what detractors are missing. Giving a small amount of money is only one thing this video is asking you to do, and honestly, it’s the least important.

So often we’re totally happy to merely throw money at problems. Look how charitable I’m being! I gave all this money! But we don’t actually care where the money goes. We don’t follow up on it. If we did, we wouldn’t need people to tell us when organizations are being shady, because WE’D ALREADY KNOW. And when it comes to things like calling congresspeople or senators? When it comes to organizing people in our communities? When it comes to making phone calls, or registering voters, or merely SPEAKING UP to our friends about a cause we care about? We don’t do it.

Because it’s too much fucking work.

That’s something that’s been annoying me for a long time. Because I’m someone who wants to DO things about things! I don’t want to just write a check and call it a day. I want to be INVOLVED. And whenever I’ve tried to be involved and get others to be as excited, I feel like a cheerleader without a team. And it’s difficult to be a cheerleader with no one else holding you up in the pyramid!

Watch the video and share it. It costs you absolutely nothing. I think the video might inspire you to a) learn more about the plight of child soldiers, b) call your elected officials, c) take this issue into account when voting this year, d) take part in more grassroots organizing around this, or any other issue you’re passionate about.

And as for Kony, I think that ascertaining his whereabouts is a worthwhile goal for all of us this year. It is one thing we can focus on and help to accomplish. Even if Invisible Children is inflating their involvement in our government’s decision to send advisers to Uganda, or misusing funds, or any of the other charges thrown in their direction…what the video says about us living in an age when we can accomplish so much more because we are interconnected, and have a duty to care about the world beyond our borders? That is not wrong. That is the idea this video ultimately spreads.

That, not money, is what KONY 2012 is about.

“Crotchetiness With Teresa”: How Do These People Find Me? #1

Published February 10, 2012 by Teresa

As I write more things and Google shuttles my links around at the speed of light, I’ve noticed that people have come across my blog using some strange (sometimes disturbing) search terms. Sometimes, they’re actually looking for me, or my Evil Twin, “Teresa Jutsnio.” One person actually found my blog by looking up “Crotchetiness With Teresa” which is HILARIOUS, AND SHALL NOW BE THE TITLE OF THE TV SHOW I WILL HOST WHEN I’M OLD. So, I thought I’d start regularly sharing some of them with you. Because seriously…how do these people find me?!

Looking for Celebs in All The Wrong Places:

When people find me, chances are they’re actually looking for Matt Smith, Sasha Roiz, Alessandra Torresani, Lady Gaga, or Daniel Tosh. Which makes sense, as I’ve written about all those people at some point, sometimes more than once! However, there are some odd celeb-related searches…

“Matt Smith in drag” (14 searches), “Daniel Tosh feet” (9), “Sasha Roiz gay” (5), “Matt Smith kissing a boy” (5), “Lady Gaga hot body” (4), “Daniel Tosh toes” (3), “celebrity fuck Lady Gaga” (2), “is China Mieville a woman?” (1), “Matt Smith hearing aid” (1), “Billie Piper gets fucked in the ass” (1), “Jake Gyllenhaal santa hat” (1), “Hayley Williams ass” (1), “George Lucas dinner party” (1), “electric kiss Stefani Germanotta lesbian” (1), “Josh Hutcherson sexuality” (1).

A couple of things about these:

1) Looking up whether or not people are gay is really popular. So is looking up dirty pictures of female celebrities.

2) George Lucas apparently had a dinner party I was NOT invited to! (For shame, George Lucas!)

3) Someone out there has a Daniel Tosh foot fetish. Understandable. The guy has nice feet.

4) Everyone wants to know if guys are gay, or they’re looking up female celebrity asses. Either way, it’s all about the junk in one’s trunk and what gets done with it.

5) I’m not the only one who looks up pictures of Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead. Can you blame me? He’s insanely hot in that movie!

Since FOURTEEN PEOPLE found me because they were looking for Matt Smith in drag, allow me to oblige…

You’re welcome.

Should I Call The Police?:

Um, then there are these…

“sex with little sister” (3), “little girl genitals” (2), “pretty little girls non nude” (2), “oops you can see her pussy” (2), “little girl showing her pussy” (2), “perverts jacking off to little girls” (2), “woman who likes little girls” (2), “girl caged but no one can see” (2), “female pedophilia” (2), “teen girls making out sexiest video of women and women lesbian babes” (2), “pre-teen photo album for pedophiles” (1)

Yeeeah….just for future reference, I don’t condone sex with children. Just putting that out there. So…you know, if you’re looking for that….DON’T CLICK ON THE LINK TO MY BLOG! Kthxbye.

The Fun Kind of Perverts:

“orgy” (4), “lesbian orgy” (3), “bondage” (2), “vampire huge boobs” (2), “brunette big tits” (2), “big woman with sexy pussy” (1), “women showing their pussy” (1), “babe sex” (1).

Why yes, I AM a big woman with a sexy pussy. I am also a brunette with big tits. That said, I’m not showing any of it to you on the internet. I expect at least dinner and a movie before you get to see my goodies. I mean, that’s all about classiness and standards. And while I may or may not be interested in orgies or bondage, I’m definitely not a lesbian (sorry, ladies!).

Oddly Specific:

These folks clearly had very specific things in mind. Not that I always know what those things are, but still…

“drima work artist dide face expressions” (3), “corn flakes with orange juice” (2), “a pregnant mother taking care of her father” (2), “is it normal to have a cramp after sex?” (2), “my life my choices my mistakes my lesson not your business” (2), “justice for girls monkey” (1), “women with no arms” (1), “homeless baby alone” (1), “pregnant + monster + curves” (1)

First of all, if you have cramps after every time you have sex, you should probably see a doctor. Secondly, I agree that my choices ARE none of your business. Third, I wouldn’t recommend corn flakes with orange juice. It’s gross. I speak from experience. Fourth, pregnant + monster + curves = the best Doctor Who episode never written. Fifth, I would never leave a homeless baby alone. Sixth, I hope they find justice for that girl’s monkey. And lastly, what the hell are dide face expressions?

Well, that’s all for now! What’s funny is that I know exactly why people ended up at my blog by searching these terms, and usually it’s for reasons that are the complete opposite of why they searched them. In any case, tune in next month when I give you the next 30 days in crazy search terms. And remember, when you type something into Google, the world is watching, and we reserve the right to make fun of you. Or, call the cops.

#MenCallMeThings

Published November 8, 2011 by Teresa

I love Twitter, not just because I’m a social media junkie (though I sorta am), but because it’s so often on the pulse of important goings-on in the world. Yesterday, writer Sady Doyle started a hashtag that’s since been covered in The Guardian in the UK and Time Magazine here in The States. A hashtag with the purpose of highlighting the fact that female writers, particularly when they write about feminism or address inequality in any way, suffer the most vitriolic, violent, and hateful criticism online.

#MenCallMeThings

I first caught wind of it today, when artist Molly Crabapple posted about it, and it forced me to think about whether I’d been on the receiving end of such things. And I have. While I thankfully have never been threatened the way many other women have, I have been insulted and have had men try to undermine my intelligence online by being condescending. The article where they really started coming out of the woodwork was my piece called “Moffat’s Women: Amy and Her Skirt.” Here are some of the highlights:

“What an over reaction…the whole 5th season had Rory being treated quite poorly and Amy tried to cheat  on him more than once with the Doctor….and that’s acceptable to you apparently as humour?…just don’t mention her skirt. Sigh.”- Jessie1977

[NOTE: Notice how this person - who I'm assuming is male, because most women who disagree about stuff like this mention that they're female - ignores the point of my article by bringing in other stuff that I'm not even talking about?]

“Meh. I think you’re looking for an injustice where none exists….If you expect a gender bias, or an orientation bias, or a racial bias, or whatever kind of bias you prefer to stalwartly defend against, then you can usually find it.” -  BenPatient

[NOTE: Notice how the onus is put on the person looking for injustice, rather than on the injustice found. So, if I found it, that means I made it up? It's not real? It's all in my head? I'm crazy?]

“To make a big deal out of nothing. This is how it’s done.” - Tesse

[NOTE: Dismissing even the discussion about the fact that I was bothered by, yes, a small, but telling thing.]

“I once had an argument with a so-called feminist friend of mine who claimed that she wanted a huge engagement ring and a man SHOULD be wealthy enough to “look after her”… and yet she would tell men not to hold doors for her, or pull out chairs because she could “do it herself”. I told her she can’t have it both ways. You can’t pick and choose chivalry, that’s not how it works. I had a friend who’s fiance broke up with him because the ring he could afford, was too small. Seriously. There is a HUGE world of things to get upset over when it comes to the battle of the sexes, but a line on Doctor Who is NOT one of them.

As to what Moffat feels about BOTH sexes. Do yourselves a favour and find the 4 seasons of COUPLING that he wrote with his wife, as they illustrate ALL the stuff that BOTH men and women do wrong in propogating steroetypes about each other. It’s a two-way street that often I find women don’t want to look down their own side at. As is evidenced by my above-mentioned friend who has never forgiven me for showing her logic.” – Jessie1977 (again!)

[NOTE: Um, "she can't have it both ways?" Really? So, she either has to be TOTALLY dependent or TOTALLY self-sufficient and there's no inbetween? I'd hardly call that "logic." Also, once again, trying to derail my argument by bringing things into it that I'm not talking about! Also, the fact that he had to "show" his female friend "logic" kills me! And incidentally, I HAVE  seen Coupling, and while I enjoy it, it's also the most entrenched-in-gender-bias show I've ever seen, so bringing that in as an example, probably not a good idea.]

“This has to be one of the silliest arguments about one of the most innocuous jokes on the interwebs…Good Lord, people, Doctor Who is one of the most progressive shows on television. Let’s loosen up a bit. And as someone who works with domestic violence shelters and rape victims, I find these accusations of DW being part of a ‘rape culture’ highly offensive. Making those kinds of accusations about a show like this put the credibility of the accusers in question. But that’s just my opinion.”GeekToMe

[NOTE: There's no "injustice contest" going on! I wasn't trying to equate disparity in how female characters are portrayed on television with domestic violence and rape! Merely calling it out as being another symptom of the same problem - that women are not deemed as important as men. I love how this guy, because he works with domestic violence shelters - which is, indeed, admirable - thinks that qualifies him to dictate what women should or shouldn't be upset about with regard to sexism. That's the most backwards notion of "feminism" I've ever seen.]

“I guess if you wish to support the ‘supporting rape culture’ argument — which I was calling commenters out on, not you — then I guess I have to point to the fact that by posting the vids you are helping propegate said culture. I find a bit of irony in that. Again, this is the silliest. Argument. Ever.”GeekToMe

[NOTE: As if my posting them in this one article was the thing that was the tipping point. So, by that logic, his advice is to either not talk about it at all - because merely mentioning these things that upset me will make the problem worse. OR, talk about it without showing the videos. In which case, I leave myself open for someone else to come along and try to discredit what I'm saying by saying that I haven't provided any evidence or backed up my claims sufficiently. I can't win, it seems. No matter what I do, I propagate the thing I'm against. So I should just shut up. Right? Also, the argument might be "silly" to you, because it doesn't AFFECT you. It always seems "silly" when people "make a stink" about something that doesn't hurt you.]

“Look, It’s REALLY easy. If this scene had been reversed and Rory was ripped and muscled and took his shirt off distracting Amy…what do you think the Doctor would have done/said? Better yet what would ANYONE have done or said? Would he have said “Amy, get your crap together and stop oggling Rory, look what you did to the TARDIS”? Gods no, that’s not even remotely realistic. What he’d say is:

“Rory, put your shirt back on, you’re distractingPond”

There’s no point in trying to argue that…it’s what he would have said. So I fail to see how you think poorly of the line when Amy bears that brunt, when if it happened to Rory I’m sure it would be fine with you…at least according to your Harkness/Trope on head idea…haha!

But for some bizarre reason I am sure the feminist inside of you would find some other way to take issue with even that. So it seems you are bound and determined to label Moffat sexist or at least thathe made sexist comments. I hope he reads this and sees how very backwards you see the world.”Jessie1977 (he’s a genius, no?)

[NOTE: Oh, you're right! It IS really easy! Thank you, kind sir, for teaching me how to use my brain! Except that he's clearly deluded. If the roles WERE reversed in this case, it's more likely than not that Amy would've gotten reprimanded as a silly little oversexed girl. But REGARDLESS of what would happen if the situation were hypothetically reversed, my point is that it WASN'T reversed. That THIS happened, and THIS was what upset me, and I find it really interesting that he couldn't stay on topic, but insisted on bringing in all these other examples that had nothing to do with anything, and was clearly upset enough about my having an opinion to keep coming back with the same tired comments over and over to tell me how clearly stupid I am. And they say WOMEN are too emotional! :) ]

“I’m confused on why, “Pond…put some trousers on,” is not okay but flipping that with Jack is okay. Seems like a double standard to me. Sexism is sexism, is it not?” – AsheSaoirse

“Also, as a believer in equality, I still don’t see how a joke can be oppressive and sexist when applied to women yet funny and provocative when applied to men. If we really are equal, it should be funny or offensive either way. Turning an offence on its head can be an effective provocation, but it’s still offensive.” - Atrus

[NOTE: This is another interesting thing I've noticed. Guys suddenly care about the sexism they receive only when women bring up being upset about what they face. Do you know why they only bring it up then, and not at any other time? Do you know why "masculism" isn't a movement? Because the "sexism they face" doesn't affect them in their day to day lives, that's why. They live blissfully unaware of sexism until a woman complains about what she deals with EVERY DAY, then have the nerve to say "but I'm a victim of it, too!" First, no you're not. And second, so that makes it okay?! Because you're a "victim" and don't mention it, you expect women to do the same? Suddenly guys believe in "Total Equality" when they're called on their shit, skipping right over the part where they have to take responsibility for their actions, or deal with the same in kind. Let's make this journey to "Total Equality" as simple and painless and as comfortable for us as possible, shall we? Because we don't like being made uncomfortable! WAAAAAH! *calls waaaaaambulance*]

There’s more at the Tor post, but it’s more of the same. You can scroll through the comments if you want. However, there was apparently a comment that was worse that I never saw because it was deleted by one of my diligent Tor editors who then wrote to Jessie1977:

“Jessie1977 @77, not currently visible: Jessie, do you want to try rephrasing that in terms of the fiction, rather than the character of the author of the entry, or do you want me to let the first version stand but disemvowel those bits? It’s your choice.” - tnh, Moderator

I was thankful she did that, and glad I never saw what Jessie1977 said that was so bad tnh deleted it! Jessie1977 then accused her of being biased, and that what he said wasn’t that bad, and that this is some sort of evil feminist conspiracy, or somesuch nonsense. He then hits me a couple of paragraphs down with this:

“In my eyes (for a while now actually) I just think you are a feminist trying to get a point across without actually knowing what you are talking about. Your viewpoints are tilted in a way that makes you less able to opine about “sexism” and more inclined to male-bash from a feminist standpoint. A truly balanced idea about sexism wouldn’t condone it in any way shape or form and would see an equality across the board. “Levelling the playing field” in art and media would actually have the opposite affect of what you profess it would. It would not “balance” things out at all. It is a petty revenge tactic plain and simple. The fact that you don’t see that makes me feel sad that you were even given the quarter in which to express such a clearly lopsided opinion.”Jessie1977

[NOTE: see my note above about guys being "above" dealing with the nitty gritty of fixing the problems of sexism in the media by saying that women should just act as if it already exists, and that the reality will follow.]

And that’s all just from the comments on ONE ARTICLE.

My articles at Tor continue to take the representation of women in media into account, and that doesn’t sit too well with one of my readers, publishedauthors, who was so upset that his comment was deleted from one of my posts that he came to comment on my blog. He says:

“I’ve read everyone of your reviews and whether each one gets a good review hinges on the treatment of the women in the episode. I knew as soon as Amy was put upon by The Doctor you wouldn’t like the episode. It’s fine to want a stronge female character in the story but your pattern suggests you have a fixation on this, a fixation that needs to be addressed. I would suggest therapy. A television review is not the proper venue for you grind an axe.” – publishedauthors, in reference to my Tor review of “The God Complex”

[NOTE: Sooooo, reviews are supposed to be critical without criticizing the things we think are wrong? How does that work? Also, continuing to mention a problem that continues being a problem is apparently reason for therapy. Good to know. I wonder what this reader does deem the proper venue for criticism other than a piece of criticism...]

What gets me is that the mere bringing up of instances of sexism is enough to make men not only comment once to tell me how stupid I am, but to keep coming back to do it over and over again, despite the fact that I’m flat out telling them that I was offended. The response is never “Sorry you were offended,” but always “You shouldn’t have been offended.” Or, “you’re overreacting and stupid for being offended.”

Why is that always the knee-jerk reaction when a woman speaks up?

And really, that’s what all the comments above – and at the post – boil down to. Apparently, I’m stupid, illogical, emotional, and my opinion is worthless. Apparently, I don’t have the right to be upset about the things I see, because that would be overreacting. Apparently, all men are totally into gender equality, so we shouldn’t bring it up anymore, because there isn’t actually a problem, and we’re crazy for thinking otherwise. OR, we should only bring it up if there’s broken bones and blood involved, because sexism only matters as far as violence, and not the million and one societal things that allow for that violence. (It’s sending aid to foreign countries only when they’re starving, but caring very little about how they got that way in the first place, and whether or not we’re in any way to blame.)

Lastly, and I see this in the reaction to the #MenCallMeThings hashtag, a lot of guys seem to be getting offended by the hashtag because it “implies that ALL men feel that way or say stupid things.” No it doesn’t. What it isn’t implying, but flat out saying, is that it is ONLY men that say these things. Granted, there are many women who think that feminists make a big deal out of nothing, too, but they’re not generally the ones on the internet leaving vitriol for women writers that dare bring up feminism in what they write. So, the people who criticize the hashtag do so in the interest of not “alienating” men, or making them feel bad. You know what? As my good friend Eileen once told me, Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it! Perhaps instead of sheltering men from being made uncomfortable, we should demand – not ask – that they put their money where their mouths are and become more vocal if they are, indeed, not the men that make those hateful comments online. Keep your brothers in check, Gentlemen! Rather than criticizing us for making you feel bad, acknowledge that we have a reason to be upset and help! I would say “Be a man!”, but that statement is sexist. Instead, I will say, “Be a fucking adult!”

Guys, I know it’s difficult. You might be seen as a “pussy” or a “pansy” by your bros for speaking out on behalf of women. Here’s the thing. THIS is how sexism affects you! It’s forcing YOU to not act when you see something happening that you clearly know is wrong! It’s making YOU change your behavior to adhere to some arbitrary notion of what you’re supposed to be! Sexism controls how YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE. It’s not just a problem for women. It’s a problem for you, too.

And “being nice” just isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m tired of being nice about it.

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