Monday, June 30, 2008

Gloria Steinem is a Dinosaur

The shit hit the fan tonight at The Green Room on Bleecker, or at least it definitely seemed that way. I got there early and waited around in a group comprised of a strange combination of tourists, Jezebels and old guys. They had a ridiculously cheap special where you could get two beers and some pretzels for $5, which sounds awesome in theory but 1) I’m not 21 and I think they may have been carding and 2) Oh hi I’m BROKE. So I was sober, and also feeling like I’d reverted back to my old pro-ana ways because like I said I don’t have money and also don’t have food so like, I was dizzy and headachey the whole time. Anyway.

The first part was this comedy sketch that mocked the media, which was funny-ish, but seemed mildly forced. The second part was a little interview with the woman who hosts the show, Lizz Winstead (who is actually co-creator and ex-head writer of The Daily Show), with Moe and Tracie from Jezebel. What I expected to be a simultaneously light and enlightening conversation about sex and feminism turned into one of the most horrendous displays of girl-on-girl crime I’ve ever witnessed. Tracie and Moe were buzzed at the beginning but appeared to be fucking wasted by the end. Winstead kept hammering hard with questions about rape and promiscuity and abortion. It started out hilariously with the women discussing abortion, and upon Moe asking how many abortions Winstead had had in her life, she responded, “Oh, my sister calls me Terminator 3.” LOL.

After that things got intense. Like, really fucking intense, like I was shifting in my seat and people started heckling and it was in this bizarre little studio in the basement of this tiny theatre on Bleecker and Lafayette and some people were drunk and others (like me) were stone cold sober and some knew what Jezebel is and others didn’t and some didn’t even know anything about feminism while others appeared to be Gloria Steinem in costume. I feel like I can’t even really wrap my head around it yet because it was just so fucking intense.

What essentially happened is that the gloves came off and this idea, this basic idea that drives the notion of feminism - that women and men are equal - became so lost in the friction of fractionalized opinions, splintered conflicting ideas that became so convoluted that everyone lost sight of the fact that we can all be feminists - we can all be women - without thinking the same exact things. And instead of coming together to celebrate being women it completely became this Old Guard Feminism represented by Winstead vs. this New Wave Feminism represented by Moe and Tracie and Jezebel as a whole. It was as if all of the recent generational clashing in the feminist sphere came to a head and exacted its cruel, bloody revenge right in front of me at 10pm on a Monday night in SoHo.

There were three main arguments that stuck out.

First of all, there was the discussion of rape: I’ve always been relatively ambivalent concerning Tracie’s attitude about rape. She always takes a rather mocking tone, which is her nature as is evident in her posts, but sometimes it seems as if she just doesn’t get it. And it takes a lot for me to say that because this woman is essentially my Feminist Hero. Tonight, for example, she was talking about rape and arguing that free love means that you should be able to fuck anyone you want and not feel scared about it. And then Moe started talking about how rape happens more frequently in countries like Iraq and Iran where sexual desires are repressed. But rape is inherently a violent act, one about asserting power and aggression, and so why do societal attitudes about sex even play into it? If anything the rape rate is higher in these countries because of the negative attitudes towards women and the societally engrained notion that women are second-class citizens.

But the thing is that rape does happen in America, and Winstead was intent to drive this point home. One in four girls is sexually abused, and maybe women like Tracie don’t know anything about that because they just happen to be lucky. Perhaps they possess an intuition that helps them to ward off skeezy guys, but doesn’t it really essentially boil down to luck? Not being on the wrong street at the wrong time? Not knowing men who have it in them to rape you? Wearing a short skirt does not solicit rape. And so maybe luck does have something to do with it. I don’t think Tracie would argue against the concept that her flippancy concerning rape stems from the fact that she herself has never been raped. But it’s unfair to act like it doesn’t happen here just because men aren’t trying to rape you all the time. It does happen. All the fucking time. Edit: To be fair, as she pointed out in the comments of this post, Tracie was very skittish about discussing the topic of rape because she fully admitted she knows nothing about it. The whole discussion was just very awkward.

Branching off from that discussion about rape is the second argument: Moe wrote an article in the Washington Post a few weeks ago that basically served as a big Fuck You to upper-middle class white feminists (who say they’re going to vote for McCain because Clinton didn’t win the nomination) who are self-serving and selfish. After talking about this article, Moe got into this deeply poignant discussion about being date-raped when she was 19. It wasn’t poignant in that she was sentimentalizing it - just the opposite, it seemed like she wanted us to believe that it wasn’t this big deal, making jokes about it, swigging her beer between punch lines. It was bizarre to me, how flippantly she, too, treated the issue of rape. I can understand Tracie doing so to some extent since she has never been in that situation, but for someone who has had the experience of being sexually taken advantage of, you would think that might change your mind in a lot of ways. And so it was poignant because Moe seemed to be unable to recognize that rape is a big deal, and was obviously a big deal to her, no matter how much of a show she was putting on pretending that it wasn’t. Or - maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it isn’t a big deal to her - after all, she didn’t press charges because she claimed he didn’t “seem like the kind of guy who would rape again,” and in that case it’s even more poignant simply because rape is inherently a big deal, a life changing, massively big deal, and here is this girl who has been raped a bunch of times acting like it’s not.

And Winstead had a problem with that, too, because Moe was bitching about the Old Guard feminists being so self-serving but here was Moe refusing to press charges on her rapist in a totally selfish manner because according to her “it’d just be too much work,” and thus allowing this guy to roam free potentially preying on other drunk women.

And then when it came to talking about sexism in politics, particularly in regard to Hillary Clinton, Moe said something that I do really agree with: She said that she doesn’t feel oppressed in the same way that other people who experience prejudice do. Does sexism exist? Sure. Do we encounter it every day? Definitely. But it doesn’t affect our everyday lives in the nuanced and petulant ways that it did the Old Guard. And so picking out every instance of sexism that occurs in the election or in our lives is not only counterproductive, but also vaguely counterintuitive. And then Tracie called Gloria Steinem a dinosaur and that’s when the shit really hit the fan because someone hissed and people around me were groaning like, “What the fuck are these women doing?” and I became so alarmed I thought my throat was closing up because these are my heroes and they were fucking drunk on stage voicing opinions that I agree with, but voicing them poorly, voicing them so poorly that I wanted to run up and desperately clarify what they meant. Because I do know what they mean, because I do read Jezebel every day, and I know that they’re not these dumb drunk girls and that they do actually know what they’re talking about.

And so Winstead replied to Moe and Tracie and me and every girl in my generation who feels that we are not oppressed: You are not oppressed because women like Gloria Steinem changed the world so you would never have to feel that way!

And it’s true. And that’s the problem with feminism, is that there are so many offshoots and we just end up fucking arguing about the same dumb shit when really we should be coming together to fight the Man - quite literally - in order to curb all oppression, however subtle it may be. But instead we bicker drunkenly in dark, dank theatre spaces and the Old Guard feminists harbor such tremendous resentment at the lack of appreciation the New Wavers’ show, and the New Wavers are just so fucking sick of the Old Guard bitching that we have all but turned a blind eye to sexism and instead proclaim ourselves now equal, sexually free, powerful, beautiful women, all the while forgetting this sense of history that has driven us to coalesce in this moment as all-together Feminists. And that really fucking depresses me.

So I guess it's true what they say: never meet your heroes. At least not when they're drunk.

-Jess

Edit: I also wanted to clarify that this show was supposed to be a COMEDY show, which explains why all the intensity took me by surprise, and also kind of explains why Moe and Tracie weren't necessarily prepared. I don't think any of us were ready for the maelstrom of seriousness hurled at the panel/audience.

UPDATE: Due to all the recently linkage, specifically from The Huffington Post, please consider What I Know (For Now)

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

But do they really know what they're talking about? I enjoy Jezebel, but most of the time it seems like the editors do not really put that much thought into reconciling modern life with feminism. I'm younger than them, and it angers me when a woman throws around the word feminist to justify her life choices: having lots of consequence-free sex doesn't de facto make you a feminist!

You're right about the arguing thing--progressives in general are brought down by not being able to present a unified front, but GODDAMN, calling Gloria Steinem a dinosaur?!? Is she trying to not be taken seriously? Because these are important things, and she's almost 30. I don't know, it's just really disappointing to hear.

LOLSAM said...

everyone has bad (read: drunk) nights, it's just unfortunate when it's televised.

Carol said...

Hey there,
I work on the show and I just wanted to thank you for this recap. It actually puts it in a better light for me. It was a very tense, uncomfortable discussion, but now that I read what you wrote, it seems worthwhile. I think both sides had more in common than came out. In fact, one of things we've dealt with extensively on the show is the absolutely insanity of any woman switching her vote to McCain because she's upset that Hillary didn't get the nom. I wish they'd been able to get more into that at the end. Thanks again for coming to the show and for this post.

Im tired of missing these events said...

Another event that I wanted to go and you typed notes for! Amazing.

Shucks, should i feel better that I didn't go? Im a big fan of Tracie, sometimes Moe. Don't get me wrong, they're smart and witty individuals, but I feel as if their jobs are slowly deteriorating their rationality. When you're exposed to such asshole commentary or simply comments that disapprove with what you believe/think, chances are you're going to develop a thick skin and simply shut out everything but what you agree is right. I suppose its just human nature to do that, but unfortunately for them, the 30's are just inching closer and with that, I think some rationality would come in handy. ugh, is that a sexist comment?

Vanessa said...

Jess,
Just one more post that got me so hard. I had no hope of going to this event, obviously (woo suburbia!) but I desperately wanted to because I feel the same way you do (I think) about feminism and about Tracie and Moe. This post is really disappointing to read, but I think (hope) Sam is right in just saying that some people just have bad/drunk nights and it's unfortunate this one turned out to be such a public forum. I think the point you make that is really necessary to remember is that sexism today is not what sexism was, and the people (feminists, women, men, whoever) who make out "women suffering" to be as emotionally trying as other prejudiced groups are looking to be picked on, in my opinion. The "fight" is not over, but like you say, the fight at this point should be for ultimate freedom and equality for everyone, and that is a huge change from the days when the fight was HELLO WOMEN ARE PEOPLE TOO GIVE US A VOTE. I mean I don't know. I think all the women who speak out and voice their opinions loudly and proudly, whether I agree with them or not, should be commended...but when it turns into a situation like the one you describe, I can't help but feel like we're ultimately defeating ourselves.

Sorry meeting your heroes was such a let down, but thank you for this post...it gave me a lot to think about this morning.

booger boy said...

I was at the show last night. This recap of events makes it sound like an actual discussion had occurred. In reality, they came off as total drunken douchebag disasters, and not even in a tongue-in-cheek way. Don't get me wrong, I loved every minute. Matt Stone and Trey Parker couldn't come up with something so hilariously deranged. But to pretend that these two are even remotely able to carry on an intellectual conversation is totally disingenuous.

Jess and Josh said...

I guess that's the point I'm trying to get across: I've seen them both carry on highly intelligent and nuanced conversations before, which is why I was both disappointed and vaguely outraged at their behavior. You're right, it didn't end up being a discussion. I don't know if it was the alcohol or nerves or what, but it didn't paint a very rosey picture of new wave feminism or Jezebel, that's for sure.

-Jess

tracie egan said...

hey, i wasn't the one who was talking about rape and iraq and iran and all that jazz. i really, really, really didn't want to talk about rape, and i said so on stage. i also admitted that i can't relate to the whole issue because i've never been raped, and couldn't begin to understand what that's like. i felt like i was being attacked for being promiscuous, and by that point i was LOADED. (the segment is called thinking and drinking.) i thought this was a comedy show so i didn't think things would get like that. but yeah, i'd appreciate it if you changed that stuff about the rape stuff, because i was trying to keep my mouth shut during that whole discussion. (at one point, i even put my head in my hands.)

Jess and Josh said...

Tracie:
Yeah I tried to mention that you were obviously skittish about the topic of rape and I did feel really bad for you when they kept bringing it up. The whole thing ended up becoming this circus, and it made me nervous for you and Moe and everyone, and it just became so intense I felt almost like I was watching someone's private fight and not at a show at all. I'll edit my post so that the whole rape issue is clarified.

Jess
PS I'm freaking out a little bit that you read this, being my "Feminist Hero" and all.

tracie egan said...

ha, well sorry to have disappointed. and that thing about gloria steinem being a dinosaur was a reference from an old issue of bust magazine, where i used to work. but obvs no one got that.

Jess and Josh said...

It's okay, I'm sure this week's Pot Psychology will absolve any and all disappointment. For the record: I thought it was funny you called her a dinosaur, and yeah, it was because she doesn't know how to use a computer which essentially does make her a dinosaur. People got really angry. It was not the vibe I was expecting.

whoa said...

is it just me, or is this like a HOLY SHIT MOMENT for Jessandjosh?

Slut machine lives!

Jess and Josh said...

DEFINITELY A HOLY SHIT MOMENT

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jess, but Tracie probably has a Google NewsAlert or somesuch to let her know when there is a posting/news article with her name in it. It's a common practice among egomaniacs.

Maureen said...

Hi, it's Moe, and anonymous, we had some people -- acquaintances of Jess and Josh perhaps? -- send this to the tip line, much to the delight of our colleagues who couldn't make it. I will concede that I was taken aback by the discussion topics; I'd been told to prepare to talk about the election and China. I don't know why we so belabored the subject of rape, but honestly, thank god for alcohol or I might be permanently scarred from both experiences.

LOLSAM said...

anonymous is awfully rude.
1. way to shit all over a happy moment.
2. way to label someone you don't know an egomaniac.

Jess and Josh said...

Moe - Yeah, I figured they ended up blindsiding you ladies with some ridiculous questions. Having to talk about rape for like 30 minutes on a segment called "Thinking and DRINKING" is pretty cruel.

And anonymous - I'd prefer, if you have a personal problem with Tracie, to keep it off of Jess and Josh. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Were you guys paying attention at all?

Moe- the topic was belabored because you continued to speak about rape after the moderator (Winstead) asked you specifically to stop.

Maureen said...

My bad then! Maybe I was just a little defensive over getting chastised by said moderator for not reporting said rape to the authorities?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you were just drunk, Moe.

Also- BLINDSIDED?
1- Questions were coming from the audience, not just the moderator.
2- You were not being asked about your personal rape. You were being asked about blogging and responsibility to your readers. Nobody knows why you went down that road.

Maureen said...

Just couldn't help myself, I guess! Actually, I clearly remember why I initially went down that road, which was to display the diversity we have on staff; Tracie volunteered that she hadn't been raped and didn't feel responsibility for representing victims in her actions, and I wanted to point out that I have, and that we take it seriously, and that a lot of girls get raped, and that, sure, certain lifestyles correlate to that sort of victimhood. Perhaps what was so difficult to watch is that the experience of watching someone sufficiently lubricated to babble nonsensically onstage about date rape makes it entirely too possible to imagine exactly how it was she got date raped in the first place. I am just hypothesizing here. I do know that I made it home okay. I even washed my face before bed. Gloria Steinem died on the cross so I could be the victim of my own oppressors I guess. Sorry you guys had to watch! But perhaps it was a teachable moment.

darbi said...

Darbi here, from Shoot the Messenger. First of all, thanks to everyone who was there and, Jess, for your thoughtful response to last night. We've all been talking about it non-stop. Lizz and I were both up all night thinking about it. I love Jezebel and I love Tracie and Moe. I'm the one who booked them on the show and who did the pre-interview. We attempted several times to do a pre-interview with Moe...no response. Tracie, I have to remind you that you told us, in the pre-interview, that rape was a big topic on the site. However, Lizz didn't ask about rape. Lizz asked about your responsibility in reference to the sexual freedom you write about so much. The conversation accelerated from there.

Most of our guests take a look at previous interviews and know that the conversation is often very serious. We work under the assumption that our guests know the format of the show.

As uncomfortable as it was, I am happy the conversation came up because it's important.

Jess and Josh said...

I thought it was very teachable, Moe. Even if it was palpably awkward and strained at some points, and even if you and Tracie were ridic wasted (jealous) at least it raised some thoughtful discussion in some areas.

Darbi - Thanks for the comment. I was happy to attend.

Anonymous said...

Hire Jess to write for Jezebel! That is all.

Vanessa said...

I don't care what anonymous said or how Tracie/Moe found this blog, this is definitely a holy shit moment! YAY JESSANDJOSH!

Mazi said...

holy shit indeed...

Anonymous said...

you're not alone

http://eatfreecake.blogspot.com/2008/07/shoot-messenger-with-jezebel-gals.html

barrylank said...

I'm another staff member of the show. It's worth reiterating that Steinem was called a dinosaur specifically because she didn't use a computer, and some in the audience took that comment a little more broadly than it was initially intended. But Winstead definitely didn't blindside these two in the interview. Matter of fact, the first ten minutes were funny and friendly. But then the conversation -- seemingly under its own power -- turned to rape ... and just stayed there ...

Jess for Jez? said...

I don't know Jess personally, alls im saying this is a pretty insightful article/review of an event i really wanted to attend.

Anonymous said...

ohhkay, re: dinosaur comment, i get that it was taken out of context, i didn't realize it wasn't a snide comment. thank you for clarifying, i couldn't imagine either tracie or moe saying anything like that seriously (which is why it was sad to hear).

Colette said...

I wasn't there, but it seems like Moe and Tracie got blindsided. I'm sure it didn't help that they were shithouse drunk. The topic of rape is very controversial. It's like talking about abortion. They were doomed from the start. Anything they said was going to stir some kind of controversy. The subject was too provocative, espesh for a comedy show. Wtf?

Darbi said...

darbi again.,,

I have to jump in and remind you of tow things:

1. Lizz didnt blindside them with anything. Tracie said, in the pre-inteview that rape was a huge topic I conversation on the site. Lizz repeatedly tried to steer re conversation away from "rape's not a big deal...there are no rapists in NYC) to something more productive. I asked a question that had nothing to do with rape. And still the horrifying conversation continued. The gasps of dismay and comments like, "stop talking, PLEASE!" were not coming from our regular fans, but from jezebel readers. In fact, one of Moe's good friends appoached Lizz after the show and thanked her for the way she handled it and for calling Moe out on her misguided and sad stance on rape.

2. While the first half of the show is a satire, the second half is a serious conversation (albeit often peppered with snark and humor). Previous topics have included torture, human slavery and stolen elections. If Tracie or Moe had taken fifteen minutes to look at our website (which I sent to them weeks before their appearance) they would have known exactly what to expect.

LOLSAM said...

i read that first as "stolen erections," ha.

Anonymous said...

JESS I am so proud of you and I don't even know you! I've been reading your blog this whole year and know how much you look up to the writers of Jezebel. Once again this was such a HOLY SHIT! moment...aaah!

JEZEBEL...HIRE JESS AND JOSH!

HOLY SHIT indeed said...

wasnt this taped? The public, and the loyal yet lurking readers of JessandJosh, deserve the truth!

Anonymous said...

The fact that someone even considers Tracie to be their "feminist hero" is really, really scary. Having a lot of unprotected sex, victim-blaming, and being too cool for school does NOT make anyone a feminist.

I'm 28, and these ladies just continue to embarrass and disappoint me. And I'm a freaking star commenter on Jezebel!

haley said...

Jess, I totally would have gotten you a beer on Monday had I not just come across your blog this morning.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to agree with the most recent anonymous. I enjoy Tracie and Moe...but I am 28, and I see them as peers talking about familiar issues and cultural references. NOT HEROES.

There is not really anything heroic in their way of life, though...sorry ladies (I do think you're cool).

Having lived it to some extent, enjoyed my little experiments and fuckups, and left it all to be, well, somewhat more traditional but greatly less conventional... for some of us, and maybe you, all that is very very hollow.

Just know yourself, Jess. If it is excessive drinking and promiscuity you are looking for, more power to you, but there are lots and lots of other ways to feel empowered and fulfilled... these are probably the most thoughtless and potentially damaging ways.

You're a great, thoughtful writer, Jess - think hard!

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing. The job of the host is to steer a conversation or interview. Lizz and/or the staff knew where the interview was going to go once it started down that path. Anyone halfway competent would. The interview was kept there purposefully to generate "buzz" and most likely paint Tracie and Moe in a poor light. Or is anyone seriously going to tell me that Lizz has such poor skills as an interviewer on her own show that she couldn't just change the subject? I thought not. Ergo the direction was kept there for a reason.

Also all feminists, both old guard and new wave, need to realize that PEOPLE have CHOICES. Yes, even ones with which you may not necessarily concur. Maybe Moe didn't deal with her rape in the way that others think she should have. Maybe her callousness about the whole incident is a front, and maybe it's not. But to be blunt IT'S HER CHOICE WITH HOW TO DEAL WITH IT. And to be quite honest I am not sure where ANY of you have any right or place to criticize her on how she wants to deal or cope with it.

You don't have to agree, but so many people fought for her right to have her own opinion I think it's fairly pathetic to call her "misguided" or be derisive about her method of coping. Here's an idea, how about some empathy and respect instead?

Darbi said...

This is the last comment I'm going to make on this topic. If you saw re interview, you know that izz attempted to change the subject several times and said something to the effect of, "you're digging yourself into a hole here, you really need to stop." I also attempted to steer the conversation in a different direction by asks g about old guard feminism. Somehow, Moe kept coming back to the mess.

When the footage is released, you'll be able to judge for yourself, but I can tell you,without reservation, that the intent of the interview was never to place these women in anything but a positive light. If you could've been privy to my talk with Lizz before the show, you would know that she went out of her way to attempt to make these guests look good. Any negative light shone upon them came from themselves and themselves alone.

Anonymous said...

Okay... So rape means sex you DON'T WANT to have. These idiots "feminists" are confusing rape for sex they WANT to have (e.g. guys who live in Williamsburg, all of whom they find attractive, more or less). Believe me, when they finally get raped by the gang of stinky toothless homeless men living in the sewer they'll understand this distinction.

Elle Driver said...

What's with the complete 180? Is it because Moe and Tracie themselves actually commented on your article, that you've done a sudden about-face?

It's no longer "my heroes were fucking drunk and voicing their opinions poorly", but rather "Winestead blindsided them with shit."

I loved your recap up until your edited disclaimer.

Jess and Josh said...

Elle:
All I can really say is this --
http://jessandjoshtalk.blogspot.com/2008/07/what-i-know-for-now.html

I wish I could be more articulate on the issue, I just don't know how I feel about things at this point. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Jess

Anonymous said...

Jess, I came to your blog from Huffingtonpost. I am very impressed with your writing and your very insightful remarks regarding the interview.

Unfortunately, it appears you are star struck and feel the need to back peddle after your heroes posted to your blog.

You had it right the first time. Trust yourself and stay true to yourself, girlfriend. Stay true to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I just watched the video on Shoot the Messenger, and I am absolutely repulsed by Tracie and Moe's nonchalant attitude toward rape and the women who have been raped. I gave them the benefit of the doubt before I saw it, and I wish I never had. I used to love reading Tracie Egan's blog, but now I'm completely disgusted by her. These "women" are role models for young women everywhere!! What are they doing??!!

Lizz Winstead was right on the money when she used the term "lucky" to describe the fact that Tracie has never been raped before. And yet, Tracie continued to babble on and on about how she's really intuitive and smart; therefore how could she be raped - especially in Williamsburg!

I've never been raped (thank God), but I know women who have been. I know what they've been through psychologically, and I've seen how much damage it's done to their psyches and their personal lives. For she and Moe to get up there and try to be all funny and make light out of rape and infer that women who have been raped are not "intuitive" enough is reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you're really screwed up in the head if these soulless bimbos are your idea of a "feminist hero."

And for any of these supposed sophisticates to not understand what rape means is scary. And they contribute to society's degradation.

Anonymous said...

You never should have edited this entry. Your points were valid, and you let Tracie and Moe intimidate you into backtracking.

"To be fair, as she pointed out in the comments of this post, Tracie was very skittish about discussing the topic of rape because she fully admitted she knows nothing about it. The whole discussion was just very awkward."

If Tracie doesn't know anything about rape then SHE SHOULD SHUT HER FUCKING MOUTH. I'm fucking sick of that attention whore.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to say this although I know nobody wants to hear it. There's nothing cute or funny about getting totally fucked up to the point where you're making an idiot out of yourself. I was a hardcore drunk ("party girl") and cokehead throughout my 20s and I've been sober for three years now, and it has made an enormous difference to my clarity and ability to have intellectual discussions. I used to get loaded before important events and make a fool out of myself ALL THE TIME, and then I got my shit together.

I think addiction/drunkenness is a feminist issue for a variety of reasons. I think women are judged WAY more harshly than men for enjoying drugs/libations and I think the War on Drugs/drug sentencing laws are totally classist and racist and awful. But on the other hand I think that there's a reason why some women self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, and a lot of the time it has to do with not wanting to deal with something else, or having all this crazy mental energy that the world discourages you from using.

"Partying" is so glamorized for young women, but it's not good for our mental health- beside the very real deleterious effects of drinking, the people/dudes who tend to "party" a lot tend to be superficial and shallow. I'm guessing that Tracie especially could benefit from a step away from the hipster kool-aid and a bit more seriousness of purpose.

Angela said...

Wow, I really wanted to like this post, but blaming a rape victim for subsequent rapes committed by the same dude? Really? Because he is somehow incapable of making the choice NOT TO RAPE PEOPLE? Disappointing, seriously.

Jess and Josh said...

Angela - to clarify - I am not the one blaming Moe for not holding her rapist accountable. I was simply summing up Winstead's arguments in that paragraph. At the event, she said that it was in some part Moe's responsibility to prosecute the man who raped her so that he would not rape others. That is not my point of view.

Anonymous said...

i loved the original post. it was you and it was your interpretation of the event. you sounded angry, confused, and just plain REAL. and holy shit huffington post?!!

enjoy paris?

Broad said...

Oooooooo, a "freaking star commenter!" You get a cookie!

Guh.

Ok, so after watching the clips Lizz posted, there's no question Tracie and Moe were out-of-their-mind shitcanned, and that's bad form absolutely. But I'm not sure I'm ready to completely vilify them for anything other than that or to accuse them of being an abomination against all womankind. I mean, in anything Moe's ever written about her rape, it seems like she's put distance to it, that it's not all consuming to her anymore, so why would her demeanor be such a shock? As someone who also never prosecuted her date-rapist, I say, "Good on her; she's moved to a place where she can deal." Not everyone can, of course, but does that mean everyone who has had a rape experience SHOULDN'T get to a good place? I can remember a few weeks ago when several Jez commenters piled on a woman who said she used humor to get through her pain as if she were a mutant or something.

Again, they were tremendously drunk and embarrassing, and I can understand people being annoyed by that. Otherwise, meh.

Angela said...

Jess, thanks for the clarification. It makes me so incredibly angry when people put that responsibility on the victim. Winstead seems to want to have a feminist discussion about this incident; maybe she should stop with the antifeminist rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recap, Jess. I was really kicking myself for missing this, but now I'm glad I did.

Jezebel isn't perfect, but I appreciate the fact that it strives to be unlike most of the other media that's marketed to women. It isn't stupid, but it doesn't act as though smart women can't appreciate a frivolous post, either.

Tracie and Moe are incredibly talented and smart women when discussing topics that fall into their areas of interest and experience, but sometimes their behavior is disappointing, to say the least. And it makes me sad. I don't think of them as feminist heroes. Like some of you said earlier, I think of them as really clever, entertaining peers. But they have the potential to become feminist heroes to some people some day, and I'm really sad that they squandered this opportunity to get people to see things in a different light for once, the same way they do on Jezebel.

However, the fact that they aren't on point all the time doesn't make them "enemies of womanity."

Anonymous said...

If a vapid craptastic paen to bad behavior like GOSSIP GIRL is using Jezebel to pimp their odious philosophy, then yes, it is just like most media marketed to insecure women. And these ladies are in no way feminists. They're barely humanists.

Anonymous said...

So the new wave feminist hero is someone that is proud of her herpes and gonorrhea since "eventually everyone is going to get it," educates young girls on how to get speed online so they can remain thin, and thinks rape is no big deal? "Slut Machine" aka Tracie is one piece of work.

What a sad state of affairs for the youth in this country.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I'm really appalled by what was said and do feel differently about Jezebel right now. I need a breather.

Thrilla said...

In regards to Moe's "flippant" comments about her own rape, sometimes when major life changing things happen the best way to deal with it is by making jokes or dismissing it. It's similar with the issue of being a survivor or a victim or refusing to label yourself at all. I've never found myself in a situation like Moe's but I've had other events in my life that for me the best way to heal is similar to Moe's.

Nicole said...

I'm not trying to be mean, but you really might want to cast a wider net for feminist heroes. There are women AND men way more deserving of your admiration.

Also, rape=oppression. Women face violence and discrimination when choosing to express their sexuality, in ways men do not. Meaning: 1. Women are still oppressed
2. Women do not yet have "sexual freedom," no matter how many hipster douchebags they drunkenly bed in order to convince themselves otherwise

Shanna said...

I'm really glad to have found your blog (though not for this reason).

I think -even with the edits- you've pretty much summed up what I'm feeling after watching the interview and listening to the comments, I feel both like Tracie and Moe were a bit blindsided and in their attempts to keep it light, their drinking, and their propensity towards being balls-out honest, bit them in the ass. End of story. They're young, they'll learn (hopefully)

Also, sorry but Lizz did bring it back to rape (Moe hopped on it with that horrible date rape story, so sad) so she's definitely not the skilled interviewer people here are claiming.

Deb said...

Jess, Yours was the first account of the show I read after reading Lizz's callout on HuffPo. It is perhaps the most real account that I've read before or since. I held off on commenting until I was able to watch the entire show, and I'll say this - the sound bytes pulled out of the tape do not -begin- to reflect what you see if you watch the entire show. There was bad behavior all around, and the two Jezebels came across mostly as... well.. uninformed about important topics.

On the other hand, in those last ten minutes when Moe was talking about having been raped and her reaction to it, I wanted to reach through the screen and shake Lizz Winstead. As someone who recently had my own 'oh, fuck' moment regarding a rape that happened years ago (20 years in my case), I saw a girl who was suddenly shaken to the core. She wasn't blandly discussing something that's 'just a story I tell' - you could hear the anger and pain in her voice when she talked about confronting her rapist the next day. For just a couple of seconds, Lizz seemed to realize what she was seeing, and she stepped in with a 'let's get him' comment... but then she let her agenda overcome her humanity. I was thoroughly disappointed and -furious- when she started lecturing Moe on her responsibility to keep other girls from getting raped.

I understand your anger, and I applaud you for putting it into such a relevant, cogent post. I also applaud your 'What I know now' post. Thank you for letting us in on your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

this is not changing my views on Moe and Tracie. I think these girls are the shit. they made a mistake, got too drunk, didn't take the topics serious enough... big fucken deal!!! yes they represent the readers and editors at jezebel but we all know from reading the blog everyday that these girls are highly intelligent and this wasn't their shining moment. everyone needs to calm down and stop attacking them. obvs winstead was going to edit the shit out of that video and make it worse.

Anonymous said...

In response to Angela...

why would you be mad at anyone who reprimanded Moe for not turning in her rapists? she's clearly NOT a victim, because rape is no big deal to her. so why would you worry about someone asking her why she didn't do it.

she's can't be a victim and not at the same time.

Michelle from Boston said...

Don't read Jezebel, didn't see the show BUT I just wanted to tell you how I know what you mean about the Old Guard vs New Guard and how depressing all the infighting is. I attended a feminist conference in Harvard a couple of months back and at the talks, to hear this aggression and hostility from one group talking to the next - and me attending as a feminist from a different country that just doesn't have this sort of polarizing situation - it was truly shocking and very disheartening. I mean, at some point I thought these women would start throwing punches at each other - there was so much hostility!

Paula said...

I guess I can't really believe that there is anyone defending them. They're horrible. They are incoherent, offensive, irresponsible, and terribly unprofessional.

I like this blogger's (below) take on it, and believe that they deserve the heat on this:
http://inbetweenwaves.blogspot.com/

Michelle said...

Well for JessandJosh I'd say this whole fiasco is the "money shot" wouldn't you say? The blogosphere is buzzing. Lots of linkbacks coming here. Too bad most of it is to talk about the backpedaling that was done after the Jezebels showed up.
I am not one to villafy anyone. I just think that if they'd done even a little research about the show they were doing, they might not have showed up to a public place, to tape a live show, in a professional capacity, to represent their publication, trashed and unable to carry on an articulate conversation with the shows host.
But for me that is really neither here nor there. The real issue that has grown out of this for me, is the realization that there are too many women in America who have no fucking clue what it means to be a feminist.
Sad. Really.

Anonymous said...

I too can't believe that anyone would defend their behavior. There is no way you can substantiate what happened or what was said. There is no such thing as being "blindsided" when pre-interviews and topic lists were discussed. AND getting obliterated BEFORE a live interview is just plain irresponsible.

abiola said...

Jess,
Happy to have found your blog albeit for rather messy reasons! By the way, the wonderful woman who writes about Women's Issues for About.com has also linked to your posts saying that you were an inspiration. Be your own hero.
Upward & Onward
xo

Jess and Josh said...

Abiola - thank you so much for linking me to that. It's surprising and very flattering.

Jess

Anonymous said...

great post. until you backpedalled.

Ultimo Franco said...

"Never meet your heroes. At least not when they're drunk."

You left out the part that goes: "And never edit your own thoughtful opinions just because your heroes comment on your blog."

Congrats! You finally made it to the big time! You've become part of the story! Maybe no one will notice your hypocritical backpedaling. Your initial post made sense until you fucked it all up by gushing over your own two seconds of e-fame. Nice job selling yourself out for absolutely no damn reason. Next time, try not to act so fucking star-struck. It's almost as embarrassing as those two idiot from Jez babbling their way through their drunken interview.

Yup, you finally made it! NOW GO THE FUCK AWAY.

Jess and Josh said...

I wouldn't say I've "made it," and this post was never even written in an attempt to become "part of the story." I didn't even realize this would *become* such a big story. That said, I took (http://jessandjoshtalk.blogspot.com/2008/07/what-i-know-for-now.html) and take full responsibility for backpedaling, which I obviously regret doing. If you wanted to grill me for that - which you have every right to do - it'd be nice if you could do so in a respectful way, or at least act like a fucking decent human being while doing so. If you don't want to read what I have to say, perhaps you should consider... not reading my blog. Thanks.

Ultimo Franco said...

I didn't say you wrote the post in "an attempt" to become part of the story, nor did I say that you wrote it knowing it would "become" a big story.

I said that once it *did* become part of the story (the moment your "feminist heroes" graced your blog and started blaming Lizz for their own pathetic behavior) you practically gushed e-love all over them like a squirting porn star who's just met Marylin Chambers.

Suddenly, your initially thoughtful comments (please take note, that's the second time I've used that complimentary adjective) needed more thought. Suddenly you didn't know "how I feel about things at this point." Suddenly you were "still trying to figure it all out."

That sudden change of heart wouldn't have anything to do with this being a "HOLY SHIT" moment, would it?

Telling someone who says you fucked up (when you yourself admit to fucking up) that perhaps they shouldn't read your blog is kinda overly defensive. What, did I use too many mean nasty words? Please grow a pair, Jess.

I do agree with your dopey heroes that Gloria Steinem may in fact be a dinosaur. In fact, I think she might be a fucking T-Rex. After all, neither one of them would give a shit if a blog commenter dared to tell them to "go the fuck away." They're much much bigger than that.

Next time you accidentally find yourself becoming part of the story, whether it was your intention or not, try not to screw it up so fast. This post of yours set a new record for shark jumping.

Jess and Josh said...

Actually, instead of getting upset, they would probably just ban the commenter, since that's what they did at Jezebel when people expressed any sort of dissent or displeasure concerning T&D.

I mean, you're right in a lot of ways. I do need to buck up. I fully admit that. I'm working on it. I'm 20, this is the first time I've written anything that anyone has truly been interested in, I fucked up, etc. Shit happens. I've atoned by way of vicious commenters/public shaming and my own personal guilt. So next time (if there is a next time) maybe I'll be okay with calling people out on their shit, even if they read it.

tinseltown said...

Actually, instead of getting upset, they would probably just ban the commenter, since that's what they did at Jezebel when people expressed any sort of dissent or displeasure concerning T&D.

Ugh, this is exactly why I don't comment on Jezebel. I would feel like I had to edit my comments so that none of the editors' egos would be potentially bruised. Tracie's childishness in particular makes it impossible to have an honest and open conversation in the comments section.

It's incredibly unfortunate, because they are really good at finding stimulating topics to write (and talk) about. I often find stories there I would probably not have found otherwise, especially in the leftovers category.

Jess, I think you are incredibly articulate and intelligent blogger, and I hope you don't let anyone's comments make you feel differently.

Theresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa said...

Why has Tracie Egan's non-experience with rape become some a popular defense for her transgressive comments? "Oops, forget all that I have just said, I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about as I have never been raped!"

Experience alone is not what informs (nor ought to inform) our understandings/analyses about issues such as rape (and all other subjects, of course).

We work with basic premises: to draw the line between consent and coercion, we have established that "no means no" which makes characteristics of the woman (e.g. her choice of skirt length, her talents of "intuition," inebriation/sobriety) irrelevant. This is the cerebral part of understanding rape - and Tracie Egan didn't have to have been sexually assaulted in the past to get that.

But she didn't get that which makes her a failure as a feminist. What's more is that it reveals that underneath all of the sex-positive feminism she touts is nothing more than vacuous hedonism. Go choose another hero, girls, because the empress has no brains.