Media accountability and feminist ethics

Last night’s incident with Helen Lewis only highlighted what I’ve been going on about for the past few weeks: certain corporate feminist mass media has become an unethical pursuit that lacks accountability towards the demographics they claim to represent. When Lewis calls the shit I write on the internet “everything that is wrong with certain strands of feminist blogging”, she is not simply a white woman on twitter with her little opinions that she shares with her friends. She is the editor of a major publication in the English language, one of the gatekeepers who sets the public feminist agenda. She is using her authority and her title (editor at New Statesman) to put those women she perceives to be beneath her in their places. It’s not that we are a threat to her authority, it’s just that we are cheap targets she can use to inflate her sense of influence. She seems particularly irked with me (and she has attacked me several times) because I opened an inquiry with the UK Press Commission about how the publication she oversees refused to attribute a quote to me. This was a year ago and I chose not to follow up on my inquiry request because I got very ill and could barely function on a day to day basis (unrelated to the incident). So, when I demanded ethical standards in mass media, I became a target for this white feminist woman. 

Rather than acknowledge that she choose to ignore my request for attribution, apologize on Twitter and move on, she now uses her authority to qualify whatever I write as “unreadable” or “impenetrable” or “insane” and she makes sure her followers are on board with it sending me ridiculous tweets claiming I am a “whiny cry baby” and similarly elevated outrage. She would rather employ the theatrics of Twitter “critique” than be accountable for the way she uses the media she is paid to represent. This unethical woman would rather call me “unreadable” than hold herself up to widely accepted (and expected) standards of attribution. That she does so in the name of feminism is even more aggravating as she is claiming to represent the interests of the very same women she attacks. 

Helen Lewis, who has publicly derided intersectionality theory and has made several claims that race theory is “too complicated” and has no place in feminism doesn’t hate me because I am “unreadable”. Compared to her position of authority, I am a little fish in a big pond. She has a grudge against me because I publicly demanded that she is held accountable to ethical standards. Her white, privileged feminism is just the shield she uses to cudgel us with.

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